New Room Update

I know I haven’t been posting much lately- my online presence has dwindled dramatically- I have been focused on work and family, and since preschool started our family has been struggling with a hectic schedule and frequent illnesses.

I am currently juggling many projects at work, but the most exciting is still the progress of my new art classroom. I hope to document the whole process of packing and moving to my new classroom, and all of the excitement that comes with that, but right now I am still sorting out the logistics of the big move. I am still scheduled to move over the winter break, which means I have finally begun planning and starting to sort and pack. Over the next month and a half I will be packing my room one media at a time until only the essentials are left the last week. I have every grade level using the same media at the same time right now to limit the amount of different types of materials that need to be out. Right now all grade levels are working on landscape painting- once that is finished I will post some examples of my students work and descriptions of the different lessons. Next will be ceramics or K-3rd grade, and collage for 4th-6th. Until then, here are some art room-under-construction photos to tide you over.

Here is my room at the beginning of October.

And here it is as of yesterday morning.

They just installed my cabinets. I don’t know if you can tell from the photo- the holes left in the cabinets are for the sinks (x4). The empty wall with the long horizontal hanging light is where my smart board is being installed with the smart document camera and laptop plugged directly into the wall.


Some of you may remember my classroom as it appears in the photo below-   spic and span, ready to welcome the students when they arrive. But it doesn’t always look like this.

In actuality, this is what it looks like when first walk in after summer break.

Feel free to try to count the boxes. But keep in mind- you can’t even see them all. There are two whole tables full that are hidden behind the first table on the right. A little overwhelming, isn’t it?

So imagine my surprise when I opened the door to my meticulously organized storage room which had transformed from this:

to this:

Now- upon first glance it might look that different- more boxes piled up, floor tiles removed, empty cabinet. But the longer I looked, the more things I noticed were out-of-place.

First- the yarn wall- previously my yarn was organized in color order- rainbow style. Obviously that is no longer the case.

Next I realized that the cabinet near the bottom of the photo was empty. Actually, when I first walked in I noticed that the cabinet was non-existent I actually found an empty space where a cabinet should have been, and found the empty cabinet at the front of my classroom. I took this photo after I moved it back to the storage room where it belonged.

The more I stood in my storage room the more I realized what kind of major over haul must have occurred in there. After hyperventilating and acting a little hysterical, I got myself together and dove in to really sort it out.Obviously unpacking the boxes would have to wait, as I quickly discovered that every single item had been removed from the storage room, the shelving was dismantled and removed, the floor was removed, the shelves were rebuilt, and finally the supplies were quickly returned to the shelves. The evidence was there in the form of stilts to reattach the shelving, labels on countertops were on the inside of the counter near the walls, and I found many boxes of miscellaneous supplies haphazardly thrown together into boxes and stashed wherever they fit on the shelves.


Thankfully, organizing art supplies is my specialty, and I reminded myself that all of this is for the good of the school. Every teacher in our building has been through this disassembling and summer scramble. I also reminded myself that all of this is worth it for the great big payoff at the end- a brand new, state-of-the-art classroom to call my very own. After sorting out the storage room disarray I had the opportunity to take a walking tour of the new wing of the school that is currently in progress- and here is the best stop- my new art room. Check out those amazing, enormous windows! I know it takes a lot of imagination but the size of the space and the fantastic view, plus kiln room & storage room fit for a palace will certainly make up for one day of startling storage room. I will be moving into my brand new classroom in December, which means packing up the entire art room, moving it (with the assistance of a moving crew of course) and unpacking it to set up for the next week. But did you see those windows? And did I mention- 5 sinks, storage room tabletop work station, built-in portfolio storage and I get to pick my own furniture? The photo above may look like a dusty construction site to you, but I see a masterpiece in progress.

Organization: Art Room Tour 2010

Welcome to the art room! This is the place where I spend most of my waking hours. My home away from home. I originally took these photos to include in The Teaching Palette’s Show Us Your Art Room 2010: Organization challenge, but I felt like there were way too many photos to include all in one post.  Above you can see the entrance to the art room.

Here is the view from inside my doorway. This is where I great my students at the beginning of each class, as well as meet with classroom teachers before and after they drop off or pick up their class each week. This helps me stay connected with each teacher as well as get any updates about classroom events and any issues that might affect our art time. It also ensures that I check in regarding class behavior at the end of every class each week.

Here you can see the left side of my board at the front of the room. The board is split into three sections- section one is where I display artist exemplars that we are discussing for the day, demo examples, and our daily challenge- the objective for my art lesson. I also have a poster describing the Lincoln Center Institute’s Capacities for Imaginative Learning. (For those interested LCI offers online courses in their imaginative learning practices- great resource for art, music, dance, theater and integration across curriculums.)

The center of the board is my SMARTboard, and to the right you can see the art room rules, as well as our “How to Build a Better Sandwich” chart, which helps students understand my grading standards and the assessment process. Each sandwich represents a different level of project completion according to evaluation criteria stated in the challenge. This chart was passed down to me during my first year art teacher mentoring program, and it really helps younger students understand the grading process.

As you continue to turn clockwise around the room, here is a view of the front of my classroom. Although I am in the basement of the school, I still have a great row of windows that let in the daylight. In past years I felt the walls were too bare, so I remedied that this year by hanging tons of artist’s work on the walls. Here you can see part of the counter that runs almost the length of the room. We have two sinks, one near my desk, and one near the end of the counter. Below the counter there are storage cabinets which hold my most used art supplies- mostly paint, brushes, glue, etc.

At the end of my very long counter, near the back of the room, here you can see my chart/poster storage rack, the slab roller, and my fake bulletin board. This was a large empty space, so I covered it with fadeless paper and a border to jazz it up a bit.

At the back of the room, the counter/storage cabinets continue. Here you can see the shelves that line the wall, as well as my storage system for organizing our most used drawing supplies. I have eight tables in my room. Each table has a color. For every table I have a general supply bin on the table- pencils, erasers, glue, scissors are stored at each table. At the back of the room on the counter there is a pencil exchange, pens, crayons, markers, gluesticks and rulers. These are distributed as needed by Task Masters- one student per table rotated each week. These supplies are always on the counter for easy access- students have free access to these materials in case they finish a project early, they can use crayons or markers to doodle in their sketchbooks. The storage shelves on the wall above the counter are where I store 3D projects in progress.

Also at the back of the room is my carpet/reading area. For younger students (kindergarteners and first grade) I sometimes introduce lessons on the carpet area.  Students also have access to this area whenever they finish a project early. The middle shelf of the bookcase contains art books for student use, and the wall pockets beside the bookcase contain How-to-Draw books for students to refer to while drawing in their sketchbooks. (Thanks to Theresa McGee of The Teaching Palette for the wall pocket idea!)Hiding behind the chart rack you can also see our life-sized sculpture which was created as the second installation for our sculpture garden in progress and paid for by a Target Arts grant. We are currently working one piece at a time toward building a sculpture garden, however, our school is currently under renovations, and we are waiting until the renovations are completed before selecting our sculpture garden area.

Continuing to clockwise around the room, here you see the beginning of my bulletin board wall. This wall contains one long bulletin board that I have broken down into three sections. This sections shows my classroom behavior management board- Artopoly. (Also stolen from The Teaching Palette!) I rotate this board occasionally. This year I have been using Artopoly, but it has also been One Fish, Two Fish ( collecting fish in a bowl) and most popular was the racetrack, where each class had a race car and the board was painted like a racetrack. For Artopoly each class has a marker, and their marker moves forward on the track each week according to their classroom behavior. If they cross the finish line before the end of the quarter, they earn an art party, where students may choose their activity from a variety of stations.

This is the center section of my bulletin board wall- this section rotates out as needed- sometimes there is a focus on art vocabulary, other times it is a student art showcase. Right now it is based on the big idea for our elementary art curriculum- A Sense of Place. The images that are displayed are from a great calendar of fiber art that I had last year from Quilting Arts magazine. Above the board you can also see a glimpse of my elements and principles vocab from Crystal Publications, and my Yacker Tracker traffic light from Sax which I use to control noise volume in my room.

The last section of this bulletin board wall this year is my color board, which displays all of the color terms and examples that students learn from K-6. I made this a much more prominent display this year- in past years I had the color wheel displayed on the wall, but I have found that it is much easier to refer to the specific color theory items if they are displayed with larger examples. This way, they are always on display and students can refer to the bulletin board whenever they are unsure. It has already become a great reference for my students as they are painting.

Here is one final view from the back of the room, where you can see the table set up and the front of the room. My supply bins were shower caddies from Target.  This is a photo from the very beginning of the school year, before the students had come back. This is the cleanest my room ever looks. Right now it is covered with paint smudges and looks much more like creativity is happening inside!

Organization: Storage Room 2010

I teach at a school that was built long ago- one of the first schools in my district. The school was once a high school, and it has gradually been upgraded with rennovations and additions over the years. I teach art in the largest room in the basement of the school, which is part of the original building. Once upon a time my art room was the original cafeteria of the school. Later it was a science lab, and now it is my art room. My storage room is directly beside (and appears to have once been a part of) the boiler room. Sometimes it reminds me of the caves in Fraggle Rock, and frequently I hear banging pipes, and steam- which adds a train station vibe to the place.Looking at the photo above, I feel like my storage room doesn’t look very organized at all, considering I spent nearly a week before my official contracted hours stripping it bare of all items that hadn’t been used during the past two years since I have been teaching at this school. These photos give you a tour of the storage room shelves counter clockwise starting on the left side of the room. The majority of my drawing supplies are stored on these shelves in bins per table when not in use during the school year. Here you can see my back up stash of chalk, oil pastels, markers, color pencils, pencils, pens, erasers etc.

Shelf 2 & 3 show more of the drawing supplies as well as the less frequently used supplies such as printing ink, brayers & lino cutters. At the bottom of shelf three you can see the stash of interior design fabric swatch books we sometimes use for collage.

Shelves 5 & 6 Show the variety of yarn we have on hand. The storage bins and carboard boxes on the top shelf store skeins of emergency yarn and cones of yarn that wont yet fit on the shelves. The storage bin on the right holds the whole craft supply stash- beads, pipecleaners, found objects for kinders, woodsie shapes and craft sticks. (no googly eyes or glitter;)While I rarely use these items, I frequently have classroom teachers asking for them and they come in handy.

In this photo you can also see the lower shelves, which in this case are holding 18×24 construction paper and grey bogus painting paper.

Here you can see the first shelf on the right side of the room. This side is mostly paper storage. 12×18 construction paper is stored in stacks by color. Near the bottom of the shelves you can see the newsprint, 18×24 and 12×18 drawing paper. There are tons of reams of 12×18 stored on the lower shelves just out of view. The storage bins in the upper left corner of the photo contain paper making supplies- each bin is a paper making station.

The next photo shows another section of construction paper storage. The carboard boxes on the top left is a traitex yarn dispenser box- we have four of these for fiber arts projects. The paper storage box currently holds a ton of empty thread spools I hope to use for kinetic sculptures with my second graders.

This photo shows the last storage section on the right side of the storage room- on top are boxes of white model magic. Inside the cubby I store poster board in order by color, as well as a small box of recycled materials. On top of the cubby you can see a stack of empty poster board boxes- these are the perfect size for storing paintings- I have been saving them so that I have one for each class that I teach- I still need about four more to have a complete set.Finally, here is my tiny kiln room. I think it might have been a broom closet at one time. The cart in front of the kiln holds stilts and other ceramic firing accessories sorted into small bowls by size.

I plan to continue posting about organization strategies I have been using in my room. In my next installment I will cover some of the organization inside the art room including different areas of the art room and table organization. Drawing & Painting organization will also be coming soon.