|Look at how clean these paints are. It pays |
to clean them up. They get treated like
they're as important as they are!
Materials Make the Class (pun intended)
When I first started teaching I'd have loved to have a magic wand to make it easy to get materials out to the kids and then get them back, quickly and neatly. I'd still actually like to have a magic wand, but even without it, I can get the supplies out and back in pretty decent time. Call it organization, motion study, or laziness, but I don't like to put in extra time/work unless I'm forced to.
Many years of learning how to get stuff out and back has given me some pretty good ideas of what I can make a kid do in the housekeeping front. It's also had the added benefit of letting me go home instead of staying at work till 6 every evening, because my students have already done so much of the prep work! Also, when the supplies look good, they get treated well, also. It's efficient, and keeps things in good shape. If you want to have students respect your stuff, keep materials clean, orderly and ready.
Most folks know I'm an organizational freak. It's really self-preservation; the less I have to do, the more time I have to teach. Front loading is the way to make your days less crazy.
|T-shirts are in two bins--smaller ones |
for K and 1, larger ones for 3-5.
"Front loading" is the way to get the most bang for your buck in passing out materials later. The more you have ready for immediate use, the faster setup can happen when class begins. If you use tee-shirts to protect clothing, have them folded and stacked in a bin so that you can grab the needed amount for a table--in my case, four at a time--without having to unclump them.
Every student learns how to fold a shirt MY way when they are in kindergarten (ha ha, I promise I'm not a meanie! If they do it right, shirts are perfectly ready for distribution in the next class). I even get the bonus of the shirts being right-side-out. I'm pretty sure there are some moms out there who think I'm cool just based on the fact that their kids know how to fold their clothes.
Newspapers are folded and kept in a white dishpan-type bin, always in the same place. Have a central location for supplies that are being used by the specific class you're prepping for. I have a round table in the middle of my room that I put revolving supplies on; whatever the current class is, this is where non-every-day supplies go.
Distributing Materials in Less Than Five Minutes: Class Startup
Let's make the assumption the kids are going to paint. At the beginning of class, students come in and put their heads down, and show me they are ready for class to begin. We then sit up straight and take two deep breaths, so we are awake and alert. I have a general question and answer to review from the last week, then I give out information--whether that's to teach something new, show a PowerPoint, or demonstrate something. I try to make that as short as possible.
When we are ready to begin our work, I have the helper table to come to me, to get what I need them to distribute. They are trained early on not to give each person individually whatever it is--rather, to count how many people are at the table, then put that amount in the middle so the students can get it for themselves. This applies to paper, newspapers, tee shirts, brushes, anything that we have to get out to everyone. While the helper table kids are passing out stuff, I'm bringing the big water buckets to each table. It takes just about two minutes to get an entire classroom decked out for creating. When you can grab four newspapers or tee shirts at a time without having to unclump things to figure out how many are in front of you, you can have a kid take it to a table in seconds. Four kids, six tables for the majority of my classes...everything gets out in a flash.
On days that we need glue, scissors, or markers for special projects, the students also pass out the colored bins from the back counter. At the end of class, helpers return the bins and any items I think will be disruptive for individual students to put away, like pencil bins or marker bins.
Stuff like palettes, paper for a collage we might be making, drawing paper in a particular size, embellishments, or anything we don't use all the time go on the supply table. Below is mine, a round table in the middle of the room.. Setup is always the same. The newspaper is always in the same place when we need them. At the end of class, they have to fold them back with the folded side turned upward, to make grabbing them easy. I can grab four at a time and give them to a helper, and they can pass out to all tables in about 45 seconds.
At cleanup time, I have the students bring their palettes back to the round table in the middle of the room. I have a sink waiting with water already in it, so I can just slip the palettes in there. To get them to the sink from the table, I just turn them to face one another and carry them in one big unit.
Classroom setup should be thought through for mobility of students and for you being able to move around to facilitate. A few years ago I put my tables at an angle to make it so students didn't really have to turn much to see white board; I got tired of seeing kids who were listening but not looking because their seats didn't face me. The only problem was that it was harder to get around the classroom, and students were closer to one another than I wanted. It made classroom management harder.
Like most Art teachers, I have a helper table each week. I keep track of who is the helper team on my seating chart. I put a hashmark in the center of the table color on the day each table is helper. The table with the least number of hashmarks is the helper this week. This is nice for my subs, too, so they don't have to just arbitrarily pick out a helper team. It goes in order of the color wheel--red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Larger classes have more tables, so we add white, gray, and even turn the round table into brown table, if need be.
If you look at the above seating chart, you may notice that boys don't sit next to boys or across from them, and girls don't either. It cuts down on talking if they are separated a bit--they sit diagonally opposite. I only change that up when there are more of one gender than another in a class. I also try to sit "little mamas" with kids who need encouragement or have a hard time keeping up. Students who have a natural bent toward nurturing are great at helping their neighbors along, without actually doing their work for them. I love when I see a student motivating another student, or trying to explain how they're supposed to be going. If I know a kid doesn't speak English, I always seat them next to a student who speaks their language. If we don't have anybody, Google Translate is my best friend. We've had a lot of laughs over trying to get information to one another!
|When everything is rocking and rolling, our classroom runs like a well-oiled machine, even during the Choice-Based Art classes.|