Sunday, July 31, 2022

High School Organization Ideas for New Art Teachers

** UPDATE** ALL of these (and more) can now be found in a FREE 15 page download.

This is a post to easily share my answer to some of the common questions that pop up each fall in my high school facebook groups.

Q. How do you store student artwork?
A. Flat, dry work in progress goes inside their personal folder, stored on a drying rack. 
Flat, wet work goes on top of their folder on the drying rack. I number the shelves (they get a number for everything. Their folder goes on their shelf number.

3D work goes on the shelf labeled for their class. I cut down the legs of the snap together plastic shelving so I can fit more shelves and still reach the top.

Q. How do you have students submit work?
A. Students photograph their work. I use this powerpoint to teach them how to upload quality pix. They turn in the photos using our LMS (Schoology for me). They put the actual project into the grading box on a labeled shelf. If I can't see the work well enough in the picture, I can go to the box to find their work. Usually the picture is enough to jog my memory of what I have seen and been observing in class. It's a visual reminder.

Q. Do you assign seats for High School?
A. Yes and no. For all level 1 classes, they have assigned seats for the first 2-3 weeks to help me quickly learn their names. Around that point we start working on observational (still life) drawing, so then they choose their seat so they get the view they want to draw.

Q. How do you grade High School Art?
A. Project rubric for all studio projects. And by this I mean an articulated rubric. I am not a fan of printing a giant sheet of paper when you are just changing the word inside the block from "Outstanding" to fair. Sorry. If I'm going through the trouble, then each block is going to specifically say what is different. 

Q. Do you do bell ringers or warm ups?
A. Yes. We are on 78 minute blocks now, but I also did them when I had 41 minute periods. I believe students need that transition time. This post explains how it's a great way to slip in more art history.

Q. Do you decorate your room or have a theme?
A. I post the elements and principles of art (mini posters) on my cabinet doors. I have a set of beautiful posters that were free from amplifier.org that I hang behind my desk. It was a giant mauve bulletin board, and I used black butcher paper to cover the horrendous color first.

I'm a fan of "less is more" so I do not have borders, or crazy printed wallpaper or 1,000 paint chip samples glued to my desk. If that's your jam, go for it! I also don't have student painted ceiling tiles or murals because I have inherited rooms with them in the past and it makes the room feel small and chaotic. I would highly encourage new teachers to have kids do this on a canvas or butcher paper, especially if your district moves people or rooms frequently. 

Q. Table bins or individual supplies?
A. For hard goods: scissors, rulers, etc I have bins on my counters and they self serve, 
For painting, I have 20 sets of brushes in a cardboard "packet" that is shared between classes. So when student #1 is done, they put it in the #1 spot. When my 2nd class comes in, if student #1 has messy brushes they tell me and I discuss with that student the next day and they have to show me their paint set before they leave each day.  I've also used the over the door shoe pocket holders for this purpose.

Every student gets a personal art kit that they should have one them every day. We started this during the pandemic and it has been a time saver. Once our drop/add period is over, each student gets a gallon sized ziplock bag with 2H, 2B & 5B pencil, one eraser, one pencil sharpener, one black sharpie, one cheap stylus (for digital work) and a glue stick. The last two years I gave a watercolor set, brush, about 10 feet of plaster craft in a brown paper bag stapled shut. I told them to take these items home in case they got quarantined or the school was closed. See how I made cheap watercolor kits for each student.

Q. How do you group / organize supplies
A. I am lucky enough to have about 160 of these sliding bins. Don't be too jealous, I do not have a proper closet. My room is like a math room with a sink. Also not everything conveniently fits in something 3" high. But I work with what I have. Because there are so many, I keep my supplies in alphabetical order. It helps me remember where they are or if I need to direct a kid to get them, I can more easily explain where they are.

If we are using colored pencil, I will pull those bins out and place on the counter / window sill until that project is over. I keep them sorted by color and used scraps of cardboard to help subdivide the bins (but you could totally buy mini bins at the dollar store.

Utensil organizers are also good for separating colors or types of paint brushes.

What other organization questions do you have?

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