In April of the last school year, I was asked to meet with the administration. I knew that many teachers were to be given notice of in-district transfers, and I had a hunch it was possible. I was in the middle of a Kindergarten project, teaching Dale Chihuly-inspired paper bowls, and my hands were covered with marker. Unable to get my hands completely clean, I walked into the office anyway, cracking a few jokes about my multi-colored hands with the administration.
I sat down, and was told they had good news and bad news.
Starting with the bad news first, I was told that my home base school was losing the art room, which came as a bit of a shock. This was the first time that school had ever lost the art room! Ever! After being given the bad news, they shared that I was to be transferred to another school in the district. The head of our department had retired after teaching 40 years in the district, and they asked me to fill in her spot. This would mean no more traveling, just one school, and a classroom!
I was very mixed. I'm of course very excited about this new opportunity! But at the same time, it's always sad to hear of an art room being taken away. It happens, it hurts, but we carry on to share our passion for the arts with our students anyway.
So I packed up my boxes at the two schools to be shipped to my new classroom, all while packing the entire art room for the new teacher, emptying every shelf, nook, and cranny. I did cry when I handed the key over, after all, it was my school for the past 7 years and I enjoyed worked with so many people.
Summer break came and went, and when I walked into my new classroom, I saw this:
Not too bad in the picture, but overwhelming in person! There's no sink and a tight space to move around, but we can make it work. We art teachers are kings and queens of improvising. I was watching all the amazing classroom set-ups all through August on the Art Teachers Facebook Page, and I was inspired to finally get started on my own room!
And did I mention that while cleaning out the storage room and classroom, I found this much glitter???? I saved some of it, but we had a running joke all day because every shelf I looked, I found glitter!
After 4 solid days of cleaning out, throwing out, and setting up, Viola! I managed to finish the new art room!
There's some hidden bulletin boards in the room, but it's too tight to utilize them. We work with what we have!
The cart helps separate the materials to be used with each grade level.
The library's jam packed with artist-based story books, art history, creative fictional stories, how-to-draw books, easy readers, art games, and dry-erase boards. My students should not have to say they have nothing to do.
Here's what I came up with for a sink. Each morning I will be filling buckets and jugs with water. There will be sponges for students to use to clean their hands and their tables. Dirty water with be collected and disposed of after school. There is a sink in my storage room (which is not near the classroom), which helps!
Drying racks secured! Commonly used materials, like scissors, glue, and grade sheets are easily accessible for all students.
Colored pencils, crayons, and markers for projects!
Ooh…rainbow color class project folders to separate the days of the week!
We can't forget to honor the materials that have brought us great joy in creating. So sad when they break or dry out :(
Just a little color wheel reinforcement!
And reminder of craftsmanship and other expectations with their grades!
Oh…and the elements of art and principles of design. We can't forget those.
Can't survive without my no-no board (Thanks Mr. E!)
Some school need to post their "I can…" statements, and our district is one of them!
And how about that word wall?
And gluey reminders on how to frame a project for display…
And that's my corner of the room! I had so much stuff I wanted to display in the past, and now it's all out!
Needed somewhere to hang my #artsed cape…
And show off my art toys…
…and my hand painted desk display!
Had to catch the students off guard with this sign…
Pinterest, thank you for the many classroom ideas for managing tasks. I owe you one.
Hung in a spot that catches students off guard!
And to top it off, a new door display to welcome the students to their new art class!
And coming soon, our International Dot Day display!!!
Tomorrow morning, I get my first batch of students ready to learn new art concepts and create inspiring projects. I'm excited about my new opportunity, meeting new staff, and new students! I know that the art room may not be around every year, but this year, I wanted to create an environment that inspires creative thinking.
To the rest of my art teacher friends, thank you so much inspiring me and others in our field. You rock.