If you are a visual arts teacher, it is EXCITING to work with so many different mediums!
Uh… and on the other hand…
If you are a visual arts teacher, it can be a NIGHTMARE to work with so many different mediums!
Teacher and artist friends, I know you know what I mean. Ordering, unpacking and then managing many different consumables and supplies can get overwhelming! I try to keep all of the like items together: paints with paints, drawing supplies all together, clay and tools in the same area.
But, when I changed my art room to a choice-based art studio two years ago, I had to create spaces that were organized and inviting for my elementary students. I teach them how to set up the materials, use the materials, as well as clean up properly.
5 Organization Ideas
Here are five easy organization ideas that work for me and my students:
- Corrugated storage = more shelves
An inexpensive way to add more small shelves in your room is to use some corrugated storage. I use them for construction paper and small baskets that contain collage supplies and tools. I label everything with words and pictures (or samples) so that all students will know what is in them.
- Expand counter space with bookshelves and baskets
More room for organization is always needed in every classroom, so I re-used a metal and a wood shelf that other teachers were discarding. Yes, really! Another person’s trash can be your treasure, too! Here are some examples from the 3D Design center:
- Carts are cool!
I found an old AV cart to store a yarn dispenser box and bought another small cart on sale at a craft store for weaving and fiber supplies. The blue yarn carrying case has a few more yarn selections in it, and I used a shoe box for small fabric pieces and another shoe box for ribbons. Now my students can find all of their fiber supplies on one cart or the other!
- Book bins rock!
Our local learning foundation has generously funded grants for many drawing resources in the art studio. At the end of last year, many teachers were discarding old book bins that they did not need, so I scooped them up. Now the drawing books are sorted and students can find one easier.
- No room for a certain medium? Store everything in a plastic storage box!
Even though the art room is pretty big, I ran out of room for some of the supplies I wanted students to be able to access. I created this origami box with a plastic storage box I had at home. It is stored underneath one of the cabinets in the room and contains everything students need to practice and create their origami masterpieces.
How do you organize different spaces and the supplies in your classroom?
I’d love to hear your ideas, share them below!
Amy Traggianese is an elementary visual arts educator and has been an art essentialist at a Connecticut Higher Order Thinking (HOT) School since 2001. A former kindergarten and first grade teacher, she has over 25 years of arts integration experience. Amy specializes in integrating language arts, math, science and technology into the art curriculum. She presents at local and national conferences and at HOT School Summer Institutes. Amy is also an active educator voice on Twitter, helps to facilitate #CTedu on Tuesday nights, and loves to connect with other educators through social media.