Stepping Stones by heidi o'hanley Stepping Stones is a monthly column that breaks down seemingly daunting tasks into simple, manageable “steps” that any art educator can take and apply directly to their classroom. Stepping Stones will explore a variety of topics and share advice for art-on-a-cart teachers and those with art rooms. CHOOSING A CART AND FINDING SOME SPACE school, which prevents miscommunication with showing off finished products from other classes. L et’s pretend you’re new to a school district and discover you’re limited on resources. The art cart has little space, there’s no storage and materials are all over the place. If you’re on a cart or travel, this is a very familiar situation to you, and you may still juggle what space you have. Besides screaming, explore your options. teacher, I set myself up on two different carts at two different schools. The carts were the only options I had at the time. Over the next year, however, I learned which cart was best for my situation, and which one I wanted to trash. Creating an organized space has helped my sanity. For example, if you have a cart that can hold bins, fill some of them with items you use nearly every class period, such as glue, scissors, assessment sheets, and so on. With the materials always in the same place, I can send a student to the cart and he or she knows exactly where the item is. Leave space for temporary materials. I always have two empty bins on my cart for this exact reason, and I can fill/ refill when I walk by my storage closet. Squeeze into that space student resources, such as drawing books, art books and art games. Again, students will know where items are, and where to place them during cleanup. Create a separate cubby for your personal items, such as your own pair of scissors, glue and other materials. I keep them up high in a separate basket so I know my materials are always there. If you don’t like your cart, look at your supply budget and see if you can squeeze in a spare $250 for a new cart that has all the wonderful storage you need. I now use my old cart for storage! 1 yOUr IDeaL CarT When I first became a traveling art drying rack is overfilled, I speak with the homeroom teachers about temporarily leaving materials to dry on a corner table or in a window area for about an hour. This is a good amount of time for drying and makes it easy to stack projects by the end of the day. Sculpture materials are fun to make, but a pain to store when you’re not there. My co-workers are very nice and allow me to store a plastic bin on top of their storage closets, which keeps the students from tampering with them during the week. This method has helped me, as well as the classroom teacher and the students, since my first year of teaching. It allows me to continue creating the messy clay projects everyone loves. DIsPLay sPaCe Be prepared to create a display space on your cart because there may not be space in the classroom. If you do not have display space, talk with the homeroom teacher about leaving some space for art class on his or her board. Also, buy your own magnets and label them! Magnets are one item I treasure for hanging my project examples. 3 yOUr sTUDeNTs’ WOrKs IN PrOGress When the 4 . for 3-D work . photos of students with their projects are wonderful . Plus, the students are thrilled they get to keep their picture! Because I’m not at the school every day of the week, display space is always an issue. If I know in advance that I want to display a student project, I will ask the administrator’s permission to use a specific space for a specific amount of time. Happily, I’ve always been granted the space. Go ahead, try it and you’ll get great results and a group of kids who are proud of their work! Don’t have space to display three-dimensional art work? I don’t either, but I discovered that photos of the students with their projects are wonderful and much easier to hang up and take down. Plus, the students get to keep their picture! Lack of space can be extremely frustrating. With a little organization, communication and flexibility, your troubles can flip to resolutions. n Heidi O’Hanley is a National Board Certified K–6 art educator for Indian Springs School District 109 in Justice, Ill. Visit her blog at www.talesfromthetravellingartteacher.blogspot.com. december 2012 • 80 years closet? Are you left with a small drying rack and no space for other classes? Do you also share your space with other art teachers? I sympathize, but I can also offer advice for coping with the lack of space. At one of the schools where I teach there two art teachers. Some classes are mine, while the rest of the school is the other art teacher’s. We get along very well because we communicate about the shared items, such as drying racks, projectors and painting carts. We decided to keep our consumable materials in our own space, which has made it easy to keep on top of the inventory for our own classes, without worry about missing items. We also designated specific display areas around the 10 2 yOUr sTOraGe aND sPaCe Is your storage area a x www.ar tsandactivities.com
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