I set up the room to give the students the most independence - remember independence for 5 year old students is very different then 10 year old students. To meet everyone's needs, and keep things clean and organized I have a few tricks: 1) Clear Expectations 2) Material center 3) Folders that are coded to a grade, teacher and then table color. 4) Done chart and cart 5) Clean up Song!
|1) The expectations in my room are easy: 1) Ask Questions 2) Problem Solve 3) Be respectful|
|2. Material Center: Normal supplies used in the art room all at student height.|
|A trick I learned after teaching Kindergarten: Take pictures of supplies and tape them on the shelf where they go. This is also great for student who struggle with reading.|
|3. Folded poster board with some colored duct tape on the crease.|
|The colored tape corresponds with their table color. This drastically cuts down on the time it takes to collect and hand back student work.|
4) The done list and cart are great for those students who finish projects with quality and need something to do. At the beginning of the year I explain the activities on the cart. When they are done they may choose something off the list to do.
5) Last but not least - a clean up song. I dreaded the thought of a clean up song because I was sure I couldn't listen to a song about cleaning up 5 times every day -- then a friend asked why I couldn't pick my own song. I have no idea why this didn't occur to me on my own - but it didn't. So after her suggestion I started to look for my own clean up song and settle on "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" by Relient K. This song is silly, school appropriate, and I have been able to listen to it for 5 times every day for the last 3 school years! This song is just enough time for students to put their work and supplies way - it also takes the responsibility of cleaning up off of me and puts it on the students. I encourage them to play the air guitar in their seat when they are done cleaning -- a task many of my students take very seriously!