I have decided to write about managing the teaching of art on a cart, as I have noticed some questions coming from new teachers and teachers who have lost their classrooms. How to organise a day to day classroom for art lessons, how to prepare art materials to carry in your carts and how to liaise with the classroom teachers to collaborate with you teaching visual art in their classrooms.Day to day classrooms are not designed to teach art, therefore, it is important to reorganise the students desks configuration in a way that will facilitate the distribution and the sharing of art materials to students seated in a group and to create a suitable working surface.
In the classroom: before you actually arrive in the classroom ask the teacher to prepare the room. Students will be of great help preparing and cleaning. Things that students can do will be to prepare the room, to dispense the art materials that you will bring ready to be handed out, and at the end of the lesson to help clean up.
Room preparation: Students will prepare the room by grouping their desks into groups of 4 to create a good working surface. By having groups, it will be easier and simpler to set up art materials as students could share them, for example; the paint and water containers if their project is painting. Desks will be covered with newspaper sheets for an easy clean up at the end.
When you arrive: With the students sitting in groups, you can introduce the lesson, show technique, and ask if anybody has any questions. It is not a good idea to dispense art materials before you have introduced your lesson as students will be distracted. When you finish your presentation and the students are ready to start, ask two or three student volunteers to pass around the art materials so they can start working, time will be precious.
Some teachers ask:
Do you do the same art techniques with all the classes on a given day?
Yes, I do, it would be easier to group the art techniques in one day. For instance, classes do painting the same day. Painting lessons can be presented according to the age group.
How do I keep and carry art materials from room to room? Carry your art materials ready in clear plastic boxes and your paper ready according to the number of students per class, sample on the left.
Painting: Keep paint in small plastic containers with lids ready to put on the tables. Place the paint containers on trays for easy handling. One tray to be shared between 4 students, for a class of 30 students you will need 8 trays of paint. Place the trays on the centre of the table so the 4 students can reach. Place paddle pop sticks on the tables and encourage students to use them to pick up paint from the trays and to mix colours on a page of old magazines or mixing paper, for easy clean up.
Water: minimise the use of water, provide small water containers 2 per group and rags for the students to wipe paint brushes and to clean up at the end.
- Clear plastic boxes and trays are essential and practical.
- Keep things small, paper for painting shouldn’t be larger than A3 size, 30 x 42 cm or 11.5 x 16.5 inches
- Use short handle paint brushes so they will fit in the plastic boxes. If you have got long handle brushes, cut them with an electric saw.
- Visual references like books, should be small, use art post cards and pages of magazines, all of this will take less space in your cart.
- Children as young as 5 years of age can be involved in the setting up. For younger children engage the help of parent volunteers.
- Apply the same method for other art techniques, like drawing, textiles, clay and collage.
- The basic idea is: all the art materials should be prepared and kept in boxes or trays to suit groups of 4 students.
- Keep a good working relationship with the classroom teachers, they can do a lot for you.
- Teach students to return everything to the trays or boxes
- Engage student volunteers to help, they would love to participate.
Pre-cut clay into medium size blocks and place them on a tray, covered with a moist small towel to keep soft and pliable. For younger children small balls/cubes of clay will be more suitable. Provide each student with a piece of thick cushion material or heavy vinyl as the clay will not stick on these materials. The ideal size for vinyl or cloth base would be 30 x 30 cm or 12 x 12 inches. For fast clay cutting use a clay Mandolin, pictured.
Provide each student with a wet rag to clean their fingers and to wipe any mess.
Printmaking is a fabulous art activity and everybody likes it. To make multiple prints is a kind of magic that students love. There are several methods to make prints, from the very young to adults.
How to present printmaking lessons in a general classroom:
To make a print students will need to prepare the printing block first. This task can be done by students seated at their desks. Students must print in small groups of no more than 4 students and they should print a maximum of 4 prints. While 4 students print, the rest of the class can engage in drawing ideas for future prints or colouring the black and white prints with watercolours or diluted tempera paint.
Follow the next steps:
Preparation: Students prepare their printing blocks at their desks
Inking: Set up a table or a group of desks to ink up the blocks. Cover the table with newspapers, set up sets of two smooth surfaced plastic trays, see sample pictured. One tray to roll out the paint, the other to ink up the block. Set up trays according to the number of colours to print. At the end of the class, cover the trays with newspaper to take to the next classroom.
Printing: Set up a clean area to print.
Drying Prints: hang the prints to dry on a portable clothes drying rack with pegs. It will be better to buy three or four cheap clothes drying racks so you can leave them in the classrooms to collect later on when the prints have dried.
This post is a part of The Art Ed Blogger’s Network: Monthly Tips and Inspiration from Art Teacher Blogs. On the first Tuesday each month, each of these art teacher blogs will post their best ideas on the same topic.
Participating Art Teacher Blogs:
- Art Class Curator
- Art Ed Guru
- Art is Basic
- Art Room Blog
- Art Teacher Tales
- Art with Mr. E
- Arte a Scuola
- Brava Art Press
- Artful Artsy Amy
- Capitol of Creativity
- Create Art with ME
- Mona Lisa Lives Here
- Mr. Calvert’s Art Room Happenings
- Mrs. Boudreaux’s Amazing Art Room
- Mrs. T’s Art Room
- Ms. Nasser’s Art Studio
- Party in the Art Room
- shine brite zamorano
- Tales from the Traveling Art Teacher
- There’s a Dragon in my Art Room
- 2 Art Rooms