Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Art Classroom Organization: a work in progress and how I almost spent aweekend locked in a storage closet.

I literally wrote the book on art classroom organization and setting up and distributing supplies.  But, I still get thrown for a loop sometimes.

My classroom at my intermediate building is BEAUTIFUL.  It is big, it is freshly painted, I have a rug, I have a student computer, it is perfect.  I can't help but get happy when I walk in.

The problem is the lack of storage.  I have one row of tall cabinets, and a short metal cabinet.  There is some storage under the sink, and a small closet and storage space built in to the side.  Plus - the room is so big (boo hoo), it is kind of pain to have things on either end.  For a regular classroom, this would be plenty - for the art room it lacks a lot.

I have done well with using an old desk as counter space, makeshift bookshelves for paper storage, a table for my paper trimmer...etc.  It looks a little mish-mashed and garage saley, but it has been working.

Oh, did I neglect to mention the storage closet I have upstairs?  Yes, about 100 feet away and up 18 steps is my own special, locked storage room.  This has been a great place to dump EVERYTHING.  Someone gives me a bag of weird Styrofoam?  Throw it upstairs.  Four bags of fabric scrap?  Throw it upstairs.  Newspapers?  Curling ribbon?  You name it.  I would also store legitimate stuff up there too.  Extra construction paper, 18 x 24" anything, pastels, glue, and a ton of embellishments.  It's been a nuisance when I have to run up there in the middle of a class, but it has been a great catch-all.

This is when the storage room was filled to the brim!  I stored EVERYTHING in here when my room was being refurbished.

The art storage room has been in place for decades.I deduced this from what I have found in there.  It is dirty and weird with a small staircase and platform, and shelves on every wall.  One summer I returned to find the ceiling had caved in and rain and plaster had ruined a giant bag of fabric and reams and reams of manila paper.  Another time I was tiptoeing around the platform trying to retrieve the tapestry samples off of a top shelf.  I lost my balance and totally fell off of the odd staircase.  Kids fall off stuff all the time, but when a adult falls, man, that hurts. Ka-boom. I  laid on the filthy floor cursing and wanting to cry. As I writhed in pain in my little locked room, a thought dawned on me.  No one knows where I am.  My classes were done for the day.  no one is ever looking for me.  I was certain I would be stuck there all weekend crying and broken.  A minute or two later I got up and was okay.  I was just bruised. I alerted the other teachers to look for me there if they ever can't find me!

At the beginning of this school year my principal asked if I would be able to clear out my storage room so they could use it for something else.  I told her no.  I explained that I didn't have any other storage in my classroom left.  She assured me we could get new storage cabinets...and so the process began.

Once my cabinets arrived, I was charged with the task of filling them and emptying my storage room. This has made my classroom a complete mess. I am a little particular about having certain media together, easy access to things that are used a lot, and things out of the view of kids.  (Like I said, I literally wrote the book on this!) I have already spent a lot time moving things around from one place to another.  And you better believe it drives me crazy if things look like they have been shoved in the cabinet all weird.

I did throw away a bunch of stuff.  The 1970s Art Waxer, the ancient stinky dropclothes, the IKEA stool with bendy legs. It has helped.  However; I can't bring myself to throw away the bags and bags of fabric (even though we never use fabric for anything).  The 1950's linoleum squares (fifth grade cutting linoleum?)!  The finger paint (fifth grade finger painting?)!! I can't get rid of the rocks, shells, and sand either (used them once in 7 years).  The Styrofoam boards will one day be perfect for something!  And those Ukulele boxes - perfect for sarcophagi! AND all that mat board scrap! all that mat board scrap....

Now, I know why I wrote the book on art class organization - art teachers have a lot of weird stuff.  It might not be the lack of storage in my classroom, rather the crazy amount of supplies I hoard.  I fully intend to have a home for everything soon - and it will be handy, and it will be fabulous.

Stuff brought down from the storage closet.

Seven things of glitter.  Art teachers hate glitter.

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