Monday, August 30, 2010

Colors for my tables and more of my room

I recently posted on another blog about my system of color-coding my tables, and a reader asked me to explain. So here it is!
The photo on the right is the top of one of my tables - the yellow circle (about 5" diameter) is spray-painted on the top. I've got 5 tables, each with it's own color circle. I tried contact paper or stickers but they just didn't stay put, so last year I cut some stencils and spray painted the circles. They have stayed great, through many spills and washings! Then, I spray-painted the ends of some pop sticks to match.
When the kids come to art, I hand them each a pop stick as they enter the room, and they find the table that matches. Then I come around and collect them, saying "colors UP in my CUP!" The kids love it, and a 2nd grader added the phrase "colors DOWN makes me FROWN!"
I know some of you assign tables, but I like this because I can arrange seating as per need. If I only plan to use 4 tables, I hand the colors out accordingly. If certain kids need to be separated for some reason, I can make that happen at the door. And the kids like it because they aren't always in the same place.

Above is my desk area - still come straightening to do - I got a new scanner and it still has to be set up so it's just there on the desk. The dragonfly is above my desk, and you can see a little of my sunshine shade behind it.
Here's some more pictures of my room. That's my color wheel table in the middle, that I've posted about before.

And here's our handwashing sinks. I also have a utility sink on the other side of the room. Then there's my drying racks (more drying racks in the closed cabinet), with Lucy on top, minus her wings. It's hard to find a place for her to fit! And there's also the "cage" - where we keep drying papier-mache projects, etc.

Open the yellow cabinet, and there's .... BINS! Lots of bins!! I use these bins for the materials most often used - crayons, markers, oil pastels, scissors, masking tape, rulers, glue sticks, etc. All the bins are labeled, and so a kid looking for something can go right there and find what he needs. In the top shelves are materials that I don't want kids to take out without asking - Exacto knives, charcoal, and more.

You may notice none of my cabinets seem to match. That's because I used to teach in 2 separate classrooms, one in a middle school in one little town, and one in a primary school in another little town (that I shared with a music teacher). The high school was actually in a third town. The morning bus runs were CRAZY! Ten years ago our district finally consolidated into one brand new building, all grades together. So my cabinetry from both my rooms was shipped over and re-used in my classroom and storage closet. Cool, huh?

I have the awesome luxury of a HUGE walk-in storage closet (above), stuffed with yarn, tissue paper, construction paper, fabric scraps, beads, ribbon, you name it, you can find it in here! It may look like a mess, but I have so many crazy things and I usually can find what I need.

I have a labeled storage shelf for each class in the walk-in closet, that holds 2-D work. The shelves are a transplant from the former middle school.
And that's it for tonight!


  1. Your room is wonderful! You have a lot of space.

  2. Yes, I do have a lot of space, but don't be jealous. When I started in the district (25 years ago!) the middle school had NO art room - I kept supplies in the basement, and taught partially in the social studies room with little bitty student desks, and partly in the 'shop'. When I got my 1st room there I shared it with an itinerant home ec teacher (with sewing machines in the room), who left notes telling me not to use the sink for art. As a result, I rebelled and made HUGE plaster bandage pop sculptures - giant toothpaste, etc, and definitely used the sink. I outlasted her. And in the primary I shared a tiny old locker room with the music teacher. I distributed supplies from the piano bench and let papier-mache dry on the ancient radiators. So I feel like I've paid my dues! Don't ever let a room without space stop you from making BIG art. There's always a way!!!

  3. You have a very nice set up for art now. I am looking at your walk-in closet and it is making the gears turn in my head! There is a closet right next to the art room and one of the clubs and scout groups recently moved out a lot of stuff. I wonder if my principal would let me move some of my bigger boxes to this closet???

  4. What great solutions to many organization problems. Thanks so much for sharing all of those things! I especially like the spray painted table colors. I use painted yarn cones to mark my table colors, but having something that doesn't move is even better.

  5. Love your room! What a great idea to spray paint the color on the table! Have a great year!

  6. hi there- your room looks fantastic! I love the color coded sticks and tables! I made my sticks today for my tables : ) cannot wait to try it out with the kiddies! Thanks 4 the words of encouragement on my blog : ), and yes my background is new :) glad u like thanks 4 taking notice!

  7. It look fabulous!!! The bins are so valuable. I have a walk in closet but find myself spending a lot of money in tupperware because they are just big open shelves! An artist must've designed this room! Nice post about your former art teacher. My grandfather always said "Take people as you find them" which he did very gracefully. . . me on the other hand I'm an ARIES!!! The RAM!

  8. When our building was in the planning stages, the architects met with groups of teachers to find out particular quirks/desires. My big thing was wanting the double sink and the separate utility sink. I knew we were reusing a lot of storage units, so the room was going to be basically a shell with a counter. But here's where I was lucky, Erica. My hubby is an architect, whose career was spent designing public buildings, especially schools. He knows all the codes and regulations - things most of us artsy types don't think of! Then he sat down with me with the floor plan and helped figure out what cabinetry could fit where. His help made a HUGE difference.

  9. By the way - I'm Libra, the scales, always looking for balance and harmony. I get upset when things are out of balance, whether environmentally, philosophically, emotionally, or whatever.

  10. Nice room, Phyl! So much space. I shared an art room with a teacher who used the color coding system to seat kids. I've always been tempted to use it as it sounds like a cool way, but since I have the homeroom teacher stay in the class with her group, she handles seating.
    Like the idea of spraying the circle on the table. I've always used tape and paper and you're right, it never stays!

  11. The homeroom teacher stays with the class?! WOW! Never would happen here. The time the kids spend in 'specials' (art, music, gym) is prep time for the teachers and a certain amount of prep time per day and per week is contractually required. As a former president of my local teacher union, I'm a big defender of contractual rights.

  12. Love the room! In general... I love looking at other teacher's art rooms... it's like taking a tour of their home : ). I have a closet in my middle school with the same bins, not as wide, but just as handy!

    I label my elementary tables by artists, by hanging a mobile above their table. I do like how your students "switch it up," though. And I, too, am oober jealous of your walk in closet!