ORGANIZING, KEEPING TRACK, SAFETY, AND ADDRESSING THEFT.............
I have listed below a collection of ideas to manage Sharpies, X-acto knives, pencils, erasers, yarn, clay, glue, printmaking, paper scraps, and pastels. There are also ideas for organizing miscellaneous materials here.
Finally, at the bottom of this post there are examples of how to handle it when students steal.
Finally, at the bottom of this post there are examples of how to handle it when students steal.
- Line up your Sharpies/Gel pens/etc. and then spray paint a stripe of unusual color to mark your tools/materials. This is harder to take off than tape. This idea is from Amanda Miller on the Art Teachers Facebook page.
- Danielle McLain says, "I have my seating chart in a plastic sheet protector. Any time I loan a sharpie, I write a big "S" on their spot in dry erase marker and wipe it off when they return it. Best system I've found so far."
|Lisa Shapiro Schustak has these silverware organizers on each table to help with tracking basic supplies at the end of class.|
- PINTEREST art room organization boards by hundreds of art teachers
- Use foam blocks (floral, etc.) or wood scraps with holes drilled in them to organize materials like Sharpies, metallic markers, scratch art knives, etc. If all the holes in the foam aren’t filled, I know there is still a tool out and I don’t let the kids leave my class until it is found.
- Number your tools and assign them to specific students or tables/groups.
- I also read an idea where a teacher drilled holes in a board, glued marker caps in the holes upside-down, and used these to store tools such as x-acto blades. Again, he could look at the board and SEE AT A GLANCE if any were missing!
- To keep up with drawing pencils, I made caddies to go on each table...I wanted to be able to quickly check at the end of class if there were any missing supplies:
|Drawing Caddies made from wipe boxes and foam; each box has 4 pencils, 4 Ebony pencils, 4 tortillons, and one eraser|
- Take pictures of neatly stored supplies so the students can see exactly how you would like them put away:
Organize drawers of markers, colored pencils, etc. with smaller containers such as wet-wipe boxes. That way, passing them out is simple!
Use ice cube trays for small items like erasers - you can tell at a glance if any are missing at the end of class.
Ceramics Management in the Elementary Art Room, by Dawn Hoffman, YouTube
Dawn's glaze tiles are brilliant - she has them sectioned to show kids what thin and thick layers of the glaze color looks like. She also stores in progress pieces in butter tubs - I love it!
|Photo Credit: Dawn Hoffman|
- 50 Amazing Clay Resources From the Art of Education, by Alicia Eggers Kaczmarek
- Glaze Alternatives; Mini Matisse, by Nic Hahn
- Forget Glazing! 15 Other Innovative Ways to Add Color to Clay, by Jennifer Borel, theartofed.com
- In the Art Room: Clay Projects For the Kiln-Less!, by Cassie Stephens
- Never Stress During Clay Again!, by Jessica Balsley, theartofed.com
- The tall water bottle ice cube trays work really well for keeping track of Sharpies and other drawing utensils.
- Here is another brilliant idea (from Adriana Ranta) to keep up with Sharpies - imbed the lids in plaster of paris!
photo credit: Adriana Ranta
resources for managing liquid glue in the elementary classroom
- Ashley Saddington Olsen-Potthast has a set of muffin tins on her counter for keeping her pastel colors separated and organized...her students get the colors they need, then return them to the appropriate place when they are done. She says, "It's the best thing I have ever done!
|photo credit: Ashley Saddington Olsen-Potthas|
- Another idea to organize pastels is to use these divided trays from the Dollar Tree:
|photo credit: Cassalena Vee|
- Cassalena Vee stores her pastels in bead organizer boxes:
|photo credit: Shelsey Grace|
- Shelsey Grace uses a tiered lazy-susan approach for her pastels:
Instead of using the cheap double sided acrylic mirrors, Jeryl Wittenberg Hollingsworth designed these for her classroom: mirror tile from Lowe's, duct tape around the edges, and a router groove for the board - they are taken apart and stored flat:
Lisa Eckman Phipps uses drawers to organize her drawing media. This picture is from her classroom. Thanks, Lisa!
|photo credit: Lisa Eckman Phipps|
- 4 Tips To Help Your Students Respect Classroom Materials, by Abbie Schukei, theartofed.com
- ART ON A CART - collection of resources
- Managing All That Artwork! Folder, Class Art, and Art Show, Art Teacher Smile, by Emily McEneely
- "5 Ways To Save Your Sharpies", theartofed
Supplies Song, Art With Mrs. Jo, (comedy)
Just for fun, here is an educational film reel from circa 1973 (produced by the Centron Corporation). Enjoy!
Using and Caring For Art Materials, YouTube
What to do when students steal:
When I taught at a large middle school with high numbers of disadvantaged students, I occasionally had problems with theft or vandalism. Sometimes, I didn't address a minor problem (let it go!) and sought out proactive solutions such as counting the materials at the end of class.
However, when safety was a concern, you bet I tackled the problem head on. I have been known to take art privileges from the entire class! This is very infrequent, but sometimes it IS necessary. After all, when it comes to safety and care of materials, everyone is responsible.
Keep in mind, it isn't usually a good idea to be confrontational and angry. As long as the below scenario is done without lecturing, scolding, or yelling, there is a pretty good chance the kids will eventually comply. Confrontations are not pleasant; I would choose these battles very, very carefully.
When I discover there has been theft, a safety issue, or another serious misdeed that I didn't witness, I give the kids an opportunity to tell what they saw in writing before I take privileges away from the whole class. This gives them a "safe" place to say what they know because nobody else knows what it is they are writing. Everyone writes something, even if it is just, "I didn't see anything" and they must sign their names. I tell the kids that I will honor anyone who comes forward and admits the mistake. Then, I have a whole collection of eye witness accounts in my hand as leverage.
If you have built a positive environment and won students' trust and respect, you shouldn't lose all of that simply by holding them accountable for doing their part in sharing responsibility for materials.
Years ago, an 8th grade group was using the clay to make tiny missiles and throwing them when my back was turned. They were pretty sneaky about it because I didn't find the balls of clay until later. This was just kid mischief, but because it was clay there was an added layer of safety issues. Dry clay when crushed underfoot creates silicon dust which is quite dangerous to breathe. The kids had been taught this, so when I began discovering random clay BB's all over the classroom, I told them that if they wanted to continue using clay they needed to let me know who was responsible. If not, we would read and research about clay artists. That was that, we got out the paper and pencils, and the first day no one talked. The next day, we got out the paper and pencils, and there was some pretty serious griping. Nobody was happy. Finally, they caved and turned in the culprits. That group of 3-4 boys had to clean all the clay tools instead of making art with the rest of the class. It took them 2 days. They were pretty good the rest of the year.
Every year after that I told this story to emphasize that the entire group is responsible for safety and caring for materials and that if they saw something, they needed to tell me right away.
Excerpt from Amy Zschaber's article; Part 3 At-Risk Classroom Management:
"If a student steals something minor off my desk/something personal of mine, I ask the school officer to attend the next class.I discuss how I take all incidents of theft seriously. The school officer is just there for show. Typically, I won’t get the stolen item back, but the kids are scared to steal anything else and/or are more likely to report incidents of theft. I’ve had the school officer show up when so much as a quarter has been stolen; it is effective.
Sometimes, students steal items of high value (personal or monetary), and getting those items back takes precedence over a consequence.I handle this psychologically, and I’ll explain via an example.
I keep a small zipper bag of all of my USB drives; it contains about twelve drives.These drives house all the lesson plans I ever written (200+) among many, many other items. During the course of a class the entire zipper bag was stolen. I was beyond upset at the loss of the items. I appealed to my classes by describing the situation, describing how important the items are to me, explaining that I would be happy to give the drives to the thief, so long as I could get the information off the drives first, and that I would give two Chick-Fil-A biscuits to the person who gave me either the USB drives or the information to get the USB drives. Finally, I made a reporting box in the event students felt more comfortable giving anonymous tips. The day after my appeal, a student came up to my desk and turned in all of the missing USB drives stating: 'I found these in the hallway.' I have no idea if that was true or not, and I didn’t care. I got the USB drives back. I duly gave the student two Chick-Fil-A biscuits, and offered the emptied USB drives to him/her, which s/he refused. Not only did I get my items back, I gained a lot of respect from my students; they were impressed I kept my word. This year, when my cell phone was stolen, students turned the school upside-down to find it and return it to me; they took it personally. Oh, and I’m now a big believer and user of Dropbox."
article by Mrs. Anna Nichols