New Year, Fresh Start!
Start the new year with an art room refresh to provide the innovation you and your students need to reengage in learning and creating. It’s time to breathe new life into your teaching space so it continues to be the creative room where artwork comes to life. It doesn’t take huge changes to revamp your classroom and breathe a breath of fresh air into your classroom when you're halfway through the year.
Art Room Organization
Organization is key to well- functioning room. It helps creates harmony and a productive atmosphere for you and your students. First, examine your space, reevaluate your storage and assess your existing resources. Consider adding/changing up one of these:
Storage — Make your art room storage work for you. Label and organize your art supplies, materials, and tools. Establish designated areas for everything so you have ready access to what you need when you need it. Get rid of things you won’t use, etc. A bit of spring cleaning always brings fresh energy!
Frequently Used Art Supplies — Storing frequently used supplies within arm’s reach of your working artists enables your students to take ownership of their creative process. Place frequently used materials at their tables or close by. In the same light, if you find your students are taking too much freedom with supplies, consider moving things around so they aren’t as accessible as you want.
Art Stations — Set up stations to support your daily art room needs. Consider a sketchbook station, medium-specific centers, or early finisher area. One of our top early finishers is boxes. Cover them with paper, add some zentangle shapes and let the students do the rest.
How you showcase your students’ work can significantly affect how they perceive themselves as artists. Interactive and visually engaging displays show their art and encourage discussion. By upgrading or changing your displays, you create inspiration that gives a sense of pride and accomplishment in your students. This can profoundly impact your art room’s atmosphere. Consider one of these for a new display idea:
Revolving Exhibit — Set up a space that allows you to swap out artwork quickly. It might be clipboards, framed plastic sheet protectors, or opening picture frames.
Ceiling Display — Don’t forget your ceiling space. Consider not only mobiles, but pieces that can hang from above to create interesting visual displays (I’ve hung batik’s like flags and they look amazing!) ***Check your fire safety policies to make sure this allowed.
Portable Showcase — Consider things that move around easily such as easels or mobile display panels. This also allows you to move it quickly to a lobby or other space when there’s a athletic event, show, or parent conferences.
Lighting — sometimes lighting artwork can completely change the feel of it and really upgrade special pieces of work. Consider adjustable track lighting or spot lighting if your budget allows.
Revamp Your Classroom Walls
If you have walls in your art room that aren’t taken up by storage units and shelving, they make perfect spaces that are just crying for creativity. Here are some Ideas to incorporate:
Artist or History Spotlight — Feature student artwork along with the artists that inspired them. Incorporate technology and add context by adding artist bios and facts.
Mixed Media Wall — Dedicate a wall to be a large DIY sensory area with textured, touchable elements or just really cool miscellaneous odds and ends. Things like sequined fabric, cardboards, fancy papers, or magnets can be manipulated and arranged. You can choose a theme or let the students free range.
Collaborative Mural — This can be directed or just creative. You can turn it into a giant chalkboard, paint board or doodle board. Students can share thoughts, ideas, doodles, patterns, illustrations, and more. Or provide simple seasonal sheets and ask students to use zentangles or go with the provided theme. You can even let students hang their own mini-masterpieces. I use this idea frequently with early finishers. One of our favorite ones is our tiled famous painting coloring pages - we got Starry Night, A Sunday Afternoon and few others.
Question of the Month … or the week or the semester…. I will often write out a question, allowing students to answer and doodle along with it. Ideas include: What brings you joy? Who’s your superhero? What's your favorite…?
Renovate your art room to create an environment that nurtures creativity and inspires the next generation of artists. It doesn’t require a lot. Let’s face it, it may be a new year but we’re in the middle of a school year and don’t always have the energy to completely overhaul our rooms. Your students will see and appreciate the investment of time and energy you are making in their learning. Let the makeover begin!