SchoolArts Room

More Comments About Managing the Art Room

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Feb 4, 2011

Another email I just received from a SchoolArts reader (posted with her permission):


I am responding to your question in the Feb. 2011 School Arts issue regarding “Managing the Artroom.”
I have done the following to better manage class sizes between 25 and 35 students:

Removed all the chairs and/or stools.  (I keep a few on hand for kids who have injuries and/or special needs and need to sit.)  Otherwise, kids stand at tables to do work.  The benefits are 1) you can squeeze more kids around a table without stools; 2) students can move around more freely to get supplies, etc., without tripping over stools; 3) young artists are more alert when standing and moving, plus it’s good exercise for muscles and brain.

Established a “helper table.”  This group of 6-8 students help setup and cleanup.  They are the only group allowed away from their assigned tables.  This eliminates the massive chaos that can erupt during cleanup when all students are wandering around.  All students are expected to cleanup and organize their own tables without walking away from them.  The helper table folks have assigned tasks for circulating through the room and picking up specific tools/supplies from tables.  I rotate this duty to a different table each week.  For elementary students, this is a treat to be at the helper table.

Established routines and clear expectations regarding behavior and cleanup.  The earlier in the year you do this, the better; however, having a few posters around the room as reminders during the year helps.

Gayla Ruckhaus
Elementary Art Teacher
Centennial Academy of Fine Arts – Littleton Public Schools, Littleton, Colorado

I like the idea of removing all the chairs. I often have my kindergarteners stand rather than sit in the too-big regular chairs.