SchoolArts Room

Order in the Art Room

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Dec 10, 2011
My life as an art teacher is driven by a desire for order and an inability to actually attain it. But still I try. I’m surrounded by piles of papers, books, and art supplies I might need at some point. It is hard as an art teacher not to be a hoarder.



How do order and organization apply to the art room? Practically, it helps to have at least some order in how you store and distribute art materials and student work, both ongoing and completed. Conceptually, I believe curriculum should progress exponentially and spiral in an orderly fashion.
Practical Considerations
Perhaps it would be helpful to share some of my organizational practices. At the end of every day, before I left school, I would gather and stack everything I needed for my six classes for the next day. I wanted to have materials and artwork right at hand so my students would not have any down time waiting while I hunted for student artwork or supplies. I would even “set” the tables for my first class of the day to be ready when I arrived in the morning.
During the day, before each class left, I would try to put their artwork in the proper cubby and write in my weekly plans what they would be doing the next time they came to art. Otherwise, things could get quite confused very quickly (and sometimes still did!).
An Orderly Curriculum
Concept wise, I agree with the still reliable Jerome Bruner, author of The Process of Education, that “any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development.” (1960).
I think that most art concepts can be addressed for different levels of students by simply varying the vocabulary and the complexity of the ideas. This is reflected in Bruner’s spiral curriculum that revisits basic concepts repeatedly, building upon what the student has already learned, in an orderly approach.
No matter your approach to teaching art, some order and organization will certainly be of assistance. What can you bring order to today?