Thursday, August 3, 2017

In the Art Room: Art Room Rules

Yesterday, some pretty big and exciting news was released: I'll be teaming up with The Art of Education in the creation of Everyday Art Room, a podcast dedicated to all things elementary art teacherin'! I sat down with Tim Bogatz, the co-'caster of Art Ed Radio to share the fun news. You can listen to our chat here and catch my very first podcast next Thursday. I'm super excited! I do hope you'll take a listen. 

In one of the first podcasts, I'll be chatting about how I start my school year, which, as you can imagine, is with rules. My rules have changed...drastically...over the years as I learn and change as I go/grow. Recently, with the reading of The Growth Mindset Coach (you should totally join our book club if you haven't already. Like/follow here to stay tuned), I've been thinking of my art room rules as being more like life rules. Rules to follow to become a happy, compassionate and fulfilled person. With that in mind, I created these three art room rules life goals. I thought I'd share them with you in the form of a free downloadable PDF if you are interested. 

But before we get to that, when I shared these paintings on my Instagram, I got a lotta questions about how I hang things on those unstickable concrete walls. My go-to is usually hot glue but that does have a weight limit. It can also damage walls and artwork. My latest love are these Command Velcro Strips. Y'all. These bad boys can hold up to 16lbs and can be removed without damage. If you are hanging something heavier or from an actual hanger, you might wanna check out Hardwall Hangers by OOX. These hammer easily into concrete walls but are difficult to remove and leave behind some holes. Of course, if you are just hanging posters, Blue Dap (aka sticky tack) works great as well. All of these can be found at your local hardware store. 
Here is the download for the letter A

When writing rules, keep the following in mind:

* Keep Your List of Rules Short. The list of rules should be so short that you can easily memorize them. Any more beyond five rules and you might be confusing your rules with your routines/procedures. 

* Know the Difference Between Rules and Routines. Rules are the broad brush strokes. Routines are the finer details. I have 8 routines in my art room. I'll be covering those in my very first podcast that will launch here next Thursday. Confusion between the two can lead to confusion in the art room.

* Keep in Mind the Take Away. When your students reflect on creating, what do you want them to think? Feel? Be inspired by? Your rules should help you create that environment where they feel safe, inspired, confident, successful and encouraging to others.

With those thoughts in my head, I decided to create three rules, based on the word ART. You are more than welcome to use these in your art room. I've created downloadable PDFs of each letter and rule. Here is the download for the painted letter A.  

If you'd rather paint your own version of your rules, go for it! I had a great time coming up with these and bringing them to life in a colorful and exciting way. I scored the canvas panels, which I used for the letters, at Michael's in a package of either three or four. The long canvases were sold in packs of two. 

I picked up my favorite colors in acrylic paint. I laid out the canvases and quickly painted them. I tried not to overthink it...keeping in mind that one can always just paint over it! 
Once dry, I added some dry brushing of paint where I wanted the letter and rules to go. From there, I added the text, details and designs. The beauty of acrylic paint is that fast dry time! I did manage to mess up my spacing of letters so there was some serious repainting...but it was not a big deal.

Growing up in the 80's, where there was a strong resurgence of 1950's style and fashion, I've got a love for all things kitsch, colorful and tacky. This explains my color palette and design aesthetic clearly, doesn't it?!

Let's be honest: with rules like these, some explaining, modeling and role playing will need to be done. When teaching rules, always expect that your sweet kiddos know nothing. After all, what seems like common sense to you, an adult who has been on this Earth years beyond that wee person you are teaching, is news to the petite peeps. Think of everything as new, exciting and will make teaching what we might deem "the mundane", the magnificent. 
Not even gonna lie, strong Pee Wee's Playhouse and Bebo influence here! 

Tell me if you do this: when thinking of lessons, plans, arrangements, whatever in your teaching environment, do you put yourself in your student's shoes? I do this...all the time. I often think of what excited me as a kid: seeing my third grade teacher in a silly costume; that teepee my second grade teacher had in her classroom; the parachute we played with in P.E. It's with that in mind that I craft my own teaching environment. I know I'm not alone in this...maybe it's for selfish reasons...but I use what excited me as a student now as a teacher. 

And it usually works! I used to think that the notion of bringing what I loved as a kid to my art room was successful because that joy I experienced was universal. I loved XYZ as a kid, therefore all kids love XYZ! Now I was my passion about XYZ that inspired my students. Staying passionate, whether that be by taping into those childhood loves and/or brining what you love to your art room, is what keeps us excited and excitable as an art teacher.
But that just might be the back-to-school jitters talkin'. Let's talk about how you can print and hang these bad boys in your art room! Simply print out the letters and rules as is or blow them up! I did this with some items I purchased on TpT. I just made them as large as I could and then, once printed, taped them together puzzle style and ran them thru the laminator. You can't tell the difference!
Feel free to print and hang where ever you wanna share the love of art. Remember to tune in next Thursday for my first ever podcast, eep! So excited!
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png


  1. Denise8/03/2017

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Awesome!! What size canvases did you use?

    1. I think the letters are about 11" X 14" and the rectangles are about 12" X 24"...but that's a guess. They came in multipacks which was great because it made them cheaper.

  3. Hand-lettering is a composition created with drawn letters, and typography uses prefabricated and designed letters. Thanks for sharing your lettering.

    He found Shoretel Reseller

  4. awesome and cool,hope you inspire all youth generation,long live!

    Mesothelioma Lawyers

  5. Wow, thank you!! I am about to start my year, still planning, and was going to spend a half day (cuz things take me a long time!) to paint a sign. I think I will take advantage of your awesome printouts and focus on planning.

  6. Thank you very much for this useful article. I like it.

  7. Thanks for sharing. I was excited to download these but some of the links aren't working!

  8. Thanks so much for sharing! I am excited to download and use, too. Can you redo the hyperlinks for the following downloads that are not working?...
    "respect," "T", "trust"


  9. Anonymous7/26/2018

    I love this but many of th3 links aren't working....

  10. Hi Cassie, I was only able to download the first two links . Please can you link the second two letters and rules.

    Thanks !

  11. Hi Cassie, this is amazing resource! But some of the links to download were not working.

  12. Thanks Cassie- the last few links for downloads are not working ;-(

  13. Hey Cassie, the pdf's for your rules aren't all working, are they available anywhere else? I'd love to hang them in my room

  14. Would you please fix the links that are broken? I love, LoVe, LOVE these pieces and I can't wait to start decorating my room! Thanks in advance!

  15. Hi!! I LOVE your blog and this artwork! I follow you on your instagram and remember you posting a story about classroom management using a white board. I am the library media specialist and use a "Prize Pail" now, but it gets expensive! Could you explain again how you use the white board/line system?? THANK YOU! You're awesome.

  16. Thank you for sharing!

  17. The links are not working :(

  18. HI cassy! I really love these but your links aren't working :(

  19. I love these (and everything you do) so much!! Is it possible to fix the links? Would love to utilize these in my art room!

  20. Cassie love your work! Would love to use these in my Art room. Could you please fix the links? Thank you for sharing :)

  21. Agree with above! please fix the links :)

  22. Totally bummed that these links don't work :(


Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.