Sunday, November 12, 2017

In the Art Room: Early Finishers, Part 1

Well, hello, strangers! I normally aim to post on this here blog about three times a week but, over the last two weeks, I've hardly shared here. It feels weird not chatting with y'all but I've been super duper distracted with creating a new and exciting space for my early finisher friends! If you follow me on Insta, then you've seen me (over)share what I'm working on. Usually, on this blog, I post projects when they are complete. But I really have so many projects in the works right now (that are all in various stages of completion/do-overs/rethinking-my-life-choices) that I thought I'd give you a peek behind the mess that is my thinking process. Creating and thinking are always messy, amirite? 
 My art room is large because, once upon a time, it was the school library. So I'm spoiled rotten and y'all better believe I know it's true. In fact, the art room is what sold me on changing schools...I literally stalked the previous art teacher for two years (she was set to retire at that time) to get my foot in the door. However, with a big space, comes more room to make big messes...which is what I'm (unfortunately) super good at. This year, after nearly 15 years in this space, I'm making LOTS of changes. I've shared them with you mostly in the form of switching up my wall decor but now I'm ready to tackle the big things on my to do...namely, what to do with my Early Finisher Friends. 

We've all got 'em. Sometimes they've got 5 minutes, sometimes they've got 10...for me, it's my doubled up classes (where I have about 35 kids for an hour) where my artists finish their work at different paces. In the past, the space above was where they could go to build with blocks or draw using my drawing books...but I just have always had this nagging feeling that I wasn't offering them enough. I really want to allow time for more individual creative choice. So I'm thinking that my early finishers area could be just the thing. 

My plan is to allow kids time to BUILD, DRAW, DESIGN and/or READ. So, in the photo above, you'll see the bins on the right...those contain a variety of building blocks. On the top of the shelf, you'll see mannequins that I spray painted (I saw an art teacher who did this and LOVED the idea!), dinosaurs, flowers in pots and forms. That will be my draw area. Also included in this area will be these drawing prompt sticks:
 I got this idea from my buddy Kaitlyn and had to add it to my drawing area. I'll be sure to share more about this soon...but if you hop over to Kaitlyn's IG, you'll see a ton of ideas for drawing prompts!
 My biggest issue with friends who finish early is their concept of time. They have none. If they see there are only 3 minutes left on the timer, they STILL gonna go get a brand new sheet of paper or dump out 456 blocks. Then I'm all, "ain't nobody got time for that!" So that the kids do know what's available for them during the time they have, I've been creating these using Canva:
Each of these will be added to the front of my bins or in a draw, read, design area. They will show how much time the kids will need for each activity, what it is, how many clips their table must have (this a new behavioral management plan I'm trying...more details in a future blog post), where they can do the activity and how many kids can work together. These are simply prototypes...still kicking these around in my head. 
 The reason I'm sharing all of this with you today is because I'd LOVE your advice. What do you do with your early finisher friends? Or, if you have a more choice-based art room, how does it look? How do you organize the space for your artists?
 Side note: you might have noticed a rainbow theme...inspired by my gift from Treetopia, a rainbow tree and wreath! I've been tasked with decorating it...but I'm gonna put the wee artists on the job. Stay tuned!
I love my specials team, by the way. Thank you, Ali, for helping me get this beauty up!
 Another view of my space. It's going to be a great area...I've just got a lot to do before I can call it complete. My goal is to have it open for my kids after Thanksgiving break. 

But, again, I'd LOVE to hear from y'all! Please share your fave activities for those early birds. 
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2 comments:

  1. Ahh yes early finishers! In my room we have a centers area, here you can work on blocks, drawing books, modeling clay, etc. I rotate things out so as not to get too bored. My K-2nd graders do more of a centers option with different art centers at each table towards the end of a project (ie, blocks, drawing books, stencils, etc...). My 3rd-5th graders can do more of a choice based option, appropriately named, choices can be done anywhere they choose in the room (as long as they are not bugging those who have not finished). I have a whole trove of centers/choices that I bring out and rotate throughout the year.

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  2. I’m curious to see how you decorate your rainbow tree. And updates?

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