Guess who has her very first day of school tomorrow?! That's right, this gal right here! Our tiny but amazing school district begins returns tomorrow and we always kick off the school year with a welcome back bash and a motivational speaker. From there we dive into our art PD...and we'll be learning from a weaving pro! I'm so excited...it's such a fun way to return to school. My kiddos don't come to art for a couple of weeks so that gives me a minute to rehang LITERALLY EVERYTHING that fell off my walls and figure out what we're gonna be creating this year. In case you missed a room tour, I got you, boo. Check it here:
But that's not why I'm here today. While I try to wrap my brain around just what it is we'll be doing this year, I'm also reflecting on how we start our school year. Y'all know that means an intro to rules, routines and just how we "do" this art class thang. I've written many posts about my First Days of Art Class over the years. If you are interested...than this post is for you! Loads of links with videos for you to check out.
If you need a lil cheat sheet for that very first day, I've got you COVERED, y'all! You can check out a video chat all about my WELCOME philosophy for the first day as well as more details right here.
I don't know what your schedule looks like but mine is a lil crazy. Such is the life of a special's teacher. I'm not on a rotation schedule but one where I see the same classes on the same days of the week. Which is great because I always know what my Monday will look like...same as last Monday. It's not so great when we have a Monday off and then a snow day Monday and then a field trip Monday and the next thing you know...
A way to stay on top of all that is being organized. I'm organized-challenged but I like to play an organized art teacher on T.V. (or YouTube). Check out a blog post with video all about that here.
I've shared a lot of videos about how I run my first day(s) of art right here and my YouTube channel (where I often upload first then share here...if you'd like to be "in the know", than you might wanna subscribe). And, honestly, it changes from year to year. I switch it up, change, "improve", decide something was NOT an improvement and change again. You can check out how I ran my first day of art back in 2015 right here. Please note how DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT my art room is now right here!
There are so many fun ways to introduce your students to your art room rules. One year, I created an Escape Game for my 2nd-4th grade students. They LOVED it! You can check out the video they viewed and the resources they used right here.
Last year, I created a super fun video with my faculty! They pretended to be my students and shared the Do's and Don't's of art class. It was such a joy and happy memory to make this video with them. I plan to share the video again this year as all the rules still apply...and it cracks me up EVERY TIME! You can see the video and more details about my first days of art last year, here.
Now...let's talk about that bird of a different feather: KINDERGARTEN. I totally go about my first days with kindergarten MUCH differently. I've created many videos of myself teaching kindergarten and sharing lessons for their first days. If you are interested, go here.
If you have been joining our book club weekly LIVE chats where we have been reading The Wild Card then you can relate to what I'm about to say. If you've not been joining us here and here, YOU TOTALLY SHOULD! We are a fun group and do not exclude folks who've not read the book. In the chapter I was reading just last night (because y'all know I'm all about catching up on my reading the night before the book club chat!), the authors Hope and Wade King were talking about classrooms that had lost their magic. Rooms with faded posters just barely hanging on the walls, rooms with non-sensical stuff just everywhere, rooms that LOOK EXACTLY LIKE HOW MINE DID THIS TIME LAST YEAR. Seriously! They were describing my art room perfectly. I'd gotten into the habit of just adding more and more clutter to an already clutter-tastic space. When I went in last summer, I was seriously struck by just how junky my art room felt. It really bothered me. I noticed a poster coming down at the front of my room where I gave instruction and I took that as a sign to just TEAR IT ALL DOWN. And I did. I promised myself from that moment on that I was going to Decorate to Educate. And that's what I took a year to do.
My art room is still a work in progress. I still have Early Finisher areas to set up, job charts to figure out and create and just little fussy things that I know would make my art room happier. But the bulk of the work is done...and I'm thrilled with the result.
I hear from a lot of y'all that you are feeling overwhelmed...especially with the new school year starting. I knew that would happen to me as well. So I made a promise to myself to think of my art room as a big ole elephant that I had to decorate one lil bit at a time. I couldn't do it overnight...and stressing that I should was not going to allow me to enjoy the experience and really decide what was needed. I wanted everything in my art room to serve a purpose: to educate and, of course, decorate. I promised myself to take my time.
Today I thought I'd share with you my favorite fun projects to rainbow-ize (and energize!) your art room. When you click on the links attached, be sure and check out the timestamp on each of them. You'll see that this was not done overnight but over the course of the year! So...if you feel inspired, just know...you got this!
First, if you've not taken a tour of my art room yet, here you go:
More room tours to come! This will allow me to explain certain areas and aspects in greater detail. This here is an overview. Feel free to drop me any questions in the comments if you have them!
I decided to use these to create a huge color wheel in my art room. The blobs of paint were created from cardboard. Everything was hung with 3M Velcro hangers that you can find just about everywhere. I always use the ones that hold 12 lbs. or more.
Here's a view from the area I call Command Central where I do all of my instruction. Another thing I decided to create last year were my ART room rules.
Art Room Rules
I've been doing a lot of reading on growth mindsets and really wanted to put them into play with my art room rules. These were so much fun to paint...I think that is what I enjoyed the most about redoing my art room, having the chance to create so much!
When I spotted these small rectangular canvases as the craft store, I knew immediately that they would make the perfect shape for a spray can. I created a video tutorial to show you how to make your own right here.
Crayon Color Families EVERYONE loves these crayons...especially the kiddos who get to create their own! These are a crowd favorite and are displayed prominently to help my students remember the color families. Tutorial here!
The crayon boxes are what I get the most questions about...they are made from cereal boxes! Even my kids created their own box when we displayed them at our school-wide art show!
Each of the crayons is held in place with a little Velcro dot on the back. This makes the crayons look like they are about to jump right out of the box!
Pencil-tastic Paint Stick Cabinet
I needed just a little cabinet to keep at the front of my art room to hold the art tubs for the classes I would see that day. I popped by the thrift store and scooped up this rather boring black cabinet. With a bunch of pencil-painted paint sticks and hot glue, I made this guy! Video tutorial and details right here.
Color Wheel Gong
I've had a Clean Up Gong in my art room for years now...and it used to make such an incredible sound. But it was not cute, says me! So I decided to create a color wheel out of it! It is actually my favorite teaching tool as it is so stinkin' big! It also...sadly...no longer makes a fantastical sound as the paint deadened the sound quite a big. You can see more of my gong here.
So there are crayon bins like this...but they are not cheap. Turns out making your very one is much cheaper! Now if I could only find that elusive ORANGE bin...seriously, I've looked everywhere! You can learn how to make your own version of these right here.
Did you know you can make an art room ornament outta ANYTHING? Turns out you can! And then use them to decorate your...
Y'all, this rainbow tree from Treetopia was just about the best thing my art room has ever seen. It totally inspired me to go ALL RAINBOWS, ALL THE TIME and it is alway there when I need a smile or a slightly prickly hug. All the details on my rainbow tree and how to get your very own right here.
No rainbow art room would be complete without the addition of a wreath on the front door. This wreath is also from Treetopia...and decorated by me. The tubes are created from toilet paper tubes and the brushes were just recycled. More details including a video tutorial right here.
Small World Mural
I did paint my share of murals in my art room this past year and this Small World themed one is one of my faves. My kids love how happy and colorful it is...and I love being able to refer to it for shapes! More details here.
Rainbow Trippy Mural
Of course, the other mural I painted this year was this beast. I had so much fun creating this backdrop...and balancing it out with a "calm" curtain and a wild rainbow flooring. All the details here.
ROY G. BIV Paintbrushes If my kiddos leave my art room and STILL don't know the order of the colors in the rainbow then, y'all, I just don't know what. This one was SO EASY! Just paint brushes, some letters and Duct tape. Video tutorial right here!
Tints and Shade Sign
This one falls into the category of NO WOODEN ITEMS AT THE CRAFT STORE ARE SAFE FROM CASSIE category. In case you didn't know there was one.
LOVE this resource for referring to line names! Another easy one to accomplish with just Duct tape.
Alphabet Cabinets I love having tons of cabinets...but I've always hated the way the look. I don't want to paint them tho...I mean this won't be my art room forever...and I'd hate to ruin the beautiful faux wood (ahem) that are my cabinets. So this seemed liked a fun way to fix that drab brown wood.
I've since decluttered that hot mess at the top of my cabinets!
Early Finishers Rainbow Stuff Seriously, y'all, nothing was safe. I spray painted these pots AND flowers in rainbow colors. They are used both in still life drawings and when my kids finish early and want to draw from observation.
Even my wooden models and dollar store dinos got a make-over! These are also in my early finisher drawing area.
Well, it's that time of year: Back to School Time! I know what you are thinking...already?! Yes. On my end of the universe, we head back August 1st and the kiddos return about a week after. For once in my life, I decided to get my room together EARLY so as not to be running around right before the kids walk in the door. I thought this might leave me some more time to lesson plan...or stay in my pjs until 1:35pm as I am currently doing. But, whatever! This place is GOOD.TO.GO. Here's just a lil time-lapse of all that you can accomplish when you drink two POTS of coffee:
Yeah, I was so motivated! I wanted to get as much done as possible in just two days and managed to knock out the bulk of it in one. I have been working this summer to declutter and clean closets...and while I have not completely finished those, it was nice to walk in to a tidy-ish space. That made setting up so much easier. The second day, I did finish organizing books, sorting supplies and clearing off my counter. If the kids walked in today, I'd be ready to teach! WHAT I'd teach 'em, I dunno...but we'd be ready. Here's a quick room tour:
I will most certainly give you a detailed tour of each space next week. So stay tuned, y'all! This week, I'll be posting on all of the DIY decor I've created since last year. My room was looking drastically different just one year ago.
For the curious, I have pulled up my room tours from years past! This should be interesting:
This is from 2016...right before the fire marshall came in and told me to take down all of my fun stuff. This video was created for my kindergarten thru second grade kids...so pardon me for talking to you like a little.
And this one is from 2014. I've gone thru some changes, y'all!
Having been in this space for 15 years, I was ready for an update. I was tired of just hanging up posters and silly stuff on my walls in an effort to just decorate the space. In the end, it just looked junky and cluttered. It was not a happy or calming place...not that it's calming now but I can say it makes me happy!
The magic of a couple of cans of paint and rainbows. Like I said, I'll be posting A LOT of info on how all of these were made this week...and next week, a more in-depth tour of each area. However, feel free to leave me questions below if you have any!
It's getting to be a packed house, even without the kids!
Thank you so much, y'all, for letting me taking you on a tour. Best of wishes getting your art rooms to their happy places!
It can be an overwhelming task. Just take your time and enjoy that journey. Listen to what the kids respond to and go from there.