Friday, September 21, 2012

A Few Classroom Tweaks

Just when you think you have classroom organization and management "down" you get that class that needs something a bit different, tailored just for them. After a couple of those instances last year, I decided to change things up a bit this year.

First, instead of having just my 2 large color wheels at each end of the room (plus a central one on the Smartboard) I added smaller, laminated color wheels to the crayon table markers hanging above each work table. These crayons are large (maybe a yard long) plastic piggy banks in each of the primary and secondary colors that a colleague gave me last year. Now students just have to look up to find a nearby color wheel for reference!

As a tie-in to these colored crayon table markers, we have a new way of getting started on projects this year. I was frustrated last year with all the art that got turned in without names or room numbers -- often 2 or 3 kids per class. When you see 120+ kids per grade level those numbers add up!!!

My classes all start out sitting in our rug area for a quick lesson on the Smartboard or a demonstration. When it's time to go to their tables (4-6 kids per table), I now give each student a colored ticket telling them which "color" table to go to. Their first task is ALWAYS to write their name and room # on the back of their paper. One person at the table has a ticket with a circle on it. It is that person's job to check and make sure everyone at the table has written their name and room #. That "circle person" then collects the tickets and delivers them to me. When I have all the tickets it is time to start whatever directions I have. I was concerned that this extra step might be time-consuming, but I have found just the opposite. Kids are focused and anxious to "get on with it" so this whole process only takes 1 or 2 minutes and my problem of "no name" is solved!!

My third tweak is a small but necessary one. Our class size increased this year and my rug area is no longer large enough for a whole class to sit in a half circle. So, I have 12 chairs, located on the perimeter of the carpet area to which I tied a piece of red yarn. The first 12 people into the room sit in those chairs and the rest of the class sits in front of them in a semi-circle, creating 2 rows where everyone can see.

Voila, another problem solved. But that is what we teachers do, isn't it -- solve little (and sometimes big) problems all day long!!
Have a great week-end (problem-free)!!
ps.  I forgot to mention, it was so hot here last week-end that I stayed inside and FINALLY set up a Pinterest account. I spent hours  on Saturday browsing around the web. I probably haven't found things that all you long time "Pinteresters" haven't already found, but if you'd care to check out my boards, there's a button near the bottom of the right hand column on the blog. Not sure how diligent I'll be at pinning - I already have a sore thumb joint from all that clicking around!!!!


  1. You've come up with good problem-solving ideas here - change is good! I only just discovered pinterest (and blogging) a month ago, and am already finding it is totally changing how I do so many things, especially preparing, organizing & recording lessons! There is so much to inspire out there :)

  2. Hi Christie
    I love the idea of pinning color wheels to the ceiling directly over the tables. I hadn't thought about assigning a name checker - great idea. I am smitten with Pinterest and am adding your ideas to my Art Room Organization board.

    1. I liked watching little heads bobbing up and down as they referred to those color wheels overhead to complete a project on complementary colors!!