Sunday, June 8, 2014

Goodbye Art Room, Hello Art Cart

After 4 years of having the luxury of teaching in a designated art room, the time has come when I will be transitioning to teaching in the regular classrooms and using an Art Cart to transport all the supplies. The good news is that the reason for this change is a reduction in class size in our primary grades, so that will be great for kids and teachers!!
 No doubt, I will miss this room with its patio and its Smartboard. They are definitely conveniences. However, all the classrooms have Smartboards, so I plan to carry my visuals on my keydrive and quickly download lessons (as needed) to classroom computers. Actually, that should be good for teachers because they will have those Smartboard docs to use as resources for themselves.

So, where am I moving?? Well, to several places!! I have 2 cupboards in the teachers' workroom where there is a sink. I emptied them out a few months ago. They looked like this:
Now they look like this:
I gave away all my acrylic paints (hope I don't regret that move!) and just kept the tempera and watercolors so it all fit, sort of:))

Then I acquired a storage area behind our stage in the Auditorium (up some stairs in back of the "green room.") While not nearly as spacious as a classroom, it turned out to be larger than it looks. My fear was that I wouldn't have room for all those "saved treasures" that teachers acquire and that I would have to throw a lot of stuff away. No worries there -- everything actually fit in these storage areas!! In my hurry to get moved I didn't get any "before" photos, but I finished moving this past week and now it looks like this:

 I was amazed to see how much mat board I had accumulated. This is the board that our local art framing store (L.A. Art Exchange) donates for me to recycle for most of our projects. I just have to make sure that the sharp edges all get trimmed before we use it.  I LOVE that they do this for us!!!
 Part of the reason I took photos was to help me remember where I put everything. I tried to put all the "wet" stuff in the workroom where the sink (and my cart) will be. Everything else is in this upstairs area -- which, by the way is very dimly lit by one overhead light. With the magic of photo editing, these pictures make it look well lit and cheery (well, sort of cheery -- I have plans to make it look more inviting for myself when I get back in the Fall).
 This area has a separate little room that used to be a bathroom. It has a narrow window, so when I open that door I get a little more light for the whole area. It has a couple of old 4-drawer files it it that now house my books and a few more supplies.
This will look better once I hang something on the bare wall, ya think???

 As I moved I made a record of where everything was going in a small composition book. I think I am going to thank myself for taking the time to do this. Otherwise I envisioned hunting for one little item like breyers, or rubber gyotaku fish forever!!


 I tried to move things one cupboard at a time, keeping like things sort of together to help me remember where things are. I also only moved for an hour or two each day to try to preserve my back. It took longer, but I never really got tired from the effort and before I knew it, I was moved.


Years ago a student gave me this wall hanging -- I moved it with me and hung it in this area to give me a little feel of familiar surroundings in my new digs:))

One last thing...  Back when I found out this was all happening, I Googled "Art on a Cart" and found that Mrs. C at Rainbow Skies and Dragonflies, a fellow blogger whom I follow, had posted this great article called "Surviving Art on a Cart" (see here). She has some terrific tips for those of us in this situation and kindly wrote and offered me encouragement. Thank you again for that!!! Believe me, I have been saving containers with lids and plastic shopping bags with handles!! 

I don't want to have to give up my messy painting projects and am thinking that if I am just organized enough it will all work out and we can continue to create our painted papers, gyotaku prints, etc.  All our classrooms have sinks, so how hard can it be, right..??!!!! Wish me luck -- this will be a new experience!!

14 comments:

  1. Wow, you have been a busy girl! That is quite the organizational challenge! Looks like you've got a plan going, good for you. It's been a long time since I taught in the classrooms, but one thing I remember is that my lessons were streamlined and effective, because there was less "stuff" to distract. I kept steps and materials pared down to what was necessary for that day, which made me and the kids feel pretty focused and accomplished. Best of luck to you!

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  2. I am so proud of art teachers like you. I'm pretty sure most of us would FREAK out being informed that we would lose our rooms. You may have, but this post is taking the high road and I think many teachers not just art teachers need to look on the bright side of things. Thank you for making this post and not just B****ing and M***ing about it. I remember a few years back when my principal sat me down in her office with the music teacher and asked us why we needed our rooms. She was going to have to use one of our rooms as a regular ed room. I was floored. I gave my arguments, but thankfully our numbers were low and no one lost their rooms. You are an inspiration.
    - That Little Art Teacher

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    1. I agree with you Becca - her attitude impressed me!

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    2. Thanks for the kind words. I think if I were teaching as a full time art teacher I might have reacted differently. But our program is part time and I volunteer my time so the circumstances are a bit different. When I retired (4 years ago) I wasn't ready to really stop teaching altogether and the school had 1 extra room. We had never had a year-round art program with a room and a real teacher, so the opportunity just seemed right. When it became apparent that the room would not be available this coming year, my choices were 1) transition to an Art Cart, 2) volunteer at the school in another capacity or 3) stop volunteering. At first I thought I would never want to teach off of a cart, so I figured I'd help out in a few classrooms or the library. But as the time got closer and kids kept asking me, "Will we have art again next year?" and I began to miss the idea of making art with kids, I weakened and decided to give the cart a try. With encouragement from a few articles online and some early advice from Tery and her blog (see comment below) I figured I might as well acquire an old 3-shelf AV cart and at least attempt this way of teaching. If others who are teaching with a full load of classes every day (and sometimes in more than one school) can do it, I should be OK. I really feel for teachers in that situation -- it must be REALLY hard! I am lucky, in that I can devise a schedule and content however I like with "no strings attached." With more classes and fewer time slots, students may have fewer classes, but we'll adjust I am sure. Since I am used to having all materials set up and ready to go when kids enter the art room, my biggest concern is accomplishing all that quickly off a cart. I've seen a ceramics teacher do it, so I have a good role model! I guess I'll be writing a bit about that next year!! Have a great summer.

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  3. Christie,
    All the organization and writing down where you have stored everything is going to make life easier next year! ( so important! I never did that and spent FOREVER searching for things! Some of it I never found until I moved back into a room...) You have a positive attitude and as much as this sucks, it is so important! Its what is going to get you through the really crappy days... but you will continue to do great things! My fellow teachers were really helpful and understanding and asked what they could do to help me.( well, 98% of them ...) We art teachers are creative thinkers and you will find a way to make it all happen! Have a restful summer! :)
    Tery ( Mrs."C") :)

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    1. Thanks, Tery. We have a great bunch of teachers, too. I'm pretty sure all will be fine :))

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  4. Christie, you have a wonderful positive attitude! It seems like you've met this challenge head on and have your game plan ready. I wish you the best of luck!!

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  5. Best of luck to you with the change in teaching style. With your attitude, I'm sure you will be successful.
    Kim @Art on my Hands

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  6. When I was teaching on a cart, one nice thing is that the kids were already sitting in their assigned seat when I came into the room. In many ways, the kids remained calmer because they didn't have to transition from one room to another.

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    1. I hadn't considered that. Thanks!!!

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    2. I travel between 2 schools. I have a room at one and a cart at the other. Rooms require a lot of upkeep. Carts don't! I like being on the cart better! Good luck!

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    3. Thanks -- I'll keep that in mind!!!

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