I've been away from this listserve for a while, so I thought I'd weigh in on an easy one!
One of the best ways I have found to organize my art room (K-5) is to get as many small supplies as possible, such as brushes, tools, pencils, chalk,etc., into clear bins with lids. That way, I can choose these materials at a glance and place them on a supply table or at various stations in the room for kids to access. Another more recent acquisition has been a rolling bin cart, the kind used by mechanics, that hold the more frequently used items such as sharpie markers, crayons, scissors, etc. that are used on a daily basis. I purchased this at a Sam's Club for around $100.00 and it is good quality and worth every penny. The clear bins are tucked away in a cabinet.
I frequently use kids to distribute work in progress or to help place water and paints on tables. Homeroom teachers usually have a "class helper", and I use that kid,and they may choose a helper. Generally, though, I prefer to have most major supplies set up before the kids enter the room, so I don't have to fumble around finding stuff during class. In order to control traffic while students are getting materials, I set up various stations in the room so that equipment and supplies are not all in the same place, creating traffic jams. I find that keeping kids moving from station to station helps let kids get up and move a little, while minimizing fooling around.
As far as discipline goes, each class tends to take on a personality of its own, due to the temperament of the homeroom teacher, school climate, and class make-up. I try to have a very consistently applied set of room rules, and make adjustments for classes that contain more high maintenance kids than others. While the rules are not inconsistent with general rules of behavior, some are unique to the art room and to my personality. Seating charts for difficult classes, banning certain students from sitting with one another all help control things. Some kids, of course, are hard-core, and are dealt with in other ways. Art is very popular with kids in my school, and being omitted is not on their list of favorite things, so one class period spent in the office or "the art chair of doom" is all it usually takes to cure things for a while.
Hope this helps, Jerry
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