My students often joke about how organized I am, but I feel that organization is the key to a well run art room. This is my first year teaching Middle School, but beginning with the first day of school I drill into my students the idea that there is a definate order to our room. We have a 5 minute warning bell, which eliminates any confusion as to when clean-up begins.
I have a supply table in the front of the room, and every table has their own supply bucket that is numbered. They know that I check to make sure all supplies are in the buckets and that they are placed back in numerical order. Any other supplies that are being used are also placed there.
With everything numbered, it's very easy to see that Table 3 forgot to hand in their scissors and so on.
I even number the slip containers to make sure that the covers are put on tight and not left around the room.
When we are working with clay, I remind them to sponge the tables and ask who is going to be the "Sponge Bob" for the table. They get a kick out of that and the tables are always clean.
Constant praise always works, and the kids seem to feel much more comfortable knowing that there is a process and order to at least a small portion of their day. I always feel confidant knowing that if I am out for the day, I will still come in to school finding the room exactly how I left it.
Another thing I find helpful is to have a box for each period for the students sketchbooks to go in, that way we never lose track of any work. We also have a closet for each period with a shelf for each student, so that they always keep their basic art supplies in the room and there is never any of those "I left it in my locker" excuses.
I am in my 20's. shorter than most of my students and not too intimidating to say the least...but it all seems to work out!
Kara from Northport