I have had little or no time between classes. I found certain
products made work easier, especially large Zip Lock Bags. I even
mentioned to Judy that SAX could produce some very heavy Zip Locks
for the way art teachers can use them.
I had an average of 32 students per class. I put two Zip Lock bags,
one inside each other, together, and filled them with a mini art
kit that had most of the materials we always used. Each kit was
numbered, and each student had a number corresponding to the kit.
A list of materials was on the outside of the kit, printed in
Sharpie pen. At the end of the period, each student put everything
back in the kit, except wet media. They left their brushes in the
water if we were painting.
(Although I had a sink in my room, I made it off limits to all but
my older student monitors who came in during my prep period to keep
supplies in order and do major wash up. Paint w ater cups are the
one pint take out soup kind from Chinese or other restaurants. WITH
TOPS. When students leave the room, before they rise from their
chairs, tops are put on the water cup tightly.
New class comes in. Checks the kit to be sure all materials are
inside: Blunt (sadly) scissors, pencil, small simple plastic pencil
sharpener, 2 sets of crayons, regular and construction paper, cray
pas (all in smaller separate zip lock bags, not in boxes) set of
color pencils (ditto).Students know that the next class will be
checking the kits and that they (the student that left an
incomplete kit) will be responsible for anything missing).
If we have been painting, monitor at top of each row takes care of
emptying dirty paint water into a bucket they (carefully) carry. A
second monitor follows just half full. The buckets are left under
the sink, and I empty them at some point during class.
Whatever the medium, I give a three minute instruction or demo,
then they take the appropriate media from their kits, and they
start to work. If there is an incomplete kit I make note of it at
that point. I personally check all kits at the end of the day. I
printed up a list and photocopied it. I can see through the bags
clearly and easily note any missing items.
I also put an empty smaller Zip Lock in the double bag so students
could sharpen pencils inside the bag and not get shavings all over.
I never put any kind of glue inside. Most of the time I use glue
sticks which are easy to pass out and get returned at the end of
Only I an electric sharpener, kept in the closet. Those tend to eat
up pencils and naughty students abuse them, empty them on the
It takes a while to set up this system, and of course you need to
vary it if you are using other materials.
This method works very well keeping supplies in order and ready to
use, quickly. Ideally you could have a kit for each child you
teach. If your school is able to afford the basic kit, or if
parents can be charged for the kit, student ownership increases
care of the supplies. The bonus is that if parents purchase, the
kits can go home at the end of the year. Each kit costs about $10-
$15 for the items I have listed, when purchased in bulk.
I hope this suggestion helps, and will be added to. What a wet and
miserable Memorial Day Weekend here in Brooklyn! Jane