Classroom Management

What to do when students are finished?

Picture it: the main project is done but each artist finishes at a different time…..what to do? This is an age old question for art teachers!  After over a decade of using a “choice center” where children could choose to free draw, read a book or play an art game, I found that students were struggling with this space. This was a concern, but I am happy to see that I have a new solution this year….choice boxes work like a charm!

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 8.58.41 PM.png

Choices boxes are designated boxes that hold a choice for each table such as a drawing activity, a puzzle or a game.  I have a great new shelf that a mom donated to me (thank you!) that hold my table choice boxes and are sorted by color. (This blog is new, so you are just learning my obsession with color coding, but soon enough, you will see my passion and love for a color coded system) Each table in my classroom is labeled by color (by hanging lanterns) and kids know to look for the table color box in the bin for choice time.


So, what is in these boxes? A different activity each week, that I rotate each Monday morning.  There are lots of different items such as puzzles, toys, building games, and fun materials sometimes too. There is also always a ticket into our Inspiration Station which you will learn about in a future post (stay tuned)!  Kids are always welcome to take a free draw paper and markers to free draw. Which they lovvvve. Why do kids love to free draw more than ever? This breaks my heart a little bit as I worry they do not get a chance to draw enough, but that is a different post for another time. Additionally, kids can always get a book from the library also, and bring it back to their table spot. The change of having choices at tables has been pretty life changing this year.  While this is a shift from the past, kids are adjusting and practicing this routine nicely!

Here are some choice boxes in action:


Need some choice box ideas? Try some of these:

Make a Pattern….there are so many other options for this too!

-Black paper and oil pastels

Ed Emberly books and markers

-cartoon books, origami books

-texture plates



-looms and yarn for a quick or collaborative weaving

-any other fun art activity like Shapescapes (perfect for your wishlist or a way to use PTO money)


What do you do to help your students who finish before other students? Share in a comment below!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s