Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere!
Clean up is such a huge part of an art teacher’s life….so I have been working for years on perfecting the process. I think back to my first years teaching and giggle and cringe at how I had basically nothing but a flicker of the lights and some hope that it would all work out. Flash forward to now and I am a woman with a plan, thank goodness!
Firstly, I start with an audio cue, rather than screaming clean up. I learned this from my amazing library teacher Mrs. Lodge to play classical music when it is time to clean. It is so beautiful when kids just hear the music and then they start cleaning! This is not always true, but often, it is. It is very Pavlovian and truthfully, sometimes I worry that my students will always feel the need to clean whenever they hear classical music, but I doubt that will happen :).
For years I tried so many ideas that pop on Pinterest all the time….having each table have a job: floor finders, media managers, etc. These ideas sound fun and have adorable names, but never really worked for me or my students. I realized that kids were always asking what each job meant. I would send them to the description and then find out that they sometimes just couldn’t figure it out, let alone read at all!
I am thrilled to say that, by George, I’ve got it! Hopefully this will help you too.
Kids need visuals. We need to spell it out for them and add in a clear picture too.
So I created these fabulous signs that I change based on the materials we use, and the project we are working on! I have watercolor images, oil pastels, scissors, and more! This would work at any age (kindergarteners love these) and in any classroom, not just the art room.
The best part? IKEA for the win! I measured these to fit these IKEA Tolsby Frames, costing a mere 50 cents a pop!