Many people look at me in awe when I tell them that I teach art to 920 students every week.  
I get questions ranging from "How do you organize artwork for so many students?" to "Where do you keep your supplies?" to "How do you cope every day?"  

I confess that I have never really thought about my situation with so many elementary kids, as it's all that I know.  I've simply found a system that works for me.  Sure, not every day is perfection, but overall, organization is the key to maintaining my sanity levels!  No matter how tidy and organized you are at home in your personal life, I found that it is imperative to keep such a space on a professional level while working with so many kiddos.
Being prepared to what comes your way is invaluable.
Here are a few of my tips;

1.  Look at the Clock
Specials last for 45 minutes at my school.  While of course 1 hour would be ideal, I'm thankful for the time that I do have.  My advice on how to make this work with your schedule and your sanity is to be organized and BE. PREPARED!  Each lesson doesn't have to take 3+ sessions to finish!  Below is a quick list to help you start conquering the 45 minute class lesson..

2.  Lessons by Grade Levels
I use my dry erase boards to display what each grade is working on.  I keep my "I Can" statements posted above examples, project steps, vocabulary, etc. in each grade level.  K-3rd grades are on one white board, while 4th and 5th are on the other board, near the front of the classroom.

This system is not only great for me, but also for substitutes who walk into my room, parent volunteers, and especially for my school administration who may just be "dropping in" for that observation!

(Examples:  Two 4th grade projects for our school's International Day)

3.  Schedule
During Specials we have a unique schedule to fit our large student body.  We move along a seven day rotation, identified by color.  Obviously this works great for me since I teach the color spectrum (ROYGBIV) and it's easy for my organization.  I create a chart and mount it outside my room as well as next to my desk, for a quick reminder of the classes I see each color day.
When labeling artwork for the hallway, I write student names on labels mounted on colored paper (aligning the paper color with the color day I see that class in Art).  This system helps students and teachers locate their class' work in the halls, plus it helps me quickly hand back artwork too!

4.  Tables
My art room has eight tables (arranged in four groups of two tables each) and they are named after artists.  There are artist bios with photos of their work, so that students can read up on their table's namesake.  I switch up the artists halfway through the year, so students hear about sixteen in total!
Salvador Dali, Jasper Johns, Romero Britto, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, and Red Grooms are among our artists.  Below is a photo of the Andy Warhol table bio.

5.  Binders
Binders are great for many purposes in my classroom.  School protocol.. class rosters and seating charts.. lesson plans.. substitute information.. art show information.. etc.  I also keep binders of master copies; handouts, activity pages, and more!  This has helped me from looking all over for various paperwork I could have sworn that I put elsewhere!

6.  Artwork Storage
I store artwork by Color day, all six classes in one box.  Need an example?  I store the artwork from classes that come to me on a Red day in a Red box, artwork from Orange day classes is stored in an Orange box, Yellow day in a Yellow box, etc. etc.

*Reflection:  I used to keep silver roasting pans on hand to store artwork sorted by grade level (in clips marked with their color day).  My first year I tried portfolios, which are awesome, but with so many students and so much art, I found that they took up much more space than I can afford to give.  My storage room does have cubbies, but I find them too shallow for proper storage.

7.  Storage Room
I use the storage room attached to my classroom for paper, extra materials, boards, boxes, and other art supplies when not in immediate use.  I try x3 to keep this room orderly and clean, in the event of misplacing a box of brayers or something equally as frustrating.

8.  Kiln Room
I am extremely lucky to have an extra room down the hall from my classroom.  I use this room for our kiln and my students' clay project storage.  Since I have so many students, it is important to stay organized every step of the Clay Week process.  I organize each classes' clay into boxes labeled with their class code (in their colored day Sharpie marker).  This way I can keep track of clay before and after firing.
Due to some of the maintenance equipment and fuse boxes, seen in the photos below, I can only really fit one set of shelves in the kiln room.  For additional box storage, so that nothing rests flush on the floor, I have two rolling carts to transport projects between rooms.. which apparently I chose to leave out of the photo montage below.

Overall, I just try to remember to do the following.. 

Binders, binders, binders.
Color coded storage.
Portioned buckets of supplies for each table.
Clean as the students and I go.
Setting up at the end of a school day for the following day.
Keeping notes and up-to-date lesson plans.
Be flexible!

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