Bright Ideas {Art Tips and Tricks}

I adore art.  I really do. We do art at least once a week in my room. It is always tied to Social Studies or Science, and 99% of the time it’s tied to the fluency passage we are reading during the week. I love fluency, and it’s a BIG part of my curriculum.
How can I fit in that much art? Easy! Here are four bright ideas to make art super fun and fast!
Lost glue cap? No problem!
So here is my two-pronged approach to the “lost glue cap DRAMA” in first grade.
#1. I number the kids at the beginning of the year, and I write their numbers on their glue caps with a Sharpie. Then the kids know who a lid belongs to.  BUT sometimes a glue cap just disappears, like magic. When that happens, it’s no problem. 
#2. I keep a Ziploc bag of glue caps in my desk. We never throw away a glue cap. EVER. The old glue stick goes in the trash but the lid goes in my desk. So when one gets lost, a child can look through the baggie and find one that matches their kind of glue stick. When they find one, I rub off the old number, and I put their number on their “new” cap. EASY, EASY, EASY!
Lost piece? Check the carpet! When we are doing art, I tell the students to throw their trash and scraps onto the floor.  It makes the room look very “festive”, but it helps in a lot of ways.  The kids stay seated instead of hoping up to go to the recycle bin and poking a friend on their way back to their desk! Second, when a kid shouts out, “I lost my leprechaun shoe!”, I calmly reply, “Check the floor, lovebug & shoulder buddies, please check your desks for an extra shoe.” Sometimes, kids “accidentally” take their neighbor’s stuff. If it hasn’t been “borrowed” by a neighbor, then it’s on the floor instead of lost forever in a snotty-tissue-filled trash can. I NEVER let my students get another piece (even though I end up with extras), because this teaches personal responsibility. The lost piece is always found if they care enough to look for it. Thank you EduKate and Inspire for the photo.  I forgot to take a picture of my “festive” floor. Yours was perfect!
Bright Ideas March
Googly eyes got you down?  Kids have a hard time gluing them on, and the adhesive ones are EXPENSIVE! So teach them the “chip & dip” trick.  The child holds the googly eye like a chip and lightly drags it across their glue stick which is the “dip”. When they have a small amount of glue on the eye, they eat the whole thing (just kidding). When they have a small amount of glue they place it on the art and gently press. No wiggling or rubbing it. All of the glue stays under the eye!
I do realize that this next tip reveals profound control issues, but I am going to share it anyway.  I have art crayons.  If the art or even a math lesson requires the kids to use a certain color crayon we pull out the “art crayons”. Listen, this is serious business, and it stresses me out. Do your realize there are 5 shades of blue in your crayon box?  In the old days, I would say, “Use your green crayon” and 3 hands would go in the air. Which green? The yellow green? The green green? The green yellow? It’s even worse with the purples! So I decided to have an art set.  Now, I grab the colors we will need from a shelf, put them on the floor, and team leaders grab the supplies. Where did I get the crayons for the art set?  They are our old crayons from years past, and the pencil boxes are a set a kids pencil boxes that I kept one year instead of letting the kids take them home. At the end of each trimester my kids get a new box of crayons and they sort their old crayons into the art boxes. They love sorting them, and it’s good reading practice. At the end of this year, try it. I promise you will LOVE your art set of crayons! Add a label to the outside of the box and put them where the kids can reach them. This way if Little Lucy loses her brown crayon she can help herself to one of the art crayons.
Bright Ideas March
Are you ready for more bright ideas??? How about some tips to tame classroom clutter? Hop on over to Jen’s blog for some bright ideas!