End of year craziness can be the worst. Admins throwing paperwork at you. Students acting out. Grade are due. And you’re stuck with the annoying task of placing your back to school supply order before school lets out. Art projects and materials are the last thing you want to think about, but you have to. Well, I have one simple tip to make end of year teacher ordering go more smoothly next year. Hint: it starts during the back to school season and lasts the whole year long.
I developed this system out of frustration for struggling to remember all the materials that I use up during the year, but couldn’t. Repeat after me: systems are king. Having great systems in place will speed you up so you can turn your attention to other areas of importance like parent communication, grading, or your yearly art show.
So here’s what I do: I create two parking lots to house ideas. I take a colored notecard and tape it to a shelf next to my desk. You can write, “Art Materials” if that helps you remember why you stuck it up there in the first place. As I run out of a certain art material, I jot it down.
I like it not being a list in my desk because my hands are often messy and I don’t want to scavenge through my desk with dirty hands. Having it out in the open prevents that. Also, it’s in your face and therefore reminds you of the materials you’ve already run low on. This system also helps with the immediacy factor. Let me explain.
You know when you’re teaching and you get an idea for some amazing art project but you don’t have the materials on hand to do it? You think to yourself, “Yeah, maybe next year I’ll create bird sculptures with kindergarten!” but you’re short on resources? In comes the second notecard. Make it a different color than the first one. Write, “Art Project Ideas” on it and tape it next to the first notecard.
This will help you remember why you wanted to order a ton of colored feathers come Fall.
Then at the end of the year when you’re planning for back to school (as I outlined in my previous post about classroom hacks), you use the list to help order things. Make an account on your favorite art supply website. Many will have an online catalog and wishlist feature. Wishlists are a teacher’s best friend. You can add stuff to the wishlist all year long, if you want, when you have a moment to breath. Then cross it off that “Art Materials” notecard so you can keep track of what you’ve already wishlisted. And once things are wishlisted, you can refer back to that list year in and year out.
If you follow this one simple tip, you’ll surely reduce the end of year insanity to only the things outside of your control. Check out my Classroom Hacks Pinterest board for more ideas on streamlining your art room. And if you like this idea, please pin it!