A Flexible Way to Assign Art Jobs

Color-coded seats provide a flexible way to assign jobs in art class.

Video Tour: Vinyl Tape in the Art Room

When I started teaching art at an elementary school, I tried out two ways of assigning clean-up jobs that totally failed. I lovingly crafted a job chart with velcro labels that would rotate each table through a job they would do at the end of class. I quickly realized that having pre-determined jobs did not work when our materials changed almost weekly!

Color-coded seats provide a flexible way to assign jobs in art class.

Then I tried to simplify my approach. I had a list of three things that every student needed to do – put up their artwork, clean their table, then clean the classroom. That kind of freedom would have worked great in a high school room, but it was way too vague for 7-10 year olds!

Color-coded seats provide a flexible way to assign jobs in art class.

That kind of freedom would have worked great in a high school room, but it was way too vague for 7-10 year olds!

After reading a post on Your Teacher’s Aide about the wonders of floor marking tape, my mind started whirling with ways I could use it in my classroom. I use it to mark my floor for Circle Up time, our demonstration table, and the sink line. But by far, my favorite use is that it marks my tables by seat number and job color.

Video Tour: Vinyl Tape in the Art Room

Color-coded seats provide a flexible way to assign jobs in art class.

My seats are numbered 1-24 and each seat at a table has a different color. I write the numbers onto a square of floor marking tape with a Sharpie. After 6 weeks, they have to be replaced. But they are lasting so much longer than my previous paper covered with packing tape solution.

Color-coded seats provide a flexible way to assign jobs in art class.

At the bottom of my dry erase board I sectioned off spaces for each of my grade levels. I wrote the grade with Sharpie (it comes off when you color over it with a dry erase marker). I can write the jobs for a specific day using a dry erase marker and change those jobs whenever our materials change.

Color-coded seats provide a flexible way to assign jobs in art class.

This has streamlined our classroom procedures in an incredible way. All I have to say is, “Red squares get a cup of markers for your table.” And boom! They know what they need to do! When it’s time to clean up, each kid is responsible for putting away whatever they got out.

When it’s time to clean up, each kid is responsible for putting away whatever supply they got out.

I also have a student who’s job it is to put up the tables folders that have their artwork in them. Which makes it really easy to redirect students who refuse to stop working when it’s time to clean up. A simple, “Please give her your artwork so that she can do her job” usually does the trick!

It was a bit of an investment to buy all of the colors I needed to make this system work. It was around $30 for 4 rolls of tape. (And we know all of those purchases at the beginning of the school year add up fast!) But I’m starting on year two with this tape, and the rolls are still going strong. Hands down, the best $30 I spent on my classroom last year!

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