Installation Art

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

Elementary art students worked together to create installation art using everyday materials and displayed them on campus.

PowerPoint: Installation Art

Art Display Sign: Installation Art Sign

Safety Pledge: Hot Glue Pledge

Supplies: Whatever extra stuff you have crowding your cabinets!

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

For our art program, I needed to do two things: 1) Fill in the weird schedule gap caused by our Field Days. 2) Use up the boxes of donated supplies that I wasn’t going to be able to move to our new school. Installation art was the perfect solution!

I started by grouping our supplies into sets that would work well together. I had pipe cleaners, foam shapes, cardboard tubes, art straws, wooden blocks, popsicle sticks and bamboo skewers. The foam shapes worked well with the pipe cleaners and skewers. For the other materials, I gave each table an adhesive, like masking tape or hot glue.

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

About a week before we started, I set up a hot glue station at the back of the room. Kiddos who finished their art project early helped glue the popsicle sticks into triangles and squares. Having those pieces ready to go really streamlined the building process.

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

I made a very big deal about the hot glue safety rules! Each students had to sign the Safety Pledge and wear gloves to protect their hands from accidents. (I was thrilled to find kid-sized gardening gloves at the Target Dollar Spot!)

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

On the first day, each table brainstormed about how they were going to use the materials and where they would want the sculpture displayed. At the end of each class, they wrote a note for the kids who would be at their table next.

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

I changed the set-up of the tables as each of the sculptures got to a new step or were completed. By the end of the week, the cardboard tube sculpture took up 3 different tables: one for taping, one for painting the outside and one for painting the inside.

We installed the sculptures in waves; as soon as one was finished, I would assign a table to take the pieces outside and secure it in the ground. Bamboo skewers and tape helped to hold up some of the more flexible artwork. The students taped laminated signs about installation art to the sides of some old magazine holders. Bamboo skewers were able to keep the sign boxes in place.

The installation art made quite a splash! The students were so excited to see the finished projects they had helped with. Teachers and parents also commented on how much they enjoyed the artwork. It was a fun way to introduce an new art concept to our school’s community.

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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!

Organize your Art Schedule with Color!

Classroom Video Tour: Organize with Color!

Seating Chart Template: Seating Charts

I was lucky to find out what my schedule for this year would be about a month before summer started. That gave me time to wrap my head around changing from a quarterly system where I saw third and fourth graders every day for nine weeks, to a schedule where I would see the whole student population once every 6 days. I jumped into high gear and started making sketchbooks like crazy. Students who had finished a project early were eager to join our assembly line of counting, folding and stapling paper.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

When I locked up my room for the summer I had stacks of over 900 sketchbooks sitting in my closet. But I hadn’t quite decided how I was going to organize them. I knew I wanted to put them in plastic bins on the shelf. When I got back to school in August, I decided to work out a color coordinated system, so that every rotation day was the same color.

After putting labels on all 38 sketchbook bins, I stepped back and realized I had created a giant schedule wall that I could follow throughout the week.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

After putting labels on all 38 sketchbook bins, I stepped back and realized I had created a giant schedule wall that I could follow throughout the week. (To make things extra complicated, my last three classes of the day are 2nd graders who are on a Monday-Friday rotation. Their bins got different colors.) In the morning I can glance at the sketchbook shelf and see which classes are coming to art.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

The thought that stressed me out the most was keeping track of all of that “artwork in progress” from week to week! In the past, I’ve used my set of plastic drawers so that each class time has their own drawer to store their artwork in. I only have 9 drawers in all, and my room size and wallet couldn’t handle buying 29 more!

I decided to dedicate each drawer to a class time and store all six classes who come at that time in the same drawer.

I decided to dedicate each drawer to a class time and store all six classes who come at that time in the same drawer. I used the same color labels again on the outside of the drawer, so I can easily see where each class’s artwork goes.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

Inside the drawer I have a big purple folder for each class. They were easy to make – 18″ x 24″ construction paper folded and stapled. I labeled each of those big purple folders with… you guessed it! The same colors that were on the sketchbook bins. Each big purple folder has six file folders labeled with the table names for my classroom. My students use the file folders to turn in their art at the end of class.

Inside the drawer I have a big purple folder for each class… Each big purple folder has six file folders labeled with the table names for my classroom. My students use the file folders to turn in their art at the end of class.

It was so much fun to change up the table names for the new year! I love picking new artists to highlight on each table’s supply box. It was time consuming to write artist names on the front and back of 228 folders, but they will also double as signs for the drying rack. And they make passing back artwork crazy quick and easy.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

 

Another huge concern I had was finding a way to store all of the finished artwork for our Showcases at the end of the year. I spent a lot of time clearing off 7 of the big shelves at the back of my room. I labeled each shelf with the times for each class period and made larger folders out of thick poster board to create portfolios where I can store each class’ finished projects. We’ll see if they end up being big enough for a year’s worth of artwork.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

For each class period, I labeled the folders using those same colors from the sketchbook bins. I’m only a couple weeks into the year, but so far I’m amazed by how much this color system has kept me from losing my mind! I feel like I finally have a handle on which classes are coming to my room at what times. And I’m not scared that I’m going to lose artwork. (Which is every art teacher’s greatest fear, I think.)

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

My other big undertaking was color coordinating my seating charts. I printed each rotation day on the same color paper I used for all of the labels. I have been using Post-it Notes, cut down to small rectangles, as a way of being able to easily move kids. This year, I was inspired by the Art of Ed’s Summer online conference to start dabbling in video demonstrations. I bought a selfie stick and filmed my usual first day of art “tour of the classroom.”

While the kids watched the video tour of the art room (which they were glued to!), I filled out seating charts for that class.

Oh man, what a life saver! While the kids watched the video tour of the art room (which they were glued to!), I filled out the seating chart for that class. It only took 5 minutes each class period, but that would’ve been 3 hours of planning period time! And it was so nice to know that every single class heard all of the same information. (After repeating myself that many times, I always forget important parts.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.
I may still be in the honeymoon phase, but I have high hopes for this organization system! I’m sure over the course of the year, I’ll be changing it here and there. But for now it makes me feel like I’ve got this crazy rotation schedule under control!

Seating Chart Template: Seating Charts