The orderly construction of this old gas station made from
bricks and petrified wood in Glen Rose, Texas, has withstood
the ravages of time. Even with a crack down the middle, the
arch has maintained its strength and held together.
My life as an art teacher is
driven by a desire for order
and an inability to actually
attain it. But still I try. I’m
always surrounded by piles
of papers, books, and art supplies I might need at some
point. As an art teacher, it’s
hard not to be a hoarder.
How do order and organization apply to the artroom?
Practically, it helps to have
at least some order in how
you store and distribute art
materials and student work.
Conceptually, I believe curriculum should progress
exponentially and spiral in
an orderly fashion.
Perhaps it would be helpful to share some of my organizational practices. At the
end of every day, before I left
school, I would gather and
stack everything I needed for
my six classes for the next
day. I wanted to have materials and artwork at hand so
my students would not have
to wait while I hunted for
artwork or supplies. I would
even “set” the tables for my
first class to be ready when I
arrived in the morning.
During the day, before
each class left, I would try to
put the artwork in the proper
cubby and write down what
they would be doing the next
time they came to art. Otherwise, things could
get quite confused very quickly.
Concept-wise, I agree with Jerome Bruner,
author of The Process of Education (Harvard
University Press, 1977), that “any subject can be
taught effectively in some intellectually honest
form to any child at any stage of development.”
I think that most art concepts can be
addressed for different levels simply by varying
the vocabulary and the complexity of the ideas.
This is reflected in Bruner’s “spiral curriculum,”
which revisits basic concepts repeatedly, in an
orderly approach, building upon what the student has already learned.
No matter your approach to teaching art,
some order and organization will certainly be of
assistance. What can you bring order to today?