Necessity is the mother of invention, so they say. These art teacher hacks prove that when the going gets tough, the tough get creative.
- Found Space, Converting potter’s wheels into Individual work stations. Idea from Emily Michelle. “My classroom has the large wooden shop tables, meaning with social distancing protocols one kid per table. I needed way more than 5 spaces for students to work, so I created wooden toppers for my wheels that turn each one into a workspace. Boards are covered with plastic (bought by the yard from Joanne Fabric) for easy sanitation. They also have clips underneath, that will hopefully prevent a student from standing up and accidentally flipping their workspace. It certainly takes a bit of time, but I feel like this is something useful for my classroom long term, and maybe it might solve some problems as others start to move into hybrid learning.”
- File holders make great drying racks for trays, palettes, etc. Idea from Erin Curlee Hatfield
- Silicone Ice Cube Trays. Idea thanks to Kayla Koslow. While these are sold as ice cube trays and art teachers will look at them and see paint palettes and paint storage. The paint stays wet for a long time in these. And when you decide you are done with the paint instead of washing it out, leave the lid off and let it dry and the paint literally POPs right out. So satisfying. You can buy these here.
- Annie Lemings found this genius Covid art hack. She found this pencil pull clip. Now she always has a pencil connected to her at all times which keeps her from touching the student’s pencils. She found hers at Home Depot but you can also find it at Amazon, here.
- For teachers with students on Chromebooks here is a great tip. If they click alt and the [ keys at the same time, it will allow them to split the screens into two tabs with no extensions needed. So, they could be on the meet and see their work at the same time. You can exit the mode by clicking on the X at the top right or by clicking and holding the square icon to resume full windows. If you want to rearrange tabs while in split screen mode, it is easy to drag and drop from one side to the other, or to add tabs by clicking on the + icon in each window. This tip is thanks to Bitmoji Classroom.
- This tip is courtesy of Diane Stinebaugh who found it on YouTube. “I know students aren’t watching all of my videos online. So this week when I made a video for drawing I, I had special directions at the end. Type “taco” in the Google Classroom comments. The lesson also says to listen to the whole video for complete directions. Now I sit and giggle as I see taco, taco, taco pop up in Google Classroom.”
- Sarah Justice shared this hack learned when she was student teaching. Use an X-Acto knife to cut a line through a roll of paper towels to get a perfect stack of individual sheets. This concept has other applications like tape, plaster gauze, etc.
- Old teacher brush cleaning hack now. Soak brushes in liquid fabric softener works beautifully on brushes ruined by acrylic paint. Murphy’s oil soap works too.
- Kimberly Piro learned that using tar paper (the paper that goes under shingles on your roof) makes a good mat for clay. They are bought in a large roll and can be cut with scissors to whatever size you need. She says, “I also invested in 3-gallon buckets for my clay students to keep their supplies and projects in. If they want/need to take stuff to work on at home they just need their bucket and mat.”
- Pizza Boxes are versatile for uses in the art room. Need a container for art supplies to go home for remote learning? Need easels? Or just ways to store student work? Head over to your friendly pizza store and see if they would make a donation or buy them here.