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  • Meredith Blackerby

Labeling My Life Away

Raise your hand if you love SETUP?? I find that I get really excited about setting up my classroom....until I see how much work there is to do. Something that I thought I was ready for when I started choice-art was the setup, but oh boy wasn't I. I am already not the most organized person in the world (*insert sarcastic laughter from my husband).

Choice-art requires a lot of organization on the teacher's end of the process. The students are being trusted to take out, use, and put away all of their own materials. And unless you want a completely chaotic, disaster of a classroom, you need to use defensive organization to keep everything in check. That means LABELS ON LABELS ON LABELS. I literally label everything in my classroom all the way from materials to the sink. I label to the point where you can't look two feet any direction without seeing words taped to something. I know this sounds like it would be overwhelming, but it helps the kids out a lot. If you have younger kiddos, like I do, it's also smart to include pictures. I put a matching label on every container and space on the shelves. That way, if the students remove a bin, they know exactly where it needs to go when they put it back (kind of like a matching game!). When you have this type of (annoying) over-organization, it helps the kids stayed organized, helps class time run more smoothly, and helps you from losing your mind in a mess of art supplies.

I have found that, even though bins with lids look better, lids are just one more thing that likes to get lost underneath a table or jammed behind a shelf. Open-air containers make for easy grab-and-go use!

For some Studios, I use drawers to organize supplies. Not only does this make it easy to sort materials, but it takes up very little square footage (which I need in my little, bitty classroom).

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