Several artroom blogs have listed their favorite products used this year so I thought I would list some new and some old favorites here...
The only type of tempera paint I use is Crayola Artista II Washable. Mainly because that's what our district stocks in the warehouse but also because I have good results. Creamy consistency, mixes well to achieve secondary and tertiary colors. The paint is purchased in pint sizes. The fluorescent paint is great too!
A few years ago, our district bought another brand of fluorescent paint - Omega - and it's just gathering dust on my shelves. Thin, runny paint. I used to do Amate bark paintings with 5th graders but this paint did not show up on the kraft paper we drew our composition on. Took 3 coats of color applied OVER a dried white tempera base to show the characteristic bright colors. Way too much time involved!
For years now I've used old tennis balls on the base of my stools and tables to cut down on the noise. This year, Staples donated some 'chair slippers' to one of my colleagues so I snapped some up! Supposedly, these are an improvement over tennis balls - we'll see - but I'll gladly take FREE!
My weaving needles worked great for our woven pouches - I even brought out the 5" size for those who were handling the smaller size safely. I keep them in this upside-down box with a hole for each needle so I can keep track of 'em after each class. Only 2 needles 'walked out' of my room this year after 6 weeks of classes and no injuries were reported...
About 4 years ago, a fellow teacher brought me some of these clear plastic trays that were a byproduct of his wife's job as a home health care nurse.
He asked if I could use them - Could I USE them? How did I ever get along without them? I use them to sort supplies (markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, etc.) into 8 sets ready to pull out of the cabinet and give to table groups. I also use them to setup any wet media prior to class - paint, clay, printmaking, etc.
I bought a set of these step stools from IKEA when I moved to my current school 8 years ago and IKEA opened a store here. They were only a few dollars each, very sturdy AND washable. My kinders can easily move & use them at the sinks to reach the faucets, soap and paper towels.
My favorite brushes are these from Royal Brush - Big Kids version with 3 sizes of rounds (green handles) and three sizes of flats (red handles). I've used these for 3+ years and they are holding up exceptionally well. It was an expensive purchase (I ordered 3 sets at approx $75 each) at the time but I was so frustrated with the Prang watercolor brushes stocked by our district - they were so floppy - barely ok w/watercolor but didn't hold up well with tempera. I have certainly gotten my money's worth!
I plan on ordering more this summer - just a dozen of each kind to replace the few that have gone to paint brush heaven...
And last but not least - book rings. As we all know, the key to a great art teacher is great organization. There is no commercially produced 'lesson plan' or 'seating chart' or 'class record' book that suits our crazy, creative ways. So like most of you (I suspect), I create my own every year to keep track of the 700 or so students that trek in and out of my room.
Book rings are sturdy enough to hold up to the daily necessities of recordkeeping and referring to standards/pacing guides that help keep the wheels turning. Next year, I'll upgrade to COLORED book rings I snagged a few months ago - that ought to jazz things up a bit!
What are some of your favorite things?
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