Friday, August 17, 2012

Art Table Helpers

You've read here before how I prefer to appoint one person as a helper for each of my table groups. My room is s-m-a-l-l so I don't want everyone and their dog wandering around during clean-up time. I have found that most behavior issues arise during transition times so I prefer to have most kids in their seats while giving helpers specific directions on how to clean up in a timely way.

Anywho...there are always a few who take it on themselves to 'help' the helpers so I was inspired this summer to identify those who should be out of their seats and those who should not. I was shopping at my fave, Treasures 4 Teachers and found blue, printed lanyards in the stuff-a-bag-for-$5 section that seemed just the ticket!

So I tried them out our first week back & the kids felt really special wearing them but...the lanyards didn't 'look right' to me. The curse we carry with us - for something to earn a place in our rooms, 'it' has to 'look right' - right?!

So, I tried sewing a 'sleeve' of patterned fabric over the printed lanyard which was more artsy looking. But it was too time-consuming and my sons (ages 19,23 & 26) said they were too 'girly'.

So then I crocheted a rainbow of cotton yarn over the blue fabric but again was told by my boys that NO boys would ever want to wear them so back to the drawing board!

By now I was thinking of making/sewing my own lanyard with ribbon and keychain rings. Fortunately, I was able to find a rainbow (color wheel) grosgrain ribbon at JoAnn's fabric store.

The tags needed to be able to withstand constant pulling, licking, chewing, etc. so I cut up some of my valuable plastic trays.

I cut the table numbers out of scraps of wallpaper or magazine pages and used book binding tape to secure it all together. The 3-hole power punch in the office was used to punch a hole in the top.

I installed a row of hooks on the side of a cabinet to hold all the lanyards when not in use.

After a week of classes, I can say that it is a rousing success on many levels. The kids take pride that they have something the others do not. The students can easily identify who their helper is that day. I can easily identify who's missing when I'm giving clean-up directions as well as who's wandering when they shouldn't be...

But I still may tweek them a little, I'm thinking about making the numbers more brightly colored - they don't seem quite 'right' yet...


  1. These look great. Wow, they seem so simple until I read about the past attempts. have you thought about sewing vinyl around the number cards instead of raiding your tray stash? JoAnn's sells 3 different thicknesses in their upholstery section.

  2. Oh I have yet another version to try! I'll update my post w/the previous tries when I get back to school to snap a pix so you can see the progression of my thought process. I think I'll need to invest in some anti-bac or bleach wipes to wipe 'em down at the end of every day because it appears I have a lot of kiddos with an oral fixation...

  3. These look great! Way to go! As the first post said you can use soft vinyl to make your number pockets. Last year I made one for my ID at school and it was super easy. You can get the vinyl at JoAnne's Fabric. I used the vinyl case my daughter's bed comforter came in. I save everything that I think might have a future use! :)

  4. Good idea - I have some of those vinyl bags stashed away. There must be something genetic in an Art teacher's DNA that prevents us from throwing away perfectly good materials just because we don't have a use for it today...
    Enjoyed visiting your blog - I'll be sure to add it to my blog roll & hoping you'll reciprocate...

  5. We are a bunch of pack rat's! I am putting you on my blog roll also! Thanks! :)

  6. thanks - Life kinda caught up with me there for awhile but it's nice to be back in the saddle again!

  7. Awesome idea! I might try this in my own classroom. :)


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