What’s better than a back-to-school sale? Why, some back-to-school resources, of course! Soften the end of your vacation and shift your frame of mind to a new school year with some ridiculously relevant AOEU downloads compiled just for you. It’s time to get back to making art!
As you gear up to return to your classroom, you probably have a million ideas and to-dos flying around in your head. Where do you start? Instead of diving in feet first, invest time in the specific areas of your art teacher practice you want to make exceptional.
Prepare to step into your best year yet! Think through how you can stand out in the eight areas below. Then, download the practical resources to get you well on your way.
Are you a new art teacher needing even more support as you enter the art room? AOEU’s First-Year Art Teacher’s Guide is the place to start. You’ve got this!
1. Design your space.
Your art room is where the magic happens, thanks to your carefully crafted, intentional mix of function and inspiration. To achieve the right balance, start by designating areas for instruction, supply distribution, storage, and studio work. Then, add your creative flair to bring the room alive with purposeful decor. Start by hanging this art room mantra poster to bring the power of positivity to your students!
Here are more resources on preparing your space:
- 27 Ways to Design an Inviting, Functional, and Flexible Art Room
- Establishing Creative Sanctuaries—5 Tips to Redecorate and Reorganize for Back to School
- 12 Terrific DIY Projects for Your Art Room to Get Started On Immediately
- 14 Outrageously Fun Must-Have Items Under $20 for the Art Teacher’s Desk
- Rethinking Art Room Space in PRO Learning
Learn the importance of your classroom space, how to create and alter your existing space on a budget, and how to establish daily routines.
2. Restock your shelves.
There’s nothing like a good shelf restock to get you excited about the year ahead! Think about the basics you need to replace, supplies you want to upgrade, and new mediums you want to try. Use the download below as a checklist to cover everything for your elementary, middle, or high school art room. If your budget doesn’t match your dreams, get creative with fundraising.
Here are more resources on restocking your shelves:
- 20 High-Quality Art Supply Basics to Help You Budget for Next Year
- The Benefits of Including Skin Tone Art Supplies in the Art Room
- 3 Simple Steps to Reassess and Reorganize Your Art Supplies
- 21 Fabulous Tips and Tricks to Match Your Art Room Organization Style
- Running the Art Room on a Minimal Budget in PRO Learning
Discover how to save money on supplies, keep them organized, and align mediums to your curriculum to provide innovative projects with minimal materials.
3. Plan your classroom management system.
When your art room runs like clockwork, there is optimal artmaking in a minimal amount of time. Reflect on last year. Then, use this worksheet to help you evaluate your classroom management for what works and what needs improvement. Make changes to the areas of your management system where you need to grow. Clear procedures and expectations go a long way in managing classroom behavior. Investing in building relationships with your artists is an even more powerful strategy!
Here are more resources on planning classroom management systems:
- Art Room Hacks: Quick Classroom Management Strategies (Ep. 8)
- Everything You Need to Know About Classroom Management in the Art Room
- 13 Classroom Management Games Your Students Will Want to Play
- 3 Love and Logic® Secrets to Manage Art Room Behaviors With Less Stress
- De-escalation Strategies for Challenging Behaviors in PRO Learning
This Pack provides actionable strategies from a licensed social worker to prevent crisis situations in the classroom and gives solutions for de-escalation when they do occur.
4. Update your approach.
The start of the school year is the perfect time to try something new in your classroom. Is there an art education philosophy you want to adopt or an instructional approach you want to try? Experiment with design thinking to bring STEAM to your art room or stay on the cutting edge of education by integrating AI. Now is your chance to turn self-reflection into action and pursue change in your art room.
Here are more resources on updating your teaching approach:
- Innovation Through Design (Ep. 264)
- Getting Creative with Tech (Ep. 347)
- What Should You Know About ChatGPT and the Art Room? (Ep. 358)
- More Ideas for ChatGPT and the Art Room (Ep. 359)
- Infusing Technology into Your Practice in PRO Learning
Walk through easy and fun entry-level strategies for incorporating Photoshop, Illustrator, and other platforms into your current classroom practice.
5. Curate your content.
Once you know your focus for the year, plan units and lessons to align with your goals. Sprinkle some new lessons among your tried-and-true classics for foolproof wins. Focusing on the art of particular artists, like the 144 below, brings art history alive. Experimenting with new artmaking techniques is another way to engage your students. Walk into the year with learning experiences your students will love!
Here are more resources on curating your content:
- Engaging Students with Art History (Ep. 356)
- Don’t Miss These 6 Contemporary Diverse Artists: Educating Through Art History
- 9 Tips to Integrate Artists With Disabilities and 7 Artists to Share
- Don’t Miss These 3 Fun Art Techniques and Mediums to Explore This Summer
- FLEX Curriculum
Get classroom-ready technique and medium worksheets, and handy artist bios to save you time and energy.
6. Revamp your assessments.
Assessment is more enjoyable when students can see their growth. Help them document the process so they can look back with pride. Engineer multiple opportunities for your students to see their progress by mixing formative assessments, like visual journaling and exit tickets, with summative assessments, such as portfolios and artist statements. Diversifying your approach allows you to give more timely and specific feedback. This simple customizable rubric is a great resource for any project.
Here are more resources on revamping your assessments:
- 6 Assessment Ideas for the Art Room (Ep. 363)
- 4 Myths of Assessment in the Visual Arts
- 5 Tips for Better Art Assessments
- Designing Effective Assessment Strategies in PRO Learning
Demystify the art assessment cycle and explore manageable ways to design and integrate authentic assessments into your classroom routine.
- FLEX Curriculum
Search for standards-aligned artist statement worksheets and assessment handouts to streamline your planning.
7. Increase your sensitivity.
Building an inclusive classroom to support as many of your artists as possible is essential. Select supports to help your reluctant learners face various challenges, from language barriers to mental processing struggles or unregulated emotions. Don’t underestimate the value of representation in literature and art to turn your classroom into a more psychologically safe and welcoming space. Intentionally pursuing inclusion empowers your students from the moment they walk in!
Here are more resources on fostering your sensitivity:
- The Importance of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion with NAEA’s Ray Yang (Ep. 292)
- What Do the 7 Principles of Universal Design Look Like in the Art Room?
- How to Support ELL Students to Thrive in the Art Room
- How Do We Help Student Artists With Cognitive Learning Barriers?
- Flexible Art Room Approaches Using Universal Design for Learning in PRO Learning
Uncover a range of options to engage with content, provide representation in learning, and more in this framework that meets the needs of all students.
8. Shift your mindset.
The start of a new year is filled with fresh potential. Lean into that energy and challenge yourself to shift to a leadership mindset. As an art teacher-leader, you can create the future. Transform from a follower into a leader and pursue advocacy areas you care about. Reflect on your energy levels often to keep you creating and leading strong all year!
Here are more resources on shifting your mindset:
- Exploring Ideas for Wellness (Ep. 342)
- How to Make a Personal Studio to Preserve Your Creative Energy
- Reduce Art Room Stress by Taking These 8 Things off Your Plate
- 6 Small Steps to Tap Into Art Teacher Leadership
- Curbing Art Teacher Burnout in PRO Learning
Study simple methods for curbing burnout and find daily strategies to manage heavy workloads so you can feel energized all year.
With these resources downloaded, printed, and in hand, you are already standing out! To make this year even better, AOEU will support you as you design an inclusive learning space, try out engaging lessons and assessments, and develop a leadership mindset. Follow us on social media for daily tips and tricks to keep you shining. Ready, set, go! Make this school year extraordinary!
Which download are you most excited to use?
What action will you take today to stand out tomorrow?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.