I am a big believer in letting the environment envelop you. I think if you set up the room right; it will do the teaching. So, I don't have anything in cupboards, or drawers or put away. It's all on display, in buckets and containers, and pots and vases, like an old curiosity shop. I love for the students to be able to see everything they'll be using, to be able to throw their hands into the bucket of buttons or pom-poms, feel the different fabrics and papers, and wonder, imagine and dream about how they will use and experiment with all of the different materials
Students always have a chance to explore and use new materials, discuss and talk about how or why or when they might use something. They can return to materials and use them in new ways, or simply dip their hand in and describe the feelings or emotions that come from experiencing different textures and colours. A unanimous comment has been "that it is impossible to have angry thoughts while massaging a giant box of pom-poms".
Big themed signs help students navigate the room and adapt to the routines, whilst artefacts and thematic elements help them connect with the current unit. As the year progresses, the room changes, giving examples of how to use materials, but also exemplars of the elements and principles of Art and Design.
The other essential element needed in setting up a room for a new year, is having a great team. The teachers I work with, both in the Arts, and in the classroom have been full of ideas, feedback and sparks of inspiration.
Have an amazing week :)