January 26, 2014

Sorting your Scraps! Getting the most from your paper!

A few years ago my principal approached me and told me about a double sided shelf system with bins "YES I'll take it!" was out of my mouth before she could finish. I had added this type of shelving to my someday teacher wish list, admiring them from afar in art supply magazines. I mean it was is an art teachers dream. This handy little system has shallow bins, but I didn't have enough for both sides. No problem, I came up with a solution for the other side.

The bin side of this cabinet- students have access to these labeled supplies whenever they want.
I originally butted this end up against my paper cutter table, that way I could immediately take scraps and toss them into a box and have a clutter free paper cutter zone (does that really exist?).  I just used copy box tops and fancy post it note labels to organize. It was an efficient system except my students didn't have access to the scraps unless I pulled the boxes out.
An 'organized' paper bin syste

This year I moved the shelves so students have free access to both sides (scrap paper on one side, student art supplies on the other). 

This sorting system comes in handy when we are doing collage, cutting and have large scraps left over, or when you are trimming paper and have scrap paper that you simply can't throw away.
At the very end of the school year I do a recycled paper project with my 3rd graders that uses up the scrap paper.  I have a gorgeous patio space outside my art room and the students either make recycled paper or do sidewalk chalk drawing outside while they wait for their turn.
A view of the patio space from the room-I have two doors to get there.

Even if you don't have this shelving system, you  can make this recycling system work for you! I have seen several variations of this system, you can use a book shelf, bins, boxes, plastic drawers or sort the scraps in magazine holders if space is tight. I find that sorting the scraps by color helps them get re-used rather than having a bin holding all colors. A warm and cool color system would work too!  There are a few rules to the system that help maintain the scrap boxes from overflow and misuse.
1- Only flat scraps-students can't crinkle paper and put it in the boxes.
2- Only scraps that can be made into something else. Tiny stuff gets recycled.
3- Sort the scraps or we don't use the bins any more- that means no collage or scrap day*. 

*Scrap day is one of the most magical art room events. When I have catch up day and feel extra nice, the students who are done get scrap day. I get out all the scrap boxes, fancy scissors and glue and let them go to town. They make toys, outfits, cards, and the most amazing paper creations on scrap day and they are so involved in it that I can catch up my  students who are behind without interruptions.

How do you deal with scraps in your art room?

1 comment:

  1. scraps are so ANNOYING!!! I appreciate reusing but I've been recycling a lot. I just can't seem to find a way to store everything! I'm thinking of a warm cool assortment? You are lucky to have the shelf.


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