1. I never spent an adequate amount of time clearly and explicitly teaching students what center time is about, why we were having it in art, and expectations and procedures for using each center.
2. I hadn't come up with centers complex enough to hold students attention while simultaneously being easy enough for them to understand and work at independently.
3. I didn't quite have the supplies I would have liked when I first began in my school to create centers.
4. I never had enough time really develop numbers 1-3!
This year 3 of my classes have double art periods every other week and so I see those 3 classes almost twice as much as my other classes (which I see on a 6 day cycle). so I decided to develop, teach, and experiment with centers in those classes. It's been working fabulously thus far. I explain to each of my 3 extra classes that they are my 'testers' and should use the centers and give me feedback on what they liked and what they think could use some improvement.
Here are the center ideas I've been using so far and the kids, in grades 3, 4, and 5, love them!
The materials for each of the centers is placed in a different colored basket. Each basket has a laminated instructions sheet with the title of the center, directions for using the materials, and the steps for clean-up. The directions/clean-up are very concise and clear containing no more that three bulleted sentences apiece. '
Sketch Center- 4 5"x7" sketchbooks, a package of 25 colored pencils, pencils, erasers, and 'How to Draw' books.
Clay Center- I have both Model Magic and Polymer clay in this center, although the polymer clay is very stiff and a bit hard for the students to manipulate. I recommend just using white Model Magic. The clay is put into a plastic container with a lid on the top to keep the clay fresh.
I Spy Station- I have a GREAT 'I Spy' go-fish card game that used pictures instead of regular playing cards. It's fantastic for ESL students to as it helps to reinforce some basic words, colors, etc.
Stencil Station- I have a set of plastic Picasso-esque face stencils. Students can trace the stencils and then embellish them with neon markers.