When you begin to teach a class set your stage beforehand. Having your elements and tools available allows the teacher to concentrate on teaching and not wondering if everyone has what they need. Crafting is much more pleasurable when you have everything you need at arms reach.
Allow yourself plenty of time to set up tables and chairs. Enlist children, they love to help.
Always put pencils in a container so they will not roll on the floor. Add erasers and sharpeners to have on hand. The same works well with markers and crayons and scissors. You may have several containers within reach, access is always such a blessing when crafting.
Space containers about 1 set for every 6 children, (3 sitting across from each other) so they are in easy reach. One container should contain 6 items, one for each child. When tools are scarce and you only have 1 implement for 2 or 3 children, it slows the crafting process. It’s not a bad thing that children have to share, but add that to your time frame and expect delays as some children are slower in fine motor skills than others.
Don’t forget baby wipes. They are invaluable with children and adults. Hand them out as needed except when the craft uses a baby wipe as part of the process or tool for the craft. Children like to take them out of the container and are prone to waste them.
Even if your craft is not messy and you do not anticipate any spillage, having baby wipes handy for children spitting or mucus or just water color markers on hands, arms and feet are fantastic.
When using water bring a plastic sheet for containment of the spilling and protection. An old shower curtain and Dollar Store tablecloths work well for this. Cover tables and work or walk surfaces well. Sometimes taping the plastic to the bottom of the table is helpful so they do not slide off.
Paper towels are better for wiping up spills than towels or washcloths. Towels and washcloths will need to be washed or rinsed out and also harbor germs and are unsanitary. Paper towels, although may be a little more expensive for the crafting process are sanitary and can be thrown away.
We recommend 1 adult to 6 children in the crafting area. This is not always possible, however enlist as many people as helpers as you can. The Jr. High and High School classes may be helpful but can also bring added stress to the teacher if they are not mature enough to be helpers instead of players in the classroom. Assign your helpers to a group as the children are listening, this way the children know who to go to for help.
If it is possible, set up a helpers meeting to put the craft together beforehand, the more prepared your leaders are the less confusion you will have in the classroom. It is also helpful to have an example for the helpers so they can see the construction and therefore be able to convey the steps to the children.
In my experience the above two paragraphs do not happen very often. We as teachers have a limited amount of time to prepare and the helpers we usually enlist are those who show up and are available. So giving an example for them to follow as you are teaching is about as good as you’re going to get.
After the day is finished, clean up is essential. Leave the room in better shape than you found it. Always vacuum or sweep floors, empty trash cans etc. The next teacher may not appreciate a mess to clean up before she can start his/ her lesson.