Art Lesson Planning- Four Ways To Start Next Year Now


1. School Supply Lists

Typically, at the schools I’ve worked at in the past, each grade level team puts together a nice little list that communicates to the parents what their student will need when they move up to that grade level the next year. These are sometimes called Summer Supply Lists.

Sometimes, if you ask early enough, those teachers might be willing to throw an extra box of crayons or pencils on this list so that students can provide their basic art supplies in your classroom.

Another tip: At the end of the school year, teachers are trying to clean out and pack up their classrooms in preparation for the next school year. Many still usable supplies are at risk of being thrown out as the purge happens!

Some things I’ve gotten in the past from grade level teachers are:
-extra used pencils
-boxes of used crayons
-tissue boxes, paper towels and baby wipes from their surplus supply (they don’t want to store them anymore, or they’ve run out of space!)

Some things I’ve requested in the past:
-extra used markers
-used colored pencils
-extra looseleaf
-soft pack baby wipes (they might dry up over the summer, so you might want to use them for cleaning and wiping your supplies, equipment and storage)
-used folders (thick paper used for tracing templates or even canvas)

2. Student Surveys

Every year, my students seem to have an opinion about what I haven’t let them use enough of, or what they would rather learn. Many of these ideas are easily integrated into my existing curriculum… either as the subject of a drawing, painting, etc… or as a material we can work with IF there’s enough time to incorporate it into my lessons, supply budget and workable storage space.

Enter Student Surveys! I hand out a questionnaire that asks them what they liked, didn’t like, what they found difficult, what they found enjoyable and what they look forward to seeing more of next year. This is the number one tool I use to evolve my lessons- prioritizing the highly desired materials on my Supply Budget list for the next year.

I’ve learned some, um, interesting things about myself, this way too!
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*BONUS* This gives me a go-to response for deferring student complaints so that it doesn’t take up class time- “Hmmm… I’d love to know more about your thoughts on that… so make sure you include it when you fill out your Student Survey at the end of the year!” 🙂

3. Link Budget to Lessons

Speaking of Supply Budgets, I like to work up the next year’s lessons before I prep my Supply Budget. First, I make a rough outline of next year’s curriculum on a long term planning sheet. I use sketches, diagrams and notes to help me remember what changes I’d decided upon. I use this as a reminder to order certain supplies and reserve them throughout the year for corresponding lessons.

4. Take Stock

I always take an inventory of close-to-being-used-up supplies before I prep my Supply Budget.

Usually, I have a few students come in and help me:

  • sort out and separate the working markers from the tired old markers
  • retire too short colored pencils and crayons
  • peel the too short crayons to someday use for texture rubbings or encaustics

Lately, I know off-hand what I’m short on, but this has only come with time and experience in the same school with similar projects from year to year.

In the beginning, when starting out, I needed to take inventory on:

  • replacing certain paint colors
  • replacing certain crayon, pastel or marker colors (BTW: It’s interesting to note that we always seem to run out of white crayons, black pastels and red markers!)
  • stocking up on certain color construction paper (We’re always short on black and our school colors. Also, I have my color and brand preference for use with certain projects!)
  • watercolor and sulfite drawing paper

There’s much more, but these are the staples of many art classrooms. Also, this gives me a good idea of what I have the most of, so I can start off the year on a project knowing I have all the supplies available for it.

 “What Do I DO!? My Supply Order Isn’t In Yet!


5. And last, but not least… enjoy your SUMMER!

When I know I’ve taken care of all this throughout the last few weeks of school, I am better able to relax throughout the summer and not constantly worry about the upcoming school year.

I wish that for you, too!

Here’s a free printable checklist with ways to begin planning lessons and budgeting for next year’s supplies!


So, what’s on your mind for your summer bucket list? 🙂 Share on social!