You might think that since I am an art teacher all I do is have the kids paint all day long. The truth is, painting is only done a couple of times a semester and not every day. (Along with glitter and clay, these are materials that we can only do for a couple of sessions before I need something clean with a simpler clean up)
It never fails, painting day starts out so promising. The kids are quiet the first moment that their brushes are dipped in the liquid goodness. They mix colors with enthusiasm and spread the paint around, enamored with the process of filling a white paper with lots of color.
The last 7 minutes of painting day are literally the worst.
No matter how many times I model the clean up procedure and go over the expectations, there is always a bit of frantic chaos.
Every paper needs to go into the drying rack, and every table needs to get wiped down.
Whether it is kindergarten or 5th grade (or any age in between), the excitement of walking around the room with a big, dripping wet painting and then clustering in groups at the sink changes the dynamic of the classroom from calm and structured to recess.
Students think that because I am distracted helping kids put papers in the drying rack, it frees them up to start a game of messy hand tag, or shoot paper towel wads into the trash can or just otherwise wander the room, instead of helping clean the tables.
A faithful few are on top of wiping everything down and refilling water buckets, but the majority of the kids are excited that they have a little unstructured few minutes to pass on a message to a crush or an enemy, leaving the rest of us to clean up the collateral damage.
Let's be honest, it is hard to watch 25 kids zoom around the room carrying buckets and trays of messy stuff and not cringe with fear. Also, let's be honest most of my classes are at least 26-33, so having a few extra kids only makes it more chaotic, not easier to supervise the whole thing all by myself. And I should mention, that I have this same nightmare on repeat 6 times each day.
This week, we started Lisa Frank inspired animal paintings. They are only 'loosely' Lisa Frank. I told the students that Lisa Frank is my favorite artist and always has been. I specifically told the boys that I knew this wasn't a very 'boy friendly' project but that I don't care because I have suffered through MANY football/sports team/boy friendly projects over the years and most likely if I told them they could NOT paint using bright colors and add rainbows, most of them would do it anyway just to spite me so here we are. Also, I have a VERY boy friendly project planned for the end of the year.
The first day of painting, I encouraged them to paint the outline of the drawing, which we projected from a small sketch using an overhead projector on 18X24 paper. These paintings are massive, so only 3 kids can sit at any given table. I've had to be creative, clipping pictures up to the wall, letting kids sit on the floor, just so we have room to work.
We found out the hard way that if they did NOT follow directions, by starting with the outline and painting at least some of the background, the paper was too lite to stay in the drying rack.
Scores of 18X24 pictures would just flutter right out of the wire shelves, because they weren't weighed down enough to stay in place. Paintings falling out of the only place I have for them to go, while I am supervising wet paint tag and lackluster enthusiasm for gleamingly clean tabletops made for a very stressful 3 classes this week.
I am very ready for spring break!!
This is my 'slice of life' blog.
My Art Teacher Blog:
This Little Class of Mine