Do you struggle with managing painting projects, no matter what your teaching situation is? Every teacher has their own unique tricks up their sleeves when it comes to managing painting projects in the art room…or cart.
It took a few years before I had the courage to teach acrylic paint to my 5th grade students. I started off teaching acrylics to my after school art students (5th and 6th grade), and created a method for handling the materials. In my Arts & Activities article, "Responsibility with Painting," I give a few steps to help prepare for painting projects. These are things I learned the hard way
1. Send a note home to parents informing them about the materials and how to properly wash it out of clothes.
2. Tell the students about the paint in advance as well. You will be amazed with how quickly a student can turn and blame another if they get one red paint dot on their brand new white sparkly hoodie.
3. Keep a stash of aprons handy. Many kindergarten students in my schools have their own art shirts, but if you feel they need additional coverage from the paint, aprons help!
3. Collect a ton of newspaper. This will save you a clean-up headache at the end of the class. Some teachers use tablecloths, but with traveling, newspapers were much easier.
4. Use disposable paper plates for your palette. This will save you so much extra time with clean up, and it's much easier to set-up and clean when teaching from a cart.
5. Choose your paint wisely. Some paints have a good viscosity and can pour smoothly, but others are thicker which causes disruption when you’re trying to shake that paint out of the bottle.
6. Control the paint yourself. If you let students squeeze paint out of the bottles, they will pour too much, which will waste the paint (since you can't really put it back in the bottle)!
6. Organize your clean-up techniques. If you have a table set-up in your class, you can choose one table of students each week to collect water, brushes, and newspaper, as well as washing of the brushes (one table of students is better than an entire class getting up and cleaning). If you’re on a cart, choose 5 students every week to do the clean-up duties, and make sure you mark it so you don’t repeat students or leave anyone out!