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Re: [teacherartexchange] clay cleanup

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From: Maggie White (mwhite139_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Aug 09 2008 - 09:38:22 PDT


I taught ceramics every semester in the 3D classes, and also used a
poster charting cleanup. For some reason, it worked very well and there
were few students who tried to get away with not doing their part
correctly. My chart consisted of the chore to be done, plus a brief
description (i.e., TOOLS--collect all the tools and clean all the clay
off. Place in the can by the sink.). Each chore had two paper clips
after it where I would place student names. These were printed on index
cards, put in alphabetical order, and then inserted into the clips after
attendance and the students had gotten to work. Most chores had two
people. I think the fact that everyone knew we were going in
alphabetical order, that they would have a chore just once or maybe
twice a week, and with a partner, made them pitch in better. If someone
tried to get away with not doing the job right, they had to do it again
the next day. Since I knew--and they knew I knew--who was responsible
for each chore, if it wasn't done right those particular students
couldn't leave 'til it was done. And I wouldn't write them a late pass
unless they were legitimately held up by someone else (they did have to
be mindful of doing chores in logical sequence; in other words, don't
clean the floor 'til the counters are done, or the floor will get dirty
again.)

One thing is: don't assume they know how to clean. You have to show
them. What does a clean counter look like? Do they actually know where
the tools should go? If they can clean them and drop them into a can or
bucket by the sink, it's no big deal for you to move it back to the clay
area afterwards. Here's how you clean the counters: scrape off the
stuck-on blobs and throw them in the recycle bin, while your partner
follows behind with a really wet rag FOLDED, not bunched up; folding
gives you a lot of clean surface area.

I didn't insist on spotlessness since clay was confined to one area. If
they wanted to work at a classroom table, they were responsible for
really cleaning it for following classes so there was no dried residue.
This requires a clean rag, not one used in another area. Go to Costco
or somewhere and buy a big bag of shop towels. They last a long time,
and you'll always have clean ones. I cleaned them in the machines in
the athletic dept.

As for mixing clay...well, if they need some clay, someone has to work
with it, and it ain't gonna be me! Oftentimes if someone had to wait
for something to dry, I could send him outside with a hammer to break up
clods, then dump some water in the bucket. I would watch it and pour
off the excess when it seemed saturated enough. Then, if someone needed
clay, they would glop some on the plaster wedging blocks and let it set
a while before wedging. Yeah, boring job, but tough, kiddos. Deal with
it. They could store their newly-wedged clay in their classroom locker
so no one else could steal it.

Hope this helps.

Maggie
Maggie

Terry Marney wrote:
> Hi all. I've been teaching art at the high school level for a few years now and am looking for ideas for my clay class. It's an introductory level class. I'm looking for suggestions on how to get students to pitch in and be responsible for clay cleanup. We have a recycled clay bin, which nobody ever wants to mix. Nobody ever wants to load the plaster trough with wet recycled clay. Clay tools are haphazardly cleaned and left wherever. How do others make kids accountable for those types of jobs without constantly nagging? I've tried making a poster to keep track of who does what. I've told them that studio maintenance is worth 25% of their grade. They just don't take it seriously and then are shocked when their grades aren't great. Any suggestions? I'd love to look at any rubrics or other ideas!Terry
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