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Re: Clean-up routine


From: Curt James (curt_james_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jul 15 2001 - 08:07:32 PDT

Denise Tanaka, writing from
sunny Pasadena, said:

<copy of her message>

hello to all!

I'm going into my 4th year of
teaching art and STILL
have not found a
clean-up procedure that
works least one
period out of 5 will end
of staying after the bell
(making them tardy for their
next class) because

A. students have left brushes,
etc. in the sink

B. paint isn't cleaned up

C. tools are left on counters
where they shouldn't be

D. I could go on and on!

So...I keep them in until someone
cleans up, usually the kids who
didn'tmake the mess and the others
out there are just watching and
complaining that we're never
dismissed on time.

Any suggestions for a fool proof
clean-up procedure?

(if there is such a thing!)

Thanks for the help!

</copy of her message>

Hello Denise!

(Note: I always assumed a comma
would go after Hello above, but
an English teacher told me that
that is not so. Is that true?)

I had a major hissy-fit with
my coordinating or mentor teacher
during student teaching in that
I did not appreciate cleaning up
after _her_ messy kids.

Of course, after completing
my recent long-term sub position
as middle school art teacher
I realize how much she had on
the ball. Her philosophy was a
matter-of-fact, "Eh, they'll never
do it."

On the one hand, management techniques
can give you the upper hand. Start
clean-up earlier, dismiss based on who
has their area in tip-top shape,
enforce a _team_ concept of clean-up
to avoid the, "I didn't do it. It's not
*my* mess!" rebuttal, number tools
or paint kits to aid in knowing (unless
you catch them red-handed, of course,
you'll never know for certain who
made the mess, imo) who is responsible
for each mess, etc.

On the other hand this can turn into
a Control Freak Fiasco.

I journeyed from one end of the spectrum
to the other on this subject during
my January to June 2001 stint as art

It became a battle I didn't want to fight.

I was pleased, however, by the number of
students who would come to the art room
to help or to offer assistance.

They're kids. Even the senior high
students are babies, in my opinion. And I
don't mean that in a pejorative sense.

They want to "do their art." They're not
concerned with clean-up. They want to use
every second to _produce_! They're artists
not janitors! (Although I told my students
that the custodial staff's responsibility
is to clean up after a normal day's trash
and not fix deliberate acts of laziness
or vandalism.

So, to answer your question, "What's a
clean-up procedure that works well?" I'd
just like to say that I totally empathize
and agree with your A., B., C.,
and D. comments.

One day I'd be ticked (inside) and calmly
tell them to clean up (with 20 or 25 minutes
left in the period (of an 80-min. pd.)
and then have them talk quietly if they'd
done a good job and finished early.

The next day I'd be happy (okay, it
didn't alternate happy-ticked-happy-ticked,
but my mood certainly played a factor
in my classroom management, unfortunately)
and allow the students to work the the
last second and then do the clean-up during
my prep period (again, often with the help
of student volunteers).

Yes, I realize my consistency is out
the door, but it worked for me.
My sanity is intact (I believe,
but some would argue that point).

It can be a major stress-inducing factor
in your life if you aren't satisfied with
this area. Clean-up is stinky. :-)
But I'm sure that you can find a positive
outcome to this problem. I hope my (some would
call) babbling helps.

Curt, Art K-12 in PA
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