Judy Decker can tell you...I was in your shoes 4 years ago! I have come a
long way with the help of art-list buddies and Judy especially. She was my
"angel".The following methods have worked well for us.
TOOLS- High school kids like to get their own supplies. I keep all the tools
on a cart in old ceramic pots. Needle tools (points down) in one, loop tools
in another, etc. You get the idea. We also have peg board cut into small
squares (8-10") to carry the clay to the drying rack or from the wheel or to
WORK SURFACE- We once covered the whole class tables with unprimed canvas
stapled around on the underside. We decided to try boards covered in the canvas
(about 16"x20") and we like this better. At clean up, we have the kids
scrape the excess build-up of clay using a metal ruler into a barrel that is
outside the classroom door. Next they damp-sponge the canvas to remove more clay
form the boards. We do not put them under the faucet! This keeps dust down.
They stack the cleaned boards face down or up depending on the wood warp.
Reversing it each time keeps the board flat.
CLAY STORAGE- We assign a shelf to each student. We buy Jumbo zip-lock bags
for work under construction, student's name on it on masking tape. Some
people use plastic boxes. We do not have a damp storage locker as the room is
small. We have the kids tear a small piece of paper toweling and dampen it sli
ghtly and they put this in the corner of the bag to add more humidity until they
are in class again. Wrapping in supermarket bags works for the bigger
WORK IN PROGRESS -We have small cups, the kind used in deli places (2 oz)
for water. This way they don't use too much to soak the clay! The water is for
smoothing surfaces. Another cup is for slip.So, each student has their own
supplies and this keeps traffic down.
GLAZES- I have large jars of glazes and don't want the kids using those
directly in case they contaminate it with another glaze on their brush. I pour a
small quantity into baby food jars that were well-washed in the dishwasher.
I label them with the color name and color number. I keep a laminated chart
of all the glazes in each glaze cabinet that shows the fired color as well as
toxicity or safety for food service. I also made tiles of each glaze and put
similar glazes together by stringing them, .i.e.crystals on one string,
crackles on another, LG glazes etc. You will most likely buy glaze in large
buckets for your classes which allows you to dip pots. We do not have that option.
CLEAN-UP -At the end of class (allow time for clean up) students clean their
boards, wash their tools, return them to the cart, wrap and store their work
on their labeled shelf, take turns washing the table. We do not sweep. We
leave that for the custodian who damp mops the floor daily. I damp wipe the
counters and other surfaces at the end of each day. Our goal is to keep clay
dust down as much as possible.
I don't want to make this too long and I am sure there are many teachers on
the list that have a better class management than I. I'd love to hear what
they do, too.