> I am having great concern around the misuse of acrylic paint in my middle
> school art class, notably the 8th grade students. <snip> I think I reached a point of
> saturation today when I had to spend my planning period cleaning the floor,
> cabinets, palettes, etc.
> The school I work in is suburban and the amount of waste and lack of
> ownership and care for the materials and the space is down right offensive.
"Lack of ownership" may be the key to your problem. Do the students use
the same brush/palette/painting knife each day? Or do they simply grab
the one they perceive as the best and cleanest and then toss it in the
sink at the end of the period for someone else to clean? If you can
devise a way for them to take ownership of their tools for the duration
of the unit you may find they will take much better care of them. This
works great in my room. If several classes use the tools each day, try
numbering them and assign a number to each student.
I stopped allowing free access to paint because of the waste. Now, I
give each student an imaginary budget with which to "buy" their tools
and paint. They can buy individual tubes, but in your case if you're
using large jugs maybe "charge" a certain amount per blob. The budget I
give them is not enough to buy every type of brush and every color of
paint; they have to make a lot of choices and often team up with a buddy
to each buy certain colors to share.
Good luck with this. And why are you cleaning up after them? Try
assigning clean up chores on a rotating basis--no negotiating, and no
one leaves 'til the room is clean.