Hi! I know you already got a lot of great tips on working in clay with
your students...admitedly, I am not that experienced in clay, but I figured I
could share my quick clean up tips. :) I teach elementary, and I have
enrollment between 20 - 30 kids in my classes. (I think my 30 second graders
probably behave just like your 30 middle-school kids anyway.)
Sometimes, when I am doing a project where I will need to give my
students individual attention, I split the class in half. What about assigning an
independent design or drawing project for half the class, while you work with
the other half in clay, and then switch? It will obviously take double the
time, but I think it makes it a bit more manageable for you in terms of cleanup
and the sink, etc, while improving the quality of the clay work.
To eliminate the tablewashing... I have a huge roll of heavy duty
glueless wallpaper. I rolled out pieces big enough to cover my tables completely.
When it's time to clean up, we clear the tables and I just fold up the
wallpaper. Presto! Clean table. :) You probably could get could get another
type of material, canvas perhaps...although that might be expensive. I use the
wallpaper to cover my tables when we do paper mache also. I just open them up
and leave them out to dry overnight.
Hope this helps. :) Breanne Soviero, K-5 Long Island
PS - Where are you in Hawaii? Students in my school are pen pals with
students from Milliani Middle School on Oahu. I just visited Hawaii in February.