I've fazed out the time consuming smock proceedure. Not only did it take a
lot of extra time to put them on and help tie or button them up, the
students actually seemed to get messed up more with them on, as did the
room! I found the students were much more careless when they were wearing
Part of the problem is when the huge Dad sized sleeves drag through the
paint, but the other part is that I think when the students don a smock,
they feel totally impervious to any mess. Now I ask them to put on smocks
only for really messy projects, and in those instances I've begun cutting
the oversized sleeves back with scissors, since it isn't likely Dad will
want to wear these shirts again anyway.
Another trick is to have them stand up. This puts the mess an arms lenth
away rather than at their torso, although it also encourages moving about
I sent a note home at the beginning of the year, stating that on art days,
the students should "dress for a mess," and not wear their best clothes.
Also in this note was a laundering tip that works for most of the messes
the students will likely encounter in art. I suggested gently scrubbing
with a spray-on prewash detergent before washing. I've found this usually
works to remove spills of waterbased materials, as long as the student
doesn't set the stain first by wiping and wiping it in with wet paper
towels at the sink.
I wear ironed pants with a button shirt and tie at school, and I very
rarely get messed up. I have an apron behind my closet door, but working
from a cart I can't get to my closet except first and last thing of the day
and at lunch time. So I just never wear it. But I've had lots of practice
with keeping clean in potentially dirty environments from my past careers
as chimney sweep, fish wharf laborer, waiter, cook, and house painter.
These keeping neat skills are serving me well.
I understand the need to keep clothing damage to a minimum. I know how much
clothes cost-I have four kids between the ages of 11 and 15. But I think
along with the need to plan ahead, teachers AND PARENTS need to try to
teach kids how to work without getting overly messed up. Smocks should be
only for really messy projects-for example an abstract expressionist
project when the art reference is Jackson Pollack.
1-8 art on the cart
Lee H. Kellogg School
Fals Village, CT 06031
At 9:16 PM 5/1/97, Chaney wrote:
>Anyone ever notice that when elementary students have a paint shirt on,
>they tend to be even more messy?
>I feel like I am always explaining how to wear paint shirts properly.
>Students do not realize, until it is too late, that paint can soalk
>through the smock!!! They wipe their hands on their shirts and are very
>When they do not have a paint smock on they seem to have fewer spills
>and stains on clothes.
>Anyone else notice this???