SchoolArts Room

More Comments on Managing Large Classes

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Jan 26, 2011

Another Email about Large Classes




Dear Nancy,
This is in response to larger class size and managing the room. I teach grade 6-8, my classes have increased slightly with some classes with as much as 28 students, many with special needs. I have a large room so students can move around, but I have one teeny tiny sink. For hand washing it is after cleanup and students wait in line. For clean up for painting or printmaking.....hand washing is last! Printmaking is the worst. Lots of brayers and trays. I have students share colors and there is always someone who is quick and efficient at cleaning.
For painting I use palette paper if I can and have students write their name on it and reuse it. Tempera peels off and if they like the mixed colors they can add water and reuse. If I use plastic palettes there is never enough time to wash them and it takes too long and I found myself cleaning palettes. Now I use disposable cups with lids 
and fill them with paint that everyone shares and students mix colors on the palette paper.
I have students do different jobs at the tables so that not everyone is at the sink at the same time. Students at each table work out who does what. Someone puts the art on the drying rack, someone puts away the folders, someone washes the brushes, someone washes the tables, and everyone puts the supplies away. It does require coordination and planning, but we are teachers and masters at that. When done regularly it becomes routine and I don't have to cut down art time for clean up, students know what to do. I never clean up for the students. They are more careful about what they do when they know they must do the cleaning. I need my prep time for getting ready, not for cleaning.
At the elementary level it requires telling which students to do what or having a list with every student on it and thier job. When I did my graduate work I had a co-op teacher who was a master at organization. Thank you Julie. She taught me well. Each table and each person has a job. It requires a lot of planning in the beginning but definitely worth it. Students who go to the sink to clean brushes or dump water, wash their hands after they finish their 
job. The rest are called up 2 or 3 at a time and she would time them. Next. ....They get used to the routine quickly and know what is expected of them.
Rose Flanagan