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To Dump or Not To Dump... That is the question

Hello fellow art teachers and followers,
   I have a question... When painting do you let your students "dump" their water when it gets too dirty? Or do you have them keep the same water all through class?

I hate having dirty water when I paint so I wanted my kids to be able to have clean water for as long as possible. My first year teaching we used these cups that would only hold about 1 1/2 cups of water. Students were having to go to the sink constantly. Especially when we used liquid tempera or acrylic. 
Now, I use huge buckets of water for painting. They are used dog treat buckets which hold about a quart of water (we fill them halfway). The buckets never tip over because of their size, they are still easy for kids to pick up, and they may have to be refilled once during a lesson. I used to ask kids to raise their hand for me to check if the water was too dirty and tell them to "dump" or not. That became too much. So now I tell the kids to dump their own water when it turns to mud and they can no longer see their brush when pressed against the inside of the bucket. 
This water needs changing! 
So, my fellow teachers, what do you use as water containers and when do you "dump"?

11 comments:

Angie said...

I like the idea of the larger container, so no need to dump as often. I put my water containers into my organizing caddy, so that it doesn't get knocked over as easily, Honestly, I let the kids decide when it needs to be dumped for the most part. I got picky at my first school, because I didn't have a sink. I used a large water cooler, but didn't have time to refill it between classes. It had to last through 3-4.

kszwahl said...

Honestly with only 30 classes we hardly have time to get the water dirty. But no I don't usually have them dump. I try to have them wipe off their brush before changing colors and swishing in the water. Doesn't happen all the time but some kids are great at remembering.

Art at Chesterbrook Academy Elementary School said...

When we work with water colors we usually use our medium size plastic water cups until the end of the project.
But if we work with tempera or acrylics I usually helped them with changing the water.

Phyl said...

I usually let the kids dump, but we make it last with out "wipe, wash, wipe" system that we use especially with tempera and acrylic. The brush gets wiped on newspaper or on sponges that exist for that purpose only, so there is not much paint on the brush when it is washed. And by wiping it again afterward, the paint colors stay much cleaner as well. We still wipe with watercolors but are much gentler on softer watercolor brushes.

The kids learn this in kindergarten and it becomes such a habit that if I forget the sponges or newspapers, the kids ask for them. Yeah!

Phyl said...

Re: my "wild about art" bulletin boards, go ahead and steal anything you want, especially since I stole it from you first! :-)

Anyhow, this year I'm going with an "art is fantastic" theme and expect to incorporate lots of dragons and castles and fairy tales and outer space etc for the fantasy theme.

Art Project Girl said...

They just love to change their water don't the kids? I know it is always a hard thing because I don't want them to have dirty water but I don't want them to be out of their seat every 10 minutes. Most of our kids really need step by step instruction and then I need to reteach every lesson to remember not to scoop out TONS of paint or MIX their entire pallet. UGH . . . okay I have to enjoy my beverage now so I'm ready for all the same challenges next year. It seems like starting at square one every year!

artteachergirl said...

I teach K-2 art so I don't let them dump the water! HA! I have to reteach almost everything because of their age, but they are all pretty good with the wipe and wash technique I try to get them to practice. Our water lasts a good while. I place plastic buckets filled half way with water inside those large throw away tin pans...those used mostly at Thanksgiving for cooking turkeys. This works great for catching drips, and turn overs. I keep clean buckets of water ready. When I see the water is getting too muddy, I exchange muddy bucket for clean bucket. Having extra buckets in waiting and rotating them helps. Because I have from 28 to 34 in each class we have to shake, rattle, and roll when we paint. Painting is almost an Olympic even in my classroom.

Pat said...

I use 5 gallon kitty litter buckets to to solve the problem. I fiil one with clean water and put an empty one beside it. Each group can empty twice during a 45 minute class. I don't want the kids to have to paint with dirty water so I make it as easy as possible by limiting black paint.

Anonymous said...

Depending on the class I will place two big jugs in the middle of the table. One says "CLEAN" one says "DIRTY". Each pair of students then get a small cup, once it gets dirty they can dump it in the dirty bucket and get clean water from the clean bucket. Makes clean up easy as well. They dump all water/brushes in the dirty bucket, stack small cups..one student collects and one at sink to clean. Once everything is collected the other student helps the one at the sink.

Anonymous said...

I have found the big, blue coffee cans by Maxwell House work best in my room. The best part is that they have a handle! We only fill them about half to three-fourths full. We also use the wipe, wash, wipe technique. From a fellow Tennessee art teacher!

Becca Ruth said...

Thanks for all your input. I have decided that no one may dump until I give the signal. About halfway through. Worked well so far.

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