Battling germs in the art room

I have a group of students who are currently observing in K-12 art classrooms. I recently posted this on our classroom blog.

The semester is only going to get busier and you are going to have to make an intentional effort to keep yourself healthy. Think about putting a few routines in place to ensure you make it through the semester healthy and energized. Here are some things that worked for me:

Wash your hands at the end of every class period.
At the end of almost every art class, students crowd around the sink to wash brushes, hands, or grab sponges to wipe down tables. Unless you have an entire class of perfect angels, I bet you make your way to that sink to check on the clean-up activities and to tidy up supplies. While you are there, wash your hands. Or, as you send a group of students out the door, wash your hands as the other students are coming in. Think about how doctors wash their hands when they come in the exam room. Same idea.

Keep supplies clean.
You know all of the recycled butter and yogurt containers you use as water containers for your watercolor projects? When is the last time you ran them through the dishwasher? And those smocks that students wear during messy projects? How often do those get thrown in the washing machine? Make friends with your custodial staff and home economic teachers, who both have access to dishwashers and laundry facilities. Ask them to support your efforts to keep your supplies clean and sanitized.

I once watched a student attempt to find the perfect color in a bin full of mismatched crayons. While he was deliberating, he sneezed right into the tub, wiped his nose with his hands, and kept digging. Complete germ nightmare!

Get enough sleep.
When you are completing your internships and student teaching, time is precious. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. You are probably getting up earlier than you have in a long time. Plan ahead so that you don’t have stay up late writing lesson plans and making teaching exemplars. Your body needs sleep to fight germs. And oh, there will be germs.

If you’re interested in other tips for keeping you and your art room healthy, here are some additional resources you might want to check out:

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