Thursday, June 21, 2012

Adapted Clay Lesson

I'm getting ready to post about my new clay projects and thought I would share a project I picked up last fall at a workshop offered at KSDE called Adapting the Visual Arts for Special Needs Students.

The process is very simple:
1. Roll clay into balls
2. Line bowl* with plastic, line plastic with clay balls (one layer that fills in all the gaps)
3. Smooth seams between the balls
4. When smooth, let dry
5. Paint!

I used this lesson with several of my primary students this year. I have a lot of students who receive Occupational Therapy services for fine motor skills, visual motor skills, attention, etc. and a this year, a couple students with injuries that prevented them from competing the regular lesson (like a broken arm). I had always been hesitant to adapt lessons to the point that the students made a different product. I was afraid the students would get their feelings hurt because I didn't think they could do it, or that the other students would ask questions or embarrass them. I am really glad that I offered the adapted lesson. The students who had adaptations were just happy that they could be successful and the other students were supportive and encouraging.

*I forgot to take "real" bowls to school so I had my students use small foil bowls. Next year I will remember to take some ceramic bowls for a mold and it will work even better.

I've included a downloadable PDF visual for this project.
Adapted Clay Lesson


  1. I like this, Katie. I might try it with my preschool class too!

  2. Love this! What kind of clay did you use? Air dry? Bake? What kind of paint? Did you seal it after the paint dried? Thanks!

  3. Thanks! I always use air dry clay. We paint with tempera cakes. If we have time with our next clay projects, we will seal with mod podge or a brush on varnish. It makes it a little stronger.