Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Clay Roundup

I like to save clay for the last project of the year- we only do it once a year so students are excited and engaged, despite the approaching end of the school year. This year, however, clay projects were completed closer to spring break since I didn't know if baby #2 would let me finish the school year. (He was actually 3 days late but I ended up taking off a week early for my sanity.) I want to just post a quick rundown of each of my K-3rd grade clay lessons. 
*Click on the links next to the grade level headings to see a longer post with more information from a previous year.

3rd grade- The Pot That Juan Built

Students learn about Juan Quezada through this awesome book then make slab and coil pots. As long as they learn and use the techniques, they can make whatever they want. This year I didn't limit any color choices. The main body of the air dry clay projects were painted with tempera cakes and I gave black liquid tempera for details.

 2nd grade- Transportation

Last year I planned "transportation" as the theme for the 2nd grade lesson because it ties into their social studies curriculum. The students really enjoyed it so we tried it again this year. I demonstrated using pinch pots, coils, and attachments to make a few basic forms and the students made anything fitting the theme.
Wish I had noticed I messed up the photo. I loved the rider on this horse.

 1st Grade- Pinch Pot Creatures

One year the students made pinch pot turtles, then I added ladybugs, then I figured as long as they showed they learned how to make a pinch pot and attach things, the subject didn't really matter. Most students stuck to the animals I demonstrated- turtle, ladybug, fish- but some branched out and tried different ideas. There was even a beaver but I didn't get a photo of it. I know that the first time I saw the turtle idea, I was on Deep Space Sparkle but I've seen the other creatures too many different places to site an inspiration source.

 Kindergarten- Knee Bowls, Choice, Adapted Ball Bowl

Most of my Kindergarten students made knee bowls- a slab of clay formed into a bowl by pressing over their covered knee. The students used tools to make designs and/or textures in the surface then painted in the next class period. This year I had several students who had made knee bowls with me in PreK and already knew the process and skills. Some of the students chose to try out the "adapted" ball bowl project I picked up at a workshop, and some made whatever they chose out of clay.
 Several Kindergarten girls sitting together made snowpeople family portrait sculptures. Below is one of my favorites, a self portrait riding a horse.
Next year if we get a district-wide agreement on what skills need to be mastered in clay at each grade level, I'm thinking about free choice as long as they demonstrate the skill.

Check out the related post, Loving Lumpy Pots!


  1. Wow They're are really Nice! :D

  2. To anonymous- I'm sorry you think my student's work is "not great". I, however, was really pleased considering they only get to experience clay once a year. Are they the most polished pieces ever? No. But they have one class period to try to grasp the new technique and make something. They are responsible for making choices and not doing step by step exactly the same thing. Do primary kids always make pottery the way I would make it? No! But I'm not a kid. Exploring the medium, experimenting with techniques, and developing ideas are more important to me than students making work that you consider "great".

  3. Those look awesome! Did you use air dry clay?

    1. Yes, we don't have a kiln so always use air dry clay. I can't remember the brand but the box says "air dry modeling clay". It feels just like "regular" clay.