It has snowed non-stop here in central New York for 4 days of the week. We got 4 feet of snow in those days… all Lake effect but heavy at times. Two 2 hour delays and one snow day later, I am so behind in projects that I don’t know if I will ever catch up!!!
So, forgive me for not blogging regularly. I’m going to make a New Year’s resolution to try to keep up with the blog even if it’s a short lesson or blurb about what we are doing! I love to read other art teacher’s blogs and get ideas from other places so I hope that mine will become a regularly visited site to inspire and share with other art educators.
Now, I have a few in-progress projects to share. We are not done with them and I’m hoping that after the break, we will get to start new projects. I love that! New year, new projects! I’m frantically battling the weather, concert rehearsals, field trips, and illnesses to get things done!!!
In my kindergarten classes we are exploring TEXTURE and what better way than with clay! So, I coincide my ceramic texture project with a *gasp* holiday gift. It has been a long standing tradition in this school to have the art teacher provide the gift to go home in Kindergarten. I do not necessarily agree that this is the best thing for art educators to do but if it works into my curriculum then why fight it. I look like the good teacher and they are thrilled (teacher, students, and parents). So be it! We had explored texture rubbings in the previous weeks and then I gave them clay! Here are a few tips to make this process easier for you later…
1) Invest in bulk styrofoam plates! I had a ton of these and purchased a pack of 400 at a warehouse store (Sam’s Club) at a very inexpensive price. I reuse them for multiple grades. Each student gets a plate that has a color coded piece of masking tape (I have colored rolls that were in my storeroom) with their name on them. Red for Class #1, Green for Class #2, Yellow for class #3… get the idea. All kids have their name on the tape (written by me- otherwise I can’t read them). I am lucky enough to have a slab roller in my classroom that was a reject of the HS after they purchased their new one. I bought cables and legs for it with a grant. It now follows me to whatever school I happen to be in. I roll slabs about 1/2″ thick and cut them to fit on the plate. Stacked and covered with plastic the night before.
2) Now hand them out after a quick demonstration. I have aluminum bins full of texture making tools and materials. I have purchase texture rubbing plates, rolling pins with texture, stamps, and have donated items that work great… rug grippers, lace, doilies, buttons, shells, plastic creatures/ bugs, etc… I hand them out after the demo.
3) Use cookie cutters to get the best shapes. Kinders cannot cut clay evenly. This is their first clay experience. They need experience to know how hard to press or how hard NOT to press things in. SO, cookie cutters are cheap and reusable! I got mine at the dollar store!
4) Use letter stamps to put their names in one side. Seriously, this makes them look nice and I know who’s is who’s after they come out of the kiln… they won’t rub off and it’s readable! They can stamp their own name in too. I do it but if you are not as patient as me, let them do it. I got letter stamps at Michael’s and bought bullet cases at Dicks’ Sporting Goods to house them in. 6 tables = 6 cases with alphabets. I make sure that all the letters are put back before they leave! So far I have only lost one lower case “e”.
5) Stamp the year in the ornament. THis makes it a nice keepsake and they will remember that this was their art project from 2010~ As a parent, I love that!
6) This is a ONE class project… I make sure it is done in one class~ to fire and glaze in another class. BUt the MAKING part is ONE class!
Okay, here are the drying pieces on their plates. Cut huh? I think they look like Santa’s cookies. Next class, we are applying underglaze with sponges and wiping them off to reveal the textures. Should be fun! I will probably dip them in clear glaze to make them shiny before going in the kiln! Then box them up for the classes to wrap. I do also attach a ribbon and tag with skill information on it and that it was made in ART class. A little more work, but worth it! Parents love knowing what their child learned or what the project was about. Educate the parents as well!
I’ll post more photos when they are finished! Have a snowy, cold but fabulous day!