Wednesday, April 13, 2016

In the Art Room: My Favorite Clay Lessons

Well, y'all, I gotta tell ya. It's been a long, exhausting but super fun and exhilarating week. Which can only mean one thing: Clay Week! I started doing a week of clay for the entire school a coupla years ago and now that we have it all down pat, we ain't never going back. The only thing I plan to change for next year: do two separate clay weeks, one in the fall and one in the spring. The kids love clay so stinkin' much that I want to give them more opportunities to explore! 

I spent this past weekend filming clay demo videos that I've been sharing with each of my classes. I did this for a couple of reasons: 1. it's so hard to demo clay and insure that each child can see. 2. I don't forget any of the details or get distracted by raised hands, talker-outers or whatever randomness that causes me to get off track and 3. the kids pay so much more attention to Television Stephens than Fur Realzies Stephens (which I take offense to but whateves). I've not added these videos to my YouTube channel yet because I'm too tired, y'all! Instead I thought I'd share with you my favorite clay lessons (with links to each lesson!) of all timez.

IN OTHER NEWS (by the way, if you know me even for a second, you know that "in other news" is my fave segue to totes off-topic-town), I've been keeping secrets from y'all. It's time I let the big ole cat outta the bag: I've been working with Quarry Books...and I'm writing a book! That's right! AND it's all about...clay! So...in case you noticed that the DIY's on this here blog have pretty much dried up to nothing that's because my weekends have been spent working on el book-o. I've been keeping it kinda on the down low because I didn't want to get too excited lest Quarry find out what a crazy I am and back outta the deal. But it would appear that they are in it to win it and so am I. I'll keep y'all posted...but I just had to share. 

AND NOW, back to my fave clay projects!
When it comes to Clay Week, I do love to have a theme. This helps with the teaching as I can reference the same visuals. It also helps when we put together the art show as there is a real cohesiveness to it all. The clay display is always in my art room. It looks so nice to see all of these thematic projects together! One of my favorite lessons for an Asian theme were these Painted Indian Elephants inspired by my art teacherin' buddy Debbie Flynt. Each one was so colorful and unique!
Another hit, especially with the kids, were these Chinese Dragons by my third grade students! So much creativity and imagination went into each and every one that this was def a kid fave. 
Pandas are so stinkin' cute. We've taken to watching Animal Planet's Panda Cam in my art room (along with puppy, kitten and otter cam...y'all, it's seriously the best thing ever). My fourth graders had a blast making these Pandas with Personality for our Asian theme. 
Because our art show is in the spring, I settled upon spring with an emphasis on Monet's Waterlilies one year! My fourth graders created these frogs with so much spunk and personality that they really were a true reflection of the young artist! 
Kindergarteners are a freakin' joy to do clay with as they absolutely love every minute of it! While we were working today, I heard so much laughter, happiness and discovery that it just made my day. We created these textured butterfly wallhangings to go along with our spring theme. 
Opening my kiln to these pretties, I remember letting out a squeal! They were so colorful and spring-like and the third grade had a blast making them. 
My favorite projects are the ones where the kids just go bananas with little details and creativity. That's what my second graders did with these cute and fun waterlilies.
One year, our theme was animals because we "sold" our creations back to our parents (for a donation) which we turned over to a no-kill humane society. This was a fun experience for the kids to see the power of being kind and art! My kindergarten and first graders created these sweet Pinch Pot Pets
My second graders used two pinch pots to create their own version of Pinch Pot(s) Pets! I love all the variety of ideas in this lesson. 
My fourth graders created these fun cat and dog sculptures. I love to encourage silliness and imagination in their works so that they really explore making a simple idea like a cat or dog their own. Again, this was a hit with kids and parents! 
Second grade created these tigers one year that double as a container. There's a pinch pot on the back of each tiger that was flipped upright to be used as a bowl! Our mascot is the tiger so this was a great tie-in with school pride as well as keeping with our animal-loving theme. 
And now for a batch of randoms. These fish were not tied to a theme but super cute. I love that clay can be a great vehicle in teaching texture. Such was really emphasized in this textured fish lesson for first grade!
Wall hangings can be a fun alternative to sculpture when working with clay. It's often difficult for the young kids like kindergarten town to create standing sculptures. So, with a focus on texture, my wee ones last year created these textured birds! This blog post has a how to video if you are interested.  
This is one of my tried and true favorite lessons that I used to do every year with second grade until I grew tired of it and moved on. I brought it back for an after school group last year and they loved their textured initial wall hanging!

What are some of your fave clay lessons? I am SO EXCITED about our clay theme this year and cannot wait to share it with you...it's gonna be the best one yet!
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png

14 comments:

  1. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Lots of great inspiration here--pinned 'em already! Thank you so much for sharing and good luck with your book! AH, we can say we knew you when....Take care, Mrs. P @ CreateArtWithMe.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations on the book, that is awesome!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can't wait to get that book! Congratulations!!

    Thank you for all of the clay lessons!! PS What clay do you use?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congrats!!! I admit as a new elementary art teacher I get like... 99% of my inspiration from you. Thank you so much for always sharing and being an art ed guru! I hope to be half as awesome as you one day! Cheers! -Jill

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love Love Love these, but can't see how to pin them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sally Henderson4/14/2016

    These are amazing!! Did the kids do these in a single class period or over 2 weeks? If two weeks, How and where did you store and keep wet for the whooooole school?? Did you have to change the complexity when you switched from two down to one week?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! some projects take a week, some more. In the past, we would wrap the project in a damp paper towel and store it in an unsealed ziplock bag with the bag tucked under the project. I don't have much of a "system" as I am highly unorganized...

      Delete
  7. California Mom4/14/2016

    I wish you had been my art teacher when I was a kid! Terrific art projects and lessons. Superb organization and enthusiasm and fabulous clothes. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I do the chia head portraits every year with my 4th. Grade friends! It's super successful and highly anticipated!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Pleeeease add lots of stuff in your book for teachers that don't have kilns

    ReplyDelete
  10. Adorable projects!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Girls fashion and their age are always inversely proportional. You have fantastic stuff on this blog that keep the girls young and beautiful with you fashion tips. Being a fashion artist I really appreciate your efforts and work.
    Love from Royal Lady

    ReplyDelete
  12. What type of glazes are you using for these? Underglaze? Which brand?

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)