Sunday, January 8, 2017

In the Art Room: Clay Hearts with Wings

If you are a teacher, then you've probably experienced team building activities. They can either be big hits or misses, depending on the mindset of the group. I work at a school with a very low turn over rate, a whole lot of history and love, both for the children and each other. However, knowing that we were coming back from a break of much needed time off, I knew it might be hard to feel that love when we really just want to hibernate until spring (I could simply be speaking for myself here!). Before break, I asked my amazing administration if I could possibly host a team building activity on our most recent professional development day. I was so thrilled that they agreed and even more happy with the beautiful results...
I chatted with the teachers about how we teach from our hearts and give our students wings to fly. Our students don't see us for our outward appearance but what is in our hearts. I used this sweet poem as a reference. I don't know who the author is of this poem, if anyone does, I'd love to know!
Knowing that I would have a packed house, I thought it would be best to record the process and show it on my big screen telly. Here is the video. I played it in phases, pausing it to allow the teachers time to work. It took us 45 minutes to create and clean up. Not too shabby!
I loved hosting the teachers in my art room...and they were the best of sports. I was asking them to step out of their comfort zone and they did so happily. It was so fun!
Knowing that these teachers might have a limited creative background, I wanted to remove any obstacles. I didn't want this to be a frustrating experience for them but a fun one. One where they could chat, laugh, create and forget about any stresses. 
 Here are some short cuts I provided: 

* Templates. In the video I told them that they didn't have to use them...but almost all of them did. I was glad I took the time to make them.
* Tons of Textures. I didn't want the teachers to have to wait on each other as I knew we wouldn't have time. For textures, we used doilies, placemats, burlap...anything with a beautiful raised surface.
 * Toothbrushes and water cups. Instead of teaching them the slip and score method, I provided them with a tool that would get the job done much faster. 
 * Skewers. The best and cheapest clay cutting tool!
 And, finally, I provided glaze. Yes, glaze! You can glaze on greenware (or fresh, outta the bag, clay). I plan to do a clear glaze over all of the pieces before they are fired in the kiln. 
 We had such a fun time, I'm so lucky to work with these people!
Have y'all ever done a team building activity before? Love to hear about it!

Feel free to share this project with your admin and teachers. Also, this project is age appropriate for your elementary (and up!) students as well. We just might have to make this a school-wide endeavor. I'll keep you posted. 
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22 comments:

  1. Love this idea!!!!

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    1. It was really fun, feel free to use in your world!

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  2. That's so fun! I've led PD classes but not in my subject. ha ha ha.

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  3. I love your blog!
    Have to know where did you get those green bowls in the video? ��

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    1. THEY ARE DOG FOOD BOWLS!! I know, right?! I scored them at the Dollar Tree...I was like WHAT?! Best new addition to my art room: no spill and I can use the other side for sponges!

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  4. Drinking Straws work as a good hole punch for clay too!

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  5. super idea x Do you put out plastic covers on your table just when you do clay?

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    1. No but that sounds like a fabulous idea! We use "clay mats"...usually when I do clay, EVERYONE is doing clay for a week...and then we clean and wipe down the entire room. :) LOVE your idea!!

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    2. Anonymous1/20/2017

      Hey Cassie, what is a "clay mat"? like a piece of canvas?

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  6. Hello! I just love this idea I use to teach Jewellery Making at After School Clubs and one of my favourite part was watching the children work with clay - I was always fascinated to see what they would come up- with. Thanks for sharing – Debrafide

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    1. How fun!! I know they loved it!!

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  7. HI Cassie,

    I love your art projects. I am an admin assistant in Alberta who teaches after school art to grade 3 - 6. We don't have a kiln, so would this project work as well with air dry clay for my kids?

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    1. I definitely think it would work. I really like Amaco's air dry clay...as well as Crayola's (Model Magic would not work well for this...but they do make an "air dry" that would) as well as Activa Product's air dry clay. Give it a shot, I think it would work fabulously!

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  8. It's funny. Limited time and even using templates, how completely unique each one is. That's a testament to the art teacher who encourages individuality. Kudos to you. Great work! 😊

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    1. Yes! And each was very happy with their frustration-free creation. Win-win :) Thanks, Rachel!

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  9. Anonymous1/10/2017

    Are you using low fire or high fire clay? Also, what kind of glaze are you using? I have never glazed before firing once.

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    1. Would love to know more about glazing greenware, too! Saving a step?! YES PUHLEASE.

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    2. Low fire clay, always in my world. Cone 06. I don't normally glaze this way but I did want it to be a one and done b/c getting everyone to come back would be tough. I like Mayco's Stroke and Coat. I'll be sure to share a follow up post.

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  10. I am obsessed with your blog and you! Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful ideas! I teach art club after school and will be using this activity with the kiddos around valentine's day!

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    1. Of course! I hope you shoot me an email and share what your art club kiddos create!

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