She said she had trouble using firing clay - I am guessing that the
leaf molds stuck. To remedy this, you can spray molds with Pam - OR
use REAL leaves.
Using real leaves found in the environment can be a science
integration lesson. Students could draw and identify the leaves they
find. Leaves pressed into the clay can remain as they will burn out
during the firing. My students used real leaves for the leaf
impression bowls - no problems. We left the leaves in for firing. The
textures all showed up beautifully - although you could remove the
leaves and carve for more pronounced texture.
The leaf lesson uses the metal finishes (metal paints with patina
finish).... I question using those with elementary kids. I would use
safer materials with the younger kids.... just my opinion. You can
create some nice faux finishes with acrylic paints (accenting with Rub
n Buff if you wish - using a small cloth).
Note: Denise loaded a sample into the Art Education Photo archives.
You can sign up for Art Education list to see many great project ideas
from Denise (an Art Room coming on Incredible Art Department
showcasing her student work).