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<< I am just wondering how many students you have.>>
I had 7 students this time. A few years ago a friend of mine did it with a
class of 17 young children and it worked really well. She set them up in
groups and they worked co-operatively in the planning stages.
<<How often do you see them?>>
This latest class was 5 weeks long meeting for 1 1/2 hours each Tuesday.
<<How did you introduce specific skills when making the parts of the
neighborhood? Did you use solid forms for the buildings and coils for flay
poles, etc? I am intrigued! Tell me more!>>
1) After discussing neighborhoods and communities we brainstormed for ideas
of things to put in our neighborhood. The kids all were eager to make their
houses and buildings first. This just happened to be the concensus. Another
class might decide to make a zoo first..... Anyway, you go with what you get
so I taught them how to do slab construction first with scoring and slip. Of
course, first we talked about where clay came from, how it is different from
playdough, it's particular properties, the importance of wedging to get rid of
the air bubbles and so on.
2) The next week the kids wanted to do a zoo and a park. They used the slab
method previously learned and I showed them how to pinch the clay into shape
3) The third week was a combination of the first two methods and I added a
coil demonstration that they used to make trees (trunks). I also had
extruding tools that they incorporated just through their own experimentation.
They ended up doing things like subtractive and additive methods without my
prompting. I made sure to point out these methods that they were using
4) For the fourth class I had the kids paint their bisqued pieces with
underglaze. Class time ran out and I put on the coat of clear glaze myself.
5) For the last class we set out a large square table for our neighborhood.
First we covered it with green construction paper for all the grass. Then the
kids decided where they wanted to live and put out the Post Office, the
Grocery Store, the zoo cages, the playground equipment. Then, using other
construction paper, they fashioned the roads, ponds, parking lots, flower
beds, etc. One little girl brought hot wheel cars for everyone to park in
This whole class kept the kids fascinated! The attention spans were long,
conversation focused and imaginative, and the work was charming. These kids
had never worked with clay before and after this class they were like little
Hope all this info helps. I am curious to know how this works in your
classroom. If any of you out there try this or have comments/suggestions/off-
shoot activities please e-mail to let me know.