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Lesson Plans

Re: Curious about kiln firings and discipline

From: Dennis Freeman (freemad)
Date: Sun Aug 20 2000 - 21:50:52 PDT

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    on 8/21/00 9:01 PM, MDecker at mdecker wrote:

    > I would like some answers from you folks when you have time. This is a VERY
    > busy time for all of you!
    > 1. How do you schedule kiln firings (primarily secondary teachers with
    > larger works requiring slow firing)? Do you fire only during school hours?
    > Anyone fire on weekends?
    > 2. How do you react to students who make fun of you?
    > Judith Decker

    Judith - On firings: We produce large amounts of ware in 8 clay classes
    (pottery, adv. 3D design & sculpture), so firing is pretty much constant. I
    pre-heat all greenware overnight (1 or 2 switches on low) & fire the next
    day. This is usually accomplished before school gets out, but I always
    check back if the firing takes longer. I have learned from experience to
    never fully trust a kiln sitter! Gas is a different matter. I candle
    overnight, which is OK, since there is a system which will shut the kiln
    down if the pilot or burner goes out. I have developed a firing schedule
    which usually allows me to reach ^10 reduction by 4 PM, but I often end up
    coming back to shut it off.

    The requirement that you physically be there during firings is a bit much -
    does the maint. person have to be there when the furnace is running?
    Reasonable caution would dictate checking every few hours at the end of a
    firing to be sure it shuts off, but a preheating electric kiln is hardly a
    hazard overnight. Yes, I often fire on weekends, since it is hard to keep
    up during the week - an admission of failure on my part, I guess.

    I tell students (really!) that if they make fun of me or especially another
    student, they might as well draw a target on their forehead: "No matter how
    good you think you are at putdowns and quick repartee, chances are I am much
    better, children! I will treat you with respect and expect the same.
    Should you choose to treat someone else w/ disrespect, I may choose to
    embarrass you in front of your friends." I seldom have to demonstrate this,
    thankfully, since my reputation precedes me - few students wish to try me
    out. I really believe that students respond to being treated respectfully &
    knowing that I will not tolerate put-downs is noted and appreciated by most
    of the kids. - Dennis in Wyo.


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