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Re: Am I Wrong

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From: John Kupcinski (jckup_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Feb 10 2001 - 21:24:22 PST


Because my middle school students only get to do one clay project a year,
I'm ususally quite specific about the approach they will take -- coil,
slab, etc. I really like the Maria Martinez video and have shown that as a
starter for coils, but I have never required students to make a Hopi style
pot.

With my eight graders this year I had shown them a video on handbuilding.
Then they were to do several drawings of their ideas for a container. The
next class session I reviewed the approaches and re-demonstrated them
(coil, slab, drape mold, as well as pinch pot). I then gave them a class
period of working with modeling clay to try out their ideas, do some
problem-solving, and get a feel for the process. (They were to make a
container, of their choice, using one or a combination of approaches, good
craftsmanship, originality, etc.) I don't have a pugmill so having them
try out ideas with modeling clay also cuts down on the labor side of clay
for me. Once they have finished their 'test' container, they had to show
me their results (we discuss what's working and what's not) and I let the
ashtray kiddos know where I stand on that! There's usually time left,
and I let them play around with the modeling clay -- it gets that out of
their system.

The next class session, I reminded them of the objective, about scoring
clay and using slip this time around. I also emphasized that real clay
gets tired fast and they won't have time to play around with it. Each and
every container was unique, but not trite or cutsey. I've said my prayers
to the kiln gods, that when I open the kiln tomorrow, all will have fired
successfully.

I've used this 'modeling clay first approach' for years and it works for me
(and my students). Hope this helps.
Cheryl

Jackie wrote:
> I basically told them I was not into the cute little things ( The Sunday
>Afternoon Clay), they informed me they were just children, that mom would
>like it. By the way, these are 9-12 graders. Am I the one that is wrong
>here. I do have high expectations for my students.
>
>Any suggestions on how you approach projects like this would be greatly
>appreciated.

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