I did totems with my students last year. I took pieces of plywood, appx 6" square, and placed a dowel in the center. The students were put in groups of 3 and they were required to make hollow spheres out of clay. The group then had to turn their spheres into shapes of some kind, with some kind of theme tying them all together. For instance, one group did fruit/veggies and their spheres were transformed into a carrot, a strawberry, and a potato, all with faces. There was a hole placed through each sphere so it would set on the dowel. I wish I'd taken a picture cause they were really neat.
K-12 Kansas Art Teacher