Just wanted to pass on a neat idea that worked really well with my 7th graders (but can really suit just about any grade level)
I had my students each make a set of 4 ceramic drink coasters. I encouraged them to pick interesting shapes instead of the standard square or circular shapes. We had some fish, butterflies, cats, planets, geometric shapes, fruits, cows, pigs, leaves, flowers, shapes to go along with different holidays and so on. They could make all 4 look the same of they can make different ones, as long as they could exist together in a set. For example, I had a students who made two coasters in the shape of lily pads, while the other two were frogs.
The neatest part was that we decoupaged on top of the coasters, so they were very brite and eye catching. Mostly the kids collaged with tissue paper, but we also used handmade paper scraps, and the kids were also free to decoupage photos or pictures from magazines or the internet on top. If they needed to add any details, we used acrylic paint. These really wound up looking like something you might buy in a store! I put 4 dots of hot glue on the bottom of each coaster so that they would not scratch any table surface.
This was a fairly quick project, and was a good way to help them with their slab rolling skills, since I insisted that all the coasters must be exactly the same width and size (if the design called for them to be the same). They also had to make sure that the coasters would lay flat and not warp during the drying process. We had a few kids who had to re-do one or two coasters, but it worked out fine. I have them on display in the main office and have been getting lots of compliments. Once I take them out of the display case I will photograph them and forward the pictures along to anybody who would like to see. I have some pictures taken already.
Northport Middle School