Wow...those all sound really hard! These are clay projects I have done that the kids treasure, clay masks (edvard munch, color and expression), clay portrait relief sculptures (tile like), bas-relief of their bedrooms, (again a tile like piece), kindergarteners made texture houses (again tile like), second graders have made gargoyles two years in a row...this year they are going to make dragons. I am doing a unit on the figure, focusing on Elizabeth Catlett and my fifth graders will be doing a clay sports figure sculpture. I always do pinch pots with kinders.....coiled pots if I have time. I did imaginary animals with kinders, and bugs with first grade.
I love clay, have a kiln in my room...so it is not unusualy to do two or three clay lessons per grade per year. I also run an after school clay class. I find the kids love to take their clay home....they treasure every piece. When I taught middle school, I did clay masks. I hope this helps...I will probably be doing other kinds of clay pieces this year.