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Re: [art_education] Digest Number 1058

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  • lindwood@webtv.net
    I understand your frustration about the clay issues. I don t like to have everything look alike, and my student s work does not all look alike, but we narrow
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2005
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      I understand your frustration about the clay issues. I don't like to
      have everything look alike, and my student's work does not all look
      alike, but we narrow in what we are doing so that I can teach some
      specific concepts to them each time. For example, my 2nd graders make
      ceramic birds nests with birds. ALl the birds look different, they can
      do whatever bird they want to do. They learn pinch pot (nests),
      texturing (nests), using slip and finger welding to attach their birds
      to the nests, modeling forms (pinching the birds out of one piece of
      clay), and they can form branches with coils to rest their nests on if
      they want. They can put anything else they want to on their
      pieces....bugs, flowers, etc. THey learn several different processes
      for adding the wings on in different ways, they texture the wings the
      way they want to or add pattern.

      When they make their pinch pots for the nests, I diagram a cross section
      of a pinch pot on the board to show how the walls should look even ,
      and how to avoid leaving all the clay at the bottom. I show them the
      way to position their fingers on the clay as they pinch it so as not to
      leave giant dents. I show them the way to start pinching, what to think
      about as they pinch it (is it thicker here or thinner than the last
      place I pinched? If thinner, don't pinch, move on to the next place in
      the spiral from the bottom ot top and evaluate the thickness before
      pinching it. I try very hard to teach them to be sensitive to the clay,
      and to think about what they are doing all along the way. I issue
      constant reminders about using slip and finger welding.

      Our clay curriculum in k=5 builds upon and reinforces experiences from
      year to year. Kids need a lot of structure to learn the techniques such
      as makng lids in a variety of ways, making pinch pots that have even
      walls, joining pieces together, thinking about the basic shape to start
      with when modeling a form and how to draw out the clay into appendages,
      etc. By the tme we get to 5th grade, kids are drawing what they want to
      make before they make it, and they diagram in cross section the way they
      will consruct their piece....what parts will be pinch pots joined
      together to make hollow forms, where the air vents will be, what parts
      will be done with coils, including details like adding muscle, buidling
      up areas, etc., to form anatomy, where they might reach their fingers
      into a pinch pot to push ou a thigh or shoulder from he inside, what
      parts will be slab, where they will need coils to reinforce and
      strengthen an area (box corners, behind legs or wings that are added on,
      etc.) I tell the 5th graders that I need to see exactly how they plan
      to build what they drew before they can touch the clay. It works really
      well to have them think ahead. In that lesson they learn how to stuff
      hollow forms with paper to support the structure, remove the paper
      later, leave air vents, put back the place they cut away to remove their
      paper, etc. THey make pretty large gargoyles or hollow animals in 5th
      grade. We could not do it if we did not build carefully on their skills
      from one year to the next. Focusing on particular skills each year
      really helps. Don't try to teach it all at once, but be open to kids
      going ahead of what you teach if they are so inclined. SOlve problems
      as they come up, but definitely build skills gradually from year to
      year. That's my 2 cents!

      Linda

      Visit our Lower and Middle School Art Gallery Sites:
      www.sjs.org
      Click on Arts, Lower School or Middle School, Gallery
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