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About to start clay projects and my experience is mainly at the middle school level. Any advice for teaching clay to elementary students to keep from loosing my mind?

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Whether air dry clay or kiln fired, keep it simple. I found that grades below 3rd have trouble with the joining process, so I have them stick to modeling with one piece. Also, with those younger ages, it works best to have them make the same form, because of the need to give step-by-step directions, and limited time. (A duck worked well for 1st grade). You can still incorporate individuality through color and texture.


Was going to put most of that 👆🏼. Well said.

I love clay because kids love clay. Kindergarten begins with a jack o lantern and then a bird in the spring (pinch/pull techniques). First- pinch animal (4 legged, generic of clay then they divide according to what animal needs. More for neck/head for giraffe etc. Coil for a snake or “donut for DAd” paperweight. They love to decorate and some “take a bite out”! Second-pinch pot with lid and attachments, and a pinch pot fish with some parts attached some pinch. Third grade slab plate/drape on plate or bowl This is when I introduce glaze. Slab leaf with insect. Fourth-coil pot and group coil pot for classroom teacher or coil trivit. Fifth - clay mask at the end of the year. Only thing that keeps them engaged! One day to make slab/drape over plastic form and add/subtract features, paint base coat day 2, add details in paint day 3, add extras if desired/critique day 4-grade and take! I teach over 1270 kids every 9 days! But they LOVE clay!


Art history/ demo one day make another, the start a new project, and the glaze another day...Textured hearts, simple snowman, coiled hearts , anything to make in a day,

Not for everyone, and maybe not for this year. I love having a "play day" where I have time to cover the rules and demonstrate the procedure. Then students practice and use the remaining time to create what they want. At the end of the period it gets balled up for recycling. Then the next period we go step by step and students are generally more confident and have more time for details.

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