Please Don't Eat the Artwork

ART WITH MS K


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Ceramic ‘Ornaments’ & Valentines

Now that we are in the second semester of the year, I have a brand new batch of art club kids. Their first project was to create ceramic valentines. I did a similar project with last semester’s art club kids. They made ‘ornaments.’ I have that in quotations because I will not create religious artwork in a public school – there were several non-Christian kids in the class. Also my Jewish mom would have an absolute kanipshin fit if she thought I was having my students make religious-based artwork so I promise to y’all and to you Mom, that these are not specifically ornaments. 🙂

Anyhow, we began with a slab that students could pretty much decorate however they wanted. In the winter, most of them were created with the intention of being given as a gift so many of the kids made them personalized. For valentines day, they traces a heart template and then added details with texture or building little things on.

After all of the pieces went through the kiln, students colored on them with crayons and then painted with India Ink or watercolor to create a lovely resist effect.

They twisted colorful wires on to hang up.

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Aren’t they super cute?!

Art club is currently working on panda paintings right now so be on the lookout for a blog post about those soon 🙂

❤ Mrs.  K

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Second Grade Sundials

A few weeks ago I read in my school’s weekly blast that second grade was learning about sundials and that they would be creating their own sundials. I was immediately inspired to collaborate with the grade 2 team to create a cross-curricular clay sundial. This project was easy-peasy. On day one, we talked about the science behind sundials. When I showed students the example, they asked why aren’t there numbers on it. During my research prepping for this, I discovered that to make a sundial that actually works, you have to go outside and measure the sun every hour. I explained to my second graders that since art is only 45 minutes long, we would be doing texture instead of numbers.

So on the first day, students got a slab of clay and a circle template. They cut out a circle and smoothed the edges. Then they used a bunch of different texture stamp thingies to create texture on their slab.

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Before the discs went into the kiln, I poked a hole in the center with a straw. Here they are after being bisqued:

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Students got to choose what color straw they wanted and I hot glued it into the center.

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These were finished by coloring on the surface with crayons and then painting over the crayon with tempera paint. This created a neat resist effect.

It was so fun to collaborate and create something that encompasses science and art. I love doing these kinds of projects because they really strengthen overall learning.

Great job second graders!

❤ Mrs. K


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Clay with K-3

Greetings from the art room! I wanted to share the ceramic artwork my kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders have been working on. All of the following projects are twists on lessons I have taught in the past so I won’t go into too much detail here, (except for 2nd grade’s turtles). Click the links below to see the step-by-step process for each project 🙂

Kindergarten Penguins

Last year when I did penguins with my kinders we used tempera paint and glitter to paint them. I had a lot of kids request to use more colors than just black, white, and orange so this year we painted them with watercolor. I love the multi-colored designs!

1st Grade Rainbow Fish

I think I have read the Rainbow Fish out loud to kids at least a thousand times. I know all of the words to the story without even looking at the pages – it is one of my absolute favorite childhood books. This year’s 1st graders were so inspired by the beautiful sparkly illustrations. They were super excited to use Sax Versa Temp Pearlescent Paint and Sax Versa Temp Metallic Paint to paint their creations. One group ended up needing 2 class periods to paint so when they finished on the second day, they created a pyramid “habitat” for their rainbow fish.

2nd Grade Turtles

I have been collecting turtles since I was a little kid. I brought my turtle collection into school to sit on my windowsill and the kids have been going bonkers over all of them. 2nd graders were so thrilled to make their very own ceramic turtles. We began with a pinch pot which we then added features to by doing scratch & attach.

They added all kinds of cutie details like hats, bows, soccer balls, and even baby turtles. The turtles were completed with Sax Versa Temp Fluorescent Paint.

3rd Grade Animal Faces

Last year’s batch of 3rd grade animal faces came out great. I decided that it would be helpful for students to use a template for their slab so I die-cut a bunch of circles that they could trace. This ended up being super helpful to manage the size of the final clay projects.

3rd graders could choose to use the neon or the shimmery colors to paint their animal faces.

Dogs:

Unicorns:

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Cats:

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Elephants:

Lions and tigers and bears OH MY:

Dragon, Monkey, Koala:

Foxes:

A uni-bear, a spider, and a squid:

Garfield:

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The Titanic?!?!?!!!!!

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For more clay projects, check out THIS POST with 4th & 5th grade’s clay projects 🙂

❤ Mrs. K

 


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Choice Based Clay with 4th and 5th Grade

Clay is my FAVORITE. I love how clay awakens senses that are not always activated in the art room – it feels interesting in your hands and smells like the earth or a river or a rainy day. Clay is so special because many of my students only get to use it once a year, in my classroom. In the past I have done clay projects where every student makes a version of the same object. This year, I wanted to challenge myself and my students to have more of a choice-based opportunity for exploring and creating with clay. I was apprehensive at first because so much can go wrong with clay as a material. It can dry out too quickly while you work with it or too slowly before it goes into the kiln. It can ‘explode’ inside of the kiln. It can break or shatter or bottom out. With so many ways that things could go wrong, I was determined to set up the unit with as much structure as possible to help things go right. And I must say — it was an incredible success! To be honest, I am astonished at how smooth, fun, and efficacious the entire process was. So — here is how I did it. . . .

On day one we talked about the rules for clay. No clapping your hands to make dust, no covering your hands with water to make mud, no stabbing the clay with the tools, no spaghetti-noodle stick out pieces (which would inevitable snap off and break) no giant solid chunky pieces (which would inevitably explode), absolutely NO throwing clay, etc.

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The first day also had some clay challenges for students to complete. They had to create a pinch pot, a coil, a slab, and scratch and attach. If there was time after the rules and challenges, students could explore with clay on their own. If they ended up creating something on that first day they could keep it or save it. Most of the kids ended up “trashing” their clay but there were some who started or completed a mini project that first day.

On day two students sketched their idea for their project. They were required to label their sketch with what clay form would be used to build it. For example if a kid was making a tea cup, they had to label it “pinch pot” and “coil.” They did not use clay at all this day, I emphasized that it was important to have a detailed blue-print of how they would be constructing their project because since there were so many different ideas it would be impossible for me to sit with everyone and help them build. They had to be a little independent for this one!

On day three each student got a pre-cut chunk of clay. They could get more if they needed. Having the clay already measured out really seemed to help with size management. I kept all of the chinks of clay in a big plastic bin and sprayed them lightly with water. I would usually prepare the clay in the morning or even the day before so this was super helpful for keeping clay fresh.

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Students had that entire third day to build their designs. Many of them quickly realized that their ideas were too ambitious. So – the backup plan for everyone was to make a pinchpot or a cupcake. I showed every class how to create a pinchpot/coil cupcake just in case students ended up needing an idea to fall back on. We talked about how it is ok if an art idea doesn’t work out the way you intended, all artists go through a trial and error process! I think that having a backup plan helped kids from getting too discouraged if their initial idea didn’t work out. And some kids even chose to do a cupcake as their first choice design!

Since this was so personalized, several popular themes emerged. Most of the creations seemed to fall into the following categories: food, pop culture, animals, and sports.

Food

Lots of pizza:

Guacamole:

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Pop Culture

YouTube:

Nintendo/Video Games:

Star Wars:

Rubix Cubes:

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Memes & Minions:

SpongeBob & The Flash:

Harry Potter:

Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, & BayMax:

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Animals

Sports

There were tons of great slab constructed projects:

And many creations that combined construction techniques:

My favorite thing about this process is that students were able to have a deeply personal connection with their work. The kids got to create something that expressed their interests, hobbies, and passions. Each and every project is as unique as the kid who made it. Navigating the logistics and organization of this project has inspired me to do more choice-based projects in the future. 🙂

❤ Mrs. K

 


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Clay Animals with First Grade

Last year, I made clay animals with kindergarten for their PBL unit. This year I did the same thing with 1st graders. Students got to choose from a lion, a turtle, an owl, or a komodo dragon. They researched the animal in their home rooms ad came to art to build their animal out of clay.

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My Teacher Samples

The day that we constructed the animals was crazy. It was a huge logistical challenge to teach 4 different clay forms with details in 45 minutes AND help every kid AND clean up the mess. It helped to have the students sit in groups so they could help each other. Nevertheless, everyone was able to create a clay creature. Once they went through the bisque kiln, first graders used tempera paints to paint their creations.

They turned out spectacular!

When they took them back to their classrooms, they built a habitat diorama. I was thrilled to see that they incorporated some of the skills they have learned in the art room to create their projects!

They even made 2D versions for a display:

This project was awesome. The connection with their classroom learning made the students very engaged in the work and excited to create. I always appreciate the opportunity to collaborate!

❤ Ms. K


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Ceramic Animal Faces

This project is amazing!!!!! I love giving students the opportunity to have their own choice and voice in art and this one was supper successful with that. On the first day, students used handouts, drawing books, and iPads to sketch an animal face.

On the second day, 3rd graders cut out the shape of their animal’s face and scratched and attached to add details. They could choose any animal the wanted and had to work really hard to identify and utilize the shapes that make up that animal’s face.

After a bisque firing in the kiln, the animal faces were ready to be glazed. Third graders really blew me away with their creativity and problem solving with this project. They came up with some really neat creatures!

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Horse / Mouse / Dog

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Bear / Unicorn / Lion

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Elephant / Pig

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White Tiger / Owl

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Cat / Cat / Cat (They are all so different!)

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Dolphin / Turtle / Jellyfish

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Pug / Pig / Pug

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Monster / Pig / Pig

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Giraffe / Dog

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Koala / Pug / Pig

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Mouse / Unicorn

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Cat / Deer

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Cat / Cat / Cat

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Cat / Cat / Cat

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Horse / Mad Cat

🙂 🙂 🙂


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Ceramic Goblets & Turtles

I did 2 different projects with 4th grade this year for their clay unit. Friday classes always fall behind schedule because of random breaks, teacher work days and all kinds of things. So with my Friday class I wanted to do a quick clay project so that their clay wouldn’t dry out in between all the times we will be able to see each other. We made neon clay turtles and they are amazing! Here is my sample:

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On the first day, 4th graders pinched out a pinch pot and created coils for the head and legs of their turtle. They also added details by building or carving. After going through the kiln, the turtles were ready to be painted with neon tempera paints. They are so psychedelic!

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The other 4th grade classes had a bit more time so we took a few weeks to create clay goblets. I really loved doing these with 4th grade because many of the remembered making coil pots in 3rd grade and pinch pots in k-2nd grade so they were able to use prior knowledge in their work.

On the first day, students made coils. They could lay their coils flat on top of each other like snakes or create spiral coils that are upright. I don’t have any pictures of this step because I was rollin’ coils like a madwoman! In order to get the correct circumference of their form, they wrapped their bottom flat coil around a small cup. When class was over, students placed their coil forms (finished or not) in a labeled Ziploc bag to be stored for next time.

On the second day, students carefully removed their coils from the bag. They got a new piece of clay and created a pinch pot. Then they “scratched and attached” their pinch pot to their coils to create a goblet. If there was enough time left, they could add handles or other details. Once they finished, they wrote their name and number on a slip of paper so I could carve it into the bottom.

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After a bisque firing in the kiln, students were able to glaze their pottery. I like to put one color on each table and have the kids carefully move around the room to use the colors of their choice.

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These turned out to be really beautiful. I think the students enjoyed creating someting functional 🙂

 


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Clay Penguins & Clay Organization

These clay penguins were such a hit that I did them with k, 2, and art club! Kids in all grades were intrigued by these awesome little figurines.

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We started off by reading the book If You Were a Penguin. Students practiced drawing penguins in their sketchbooks using geometric shapes.

The next day, we build the penguins out of clay. Students were given a piece of clay and they had to give it a couple of gentle rolls in their hands to make a cylinder. Then, they used their thumb to gently create a hollow space inside.

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Next, they used extra clay to create a cone for the beak, spheres for the eyes, and smaller cylinders for the flippers. They carefully scratched and attached all of the pieces together.

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After a kiln firing, the penguins were painted using tempera paint with glitter. We talked about how the colors of a penguin help it camouflage from predators when it swims in the water.

Once the paint was dry, students got to take their little penguin pals home! With kindergartners, I kept the paint simple with just orange, black, and white. 2nd graders and art club kids have a wider range of motor skills and were able to add details like headphones, hats, and bows to their penguins so they got to use neon colors as well.

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These are so precious — every kid was engaged and excited about the project which made it awesome!!

I also want to talk about organization strategies for clay. Doing clay with 500+ kids can be really crazy logistically. It can be really difficult to stay organized and keep track of everything especially because projects are not flat. Finding the space for everything to dry properly can be a challenge. In the past, I did not have a kiln in my classroom which made it even more difficult because I had to cart everything to the other side of the school to be fired in the other art teacher’s classroom!

Now I am fortunate enough to have a glorious kiln room so I wanted to share how I stay organized with clay. First, when kids are finished working on their piece, they have to bring it to the back table and find a slip of paper withe their name on it. They then write their number next to their name. I use this to label all of the clay pieces – I carve the first letter of their name and their number. This makes it really easy to pass back work and it is a lot easier than carving the entire name.

The projects are separated by class and placed into copy paper box lids on a giant cart.

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I keep track of whats what by labeling the box with the teacher’s name, grade, and day that they come to art. I also make sure to hold on to the slips of paper until everything is passed out just in case there is a mix up with numbers or names (there inevitably always is with kindergarten).

Towards the top of the cart, I keep some glazes, a hot glue gun (for quick repairs), and paper bags to take the projects home in. I also have a few of my own pottery pieces that “exploded” in the kiln. These come in handy to show students whose projects may have met an unfortunate fate during the kiln firing. I always show them my own bowls and tell them that it even happens to grown up artists and sometimes you just have to have a good attitude and try again.

The rest of the glaze is in the kiln room organized like this:

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I got really lucky when I inherited this art classroom its it fully loaded with tons of supplies including a bunch of amazing Amaco glazes!!! They are organized by under glaze, gloss glaze, and crystal/textured glazes. On a teacher workday a few months ago, I made some test tiles for easy reference:

This was super helpful so that I could see which glazes were expired and which were still OK to use. When students glaze, I place one color on each table with a set of paintbrushes and the test tile for reference. It helps students to envision what the color will actually look like since often it is quite different than what the glaze looks like straight out of the bottle.

Recently someone asked me what my favorite thing to teach in art is. The answer has always been and will always be clay. There is something really special when it comes to working with the natural element of dirt. In a world that is moving increasingly towards digital media, it is important for artists – young and old – to maintain a connection to the earth.

And now I’m off to unload a glaze kiln full of animal faces — blog post about that coming soon!

❤ Ms. K

 


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Clay Creepies

This is my first year doing an art club and there are a lot of things I really enjoy about it. I really enjoy getting to know some extremely talented and motivated students in a more focused setting. I am really enjoying the opportunity to try out exciting projects and materials that would be difficult or impossible to use with an entire class or grade. We are currently working on paper mache masks that I will post about soon.Our first project of the year was a clay “creepie.” This is a project that I have done a million times in a million different ways with 7-17 year olds. I thought it would be a fun and motivating first project for my art club kiddos!

We began with a hunka-chunka clay that we turned into a pinch pot. Then, extra clay bits were pinched, rolled, and attached to create all the features of a monster or creature. I am so impressed with the creativity of this group. They really put their imaginative efforts into their creations and created some crazy clay creepies.

Way to go art club!

❤ Ms. K


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Clay Animals

I was so excited when the kindergarten team approached me to collaborate on a lesson. They were about to embark on a PBL unit all about animals and the product was going to be a diorama. So they asked me to make clay animals with the students. 🙂

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Initially I was a bit apprehensive about the process. Kindergarteners have the least experience with fine motor skills when it comes to using clay and the project would require each student to have a different animal. There would be a lot of logistics going into the planning and management of teaching each student the skills to build a different animal. I was up for the challenge though because I am starting to step into the arena of more choice and voice type projects (the importance of which I have talked about here) and I knew that if I gave students the chance to explore the material they would be successful. This project ended up being incredibly authentic.

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The kids had studied their animals for a couple of weeks prior to the start of this lesson. Their research included technology components and even drawing their animals which was great because they were prepared with knowledge about the body parts. So I began the demo showing them how to create a coil for the body by squeezing the clay into a hot dog.

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I showed how to add legs, heads, wings, beaks, tails, fins, eyes, and all of the details they would need to build their animal. Each class had a different habitat they studied and students were in groups based on their animals. I printed off photographs of their animals as well as pictures of what that animal looks like out of clay so they could reference while they worked.

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We kept the tools simple, each student got a chunk of clay, a burlap mat, and a mini popsicle stick. We also used slip or “clay glue” to stick the pieces together. It was amazing to see the kids working together and sharing ideas for how to create and build their animals. They were tremendously proud, engaged, and motivated to participate in this cross-curricular experience.

After getting bisque fired, students used tempera paints to paint their animals.

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They came out better than I could have ever imagined – I am so proud of the hard work the students put into this project and so thankful that I got to be a part of it!

Arctic foxes:

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Butterflies:

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Parrots:

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Clown fish:

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A sea turtle and a shark:

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Manatees:

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Jaguars:

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Snowy owls:

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Penguins:

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Orca whales:

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