Being in an Elementary school we don’t have a kiln. Thankfully the amazing art teacher at Tom Baines is super accommodating and allowed for the brief takeover of hers.
My students spent two weeks working on their coil pots. They Explored techniques I demonstrated and then off they went creating their mini masterpieces. I was enthralled with how many of them quickly grasped the concept of scoring and slipping. I loved seeing my ASD students become engaged in the physicality and textural elements of working with the clay. One such student could have made coils for hours. The other loved immersing her hands in the slip and then working with the clay. Watching then work was mesmerizing. Some students loved digging their nails in to create texture and some spent hours smoothing theirs so it looked “perfect”
I warned the students that some of their projects may not survive the kiln so they were extra meticulous in their treatment of their prized pots. Fortunately only one cracked in half and the rest were perfect!
Things that went well: set up was great, I grouped desks and put mats on each desk surface which allowed for easy clean up. I managed the excess clay using dollar store bins and each student put their project in plastic bags while they were a work in progress. I asked students to bring in their own tools since I didn’t have any, and this would be our only time this year to work with clay. This turned out very well, students brought toothbrushes, scrubbers, and other unique tools and shared with each other. It was some beautiful collaboration whereby students showed others how they used the tool, and then others tried the technique.
Wishes for next time: I wish I turned the kiln experience into a classroom field trip or documented the process so students could witness the entirety of their projects.
All the students kept their pots to use as pencil holders at their tables. The pride and enjoyment that came from this project was so worth the mess and the time.