Hello! I teach elementary K-5 art in NC. This lesson is for my two 4th grade classes and my two 5th grade classes, totaling approximately 80 students. My school is an inner city, title one school that is currently in a high priority status. I have worked at the school since 2000 and have been able to develop some continuity in their art education, especially in the area of pottery and sculpture using clay and substitute clay.
The medium of clay has become a favorite of my students but it is very expensive. The problem is that we have reduced money to spend on regular art supplies and none for special projects. Clay is also very expensive due to shipping charges that can cost as much as the clay itself, if not more. However, clay pinch pots provide the perfect opportunity for integrated instruction that includes learning in art, science and social studies.
Upon receiving the needed ceramic supplies, I will be able to provide a lesson that is interdisciplinary in the nature of the concepts introduced and the students will have an end product associated with the learning objectives.
Students begin the project of making personalized pinch pots by first visualizing and sketching pictures of how they imagine their pot to look and whether it is to retain the function of a pottery vessel or be transformed into sculpture (ex. Pinch pot upside down becomes turtle shell). They will also make notes on what their personal interests are and how this can be incorporated to decorate or show expression on the surface of their pot. An earth science discussion follows as to what clay is, how it is formed and its nature and uses. With regard to techniques, my students have been practicing in play-dough since kindergarten grades, and are familiar with altering a round pinch pot into other shapes like star, flower, heart(a favorite) etc. They have practiced making companion lids and/or handles. They have learned how to make fancy handles(twisted/braided). They learn to coil build onto their pinch pots and also get exposure to American/African Culture.
The associated art concepts introduced in this lesson are just too many to mention. It provides an excellent opportunity to have art discussions as to what art is and what drives man’s basic needs to produce art which is in simple terms, expression and decoration. In the process of producing the personalized pinch pot or sculpture, the students are exposed to integrated learning in science and social studies as well. Best of all, when viewed in terms of cost per student this lesson provides the best bang for the buck. The costs of this extra special lesson, packed with so much educational learning, will be approximately $1.50 per student and each child will have a very special piece of pottery to take home.
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