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  1. Jump in and learn as much as you can about the kiln.....look online and ask many questions...see if there is one of your students interested in learning about kiln and apprentice them in the task of getting it up and running. I taught 7th-12th graders in most of my art classes and they will generally work together well and help each other. 7th graders have a lot of enthusiasm that sometimes rubs off on older kids. Teach one how to use wheel and have him/her show another one. Bring in ceramic artists from your community to do demonstrations you don't feel up to doing yourself. Look at book "Finding ones way with clay" ??not sure if that is title, but it 's about getting the feel for clay and the properties of what it can and can't do. I always try to tell students that there is only so much that can be done without working on a wheel-where you can only make round objects-hand-building doesn't have same constraints. Find pictures from web or magazine or past issues of Ceramics Monthly or Pottery Making Illustrated=post them around room. Talk to kids about what they want to make or what they think is cool as they look at ceramic work done by others. Some of the kids will love the feel of 'playing in the mud' and some will not want to get dirty. It's a messy field out there. try to get kids to see aesthetics in the works they make and talk about. When they want to keep work that isn't up to your expectations-push them to do more and tell them the object that they make will be around on this earth longer that they will, maybe just buried in some landfill or in a museum? Have them take a small golf ball size of clay and flatten it on the floor on a piece of newspaper. peel it up and you might have a wonderful stamp for decorating clay objects. Teach them how to WEDGE!!! If you're going to recycle clay, this is really important and everything builds on how well clay is processed. If you are excited about this learning adventure that you are going on, it will rub off on most of them. Be ok with telling them you don't have all the answers but will do your best to find them. Get some picture frames from local thrift shop, take glass and other innards out and use them for slump molds. (Best ones are thicker depth to allow clay to fall into shape) HAVE FUN!
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