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First Day Of School Clay Activity

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Hello everyone,  I teach high school ceramic and was looking for new ideas for the first day of classes besides going over the syllabus.  Does anyone have any great team building exercises or fun one day clay project to ease the tension on the first day of school?  Thanks

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Well...I do not like to get out clay in the first few days. I still need to talk about rules and wait until schedules settle- So I usually do drawing activities-creativity stuff, get to know you stuff.

 

1. Surrealist  "Exquisite corpse" drawings- based on the free association game the Surrealist used.

  1. Done in groups of four. each student gets a sheet of unlined paper-longer than copy is good but copy will do. Fold it in half, and then fold the half down in half again (four rectangles should be made).
  2. Have the students brainstorm a theme-something broad like underwater, or grocery store, pirate's life..etc
  3. Students may draw anything they like in the time allotted (5 mins or less) on the theme.  They are to fill the top "rectangle" with 3-5 lines that extend into the second box.
  4. Call time have them fold back the box they drew in so no one can see. 
  5. -Pass drawings left.
  6. The next 5 minutes student draw on the new paper they have received and they must start with the lines from the previous drawing and stay on the theme without looking at the first persons drawing. they must make sure to extend 3-5 lines to the 3rd rectangle.
  7. Keep drawing, folding and switching until the boxes are filled.
  8. Pin them up and take a look

I know that was a little confusing..but it is easy to do in class!

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The written version of Exquisite Corpse: is done with a sentence written with the LAST word on the next line of the paper.  Fold the top over, so only that one word is showing. Pass it left.  Write a new sentence starting with the one word.  Put the last word on the next line.  Fold again.  REPEAT then share.

Just a warning- I am the one who reads them aloud in case some smart hormone filled teen wrote something off colour. :rolleyes:

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2. Synectics - the combining of 2 or more unrelated elements- exercises are used to encourage creativity.  (I used to do these weekly) LOVE THEM!

 

  1. List 3 unrelated things and ask them to draw (using the whole page) what it would look like if the 3 were merged into one new thing.  (I describe it as : draw what it would look like if the 3 things had a baby...some characteristics of each)
  2. example: skyscraper, teapot, ring tailed lemur
  3. Pin up drawings and talk about anything they see that is really "creative" or out of the box.

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3. Another type of synectic is the "what if" statement drawings.

  1. Write the following on the board:  Draw:  What if ________________________were _____________________________.
  2. As a class create two topics...one for each list.  Ex: body parts, fruit, types of pottery, sea creatures
  3. Make a list of 5 things for each list..put on the board.
  4. Ex: body parts- toes, ears, hair, tails, knees ;  pottery-teapots, mugs, platters, bowls, goblets
  5. Have the student choose one thing from each list to make their own sentence and write it on their papeex:
  6. Have them DRAW what their sentence would look like...share and discuss
  7. Ex: What if toes were teapots.  Imagine the drawings :wub:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

MY FAVE ICE BREAKER: not an art thing but helpful to get to know the class

 

A beach ball full of questions (you can google this ice breaker for question lists)

  1. I put them in table groups (4-5) and toss the ball.
  2. The person who catches reads the question their left thumb landed on to the class.
  3. Each student answers the question to their GROUP. STUDENTS ARE INSTRUCTED TO LISTEN TO EACH OTHER! ( a skill they need help with)
  4.  I call time- and have one person in each group, chosen by me report out the names and answers for ecah student..or the most unique answer etc.
  5. This process gets them used to accountability in groups and the questions are fun! EX: What is the weirdest thing you have eaten, what three things could you not live without.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Ok, that's enough for now:)

 

but more is coming!

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I would start the first period with the oooh, what is this stuff we are going to be spending so much of our time with. Animal, vegetable or mineral, Smell it, feel it, listen to the sound it makes on your fingers and hand-by now there are all sorts of giggles going on-"This guy is really nuts" . However that small one pound ball of clay ends up as a pinch pot, first pot experience. It usually at some point involved the closing of the eyes to find out what thicknesses were like. I had slab sticks around for them to compare feels with. In the end, everyone had fun, everyone experienced clay, and no one was hit by having to make something great, just touch the clay.

 

Syllabus time came within the first week, as did a wedging demo and practice time, tour of the room explanation of the steps in finishing a piece, clean up duties and time requirements for these, opening duties, and my rules of conduct. By the end of the week they had started sketching ideas for their first projects.

myzer and Stellaria like this

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Great Pres, I have done similar, but with passing the pot on every 1-2 minutes,  sometimes with eyes closed.  Bit like the drawing exercise where the paper is folded over before the pass on and only looked at in full at the end of the exercise.

Then a personal pinch pot. THe first ones can be sidpalyed for fun or smunched up forthe following pinch pot.

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For the classes I was in we went around the room pointing out where everything is and what everything is and the basics of how to use it. Then if we had enough time we made rulers with inch markers to show about how much the clay shrinks and so we can try a bunch of glazes on them. 

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My first full project was slab construction. I found that it was easier to get them to grasp construction with straight slabs than doing coil or pinch. I would have a series of themes they could choose to work from, then they would do sketches of two elevations-front and side. From these we could use a proportioning trick to figure the size of the pot and the slabs for each of the pieces they needed. Worked out really well, and I would often hear from some of them years afterward that they used the same trick to build bookcases or some other thing in their homes. Odd the things they hold on to.

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I'll go with the pres

 

Give everyone a three inch ball of clay ... including yourself, and start out making a pinch pot as you lecture. Ask the class to listen to what you say about the syllabus, but also to copy what you are doing with the clay.  Every once and a while interrupt your talk to give a brief hint on the pinch pot like, " try to keep the sides of the pot an even thickness" or "Don't pinch too hard or you will punch through the pot".   If you can walk around and give help to individuals. Then after about half an hour. Stop everyone and have them sign the bottoms of their pots and set them to dry. Tell them they have made their first piece of pottery and open a discussion of  how it went.

 

I have used this as the opening gambit for clay classes I have taught, and for the most part, it worked out well

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I just got finished with a teen(age 12-17) 6 week semester. The first day after talking about some clay basics i had them make pinch pots and introduced slipping and scoring and had them turn the pots into animals by adding heads and tails, paws and claws etc.

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Lots of aching hands after those first pinch pots! Folks are not used to using their fingers with pressure, more for speed these days with cell phones and keyboards.

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The first day, I just do the standard "Classroom Expectations", with an emphasis on appropriate use of clay, and clay supplies.  

 

 

The next day, I go over the stages of clay, showing them examples of each, and describing/ showing them the characteristics.  I do like the idea, of giving students clay, and have them get a feel for it.  I used to do pinch bowls, for the first project, but have moved away from that, the last couple years.  I may have to start working it back in.

 

Currently, I have my students create a relief sculpture, for the first project.  I have found, that most students, have difficulty thinking about a project in three dimensions.  So, I feel, the relief sculpture is a nice transition between two and three-dimensional work.  Also, the second project is a slab box, so the relief is a nice stepping stone in that regards as well.

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Sorry I'm late here.

 

High School Teacher:

 

First day. Simple introductions followed by things they need to bring by the end of the week (spray bottles, clear plastic, stamping tools, old gift cards to be made into tools, etc.) a studio tour and then....

 

I have four tables in my room. Each table has 20 pounds of clay in the middle. I tell them the table will have 1 minute to develop a stategy and then the next four minutes to build the tallest tower of clay. Believe it or not they have reached 43"!

 

It's SO MUCH fun to watch everyone get into the clay on day one. That's quite a bit to go over on the first day but we manage to get it all in.

 

I wouldn't try this 8th grade or lower but it's really a fun, uncomplicated, activity that even my returning students look forward to.

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I never start clay until after Christmas. If this is an exclusively clay class, I guess you are stuck. I always begin with drawing. usually the first week is a settling in time. we talk about classroom rules. Respect is a big one-respect the teacher, each other, the materials.

We have a $20.00 art fee- have to talk about that. Have to talk about why no food in the class.

With the time left we do a drawing exercise.

I would never do team building. Art is an individual thing. We talk about not sharing. I provide art materials for everyone in the class. I do not want you sharing watercolour water. Get up off your chair and get your own supplies.

TJR.

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I didn't team build either. My HS had a semester art classes that included Art 1, Art 2, Ceramics 1&2, Printmaking, Survey of Art, AP Art Studio, Jewelry and Metalcraft, Sculpture, Watercolor, and Electronic Studio Arts. So I usually had a mix of classes of which Ceramics and Electronic Studio were my main thing. All of us, kind of specialized. We all had various "lab fees" running from 4 to 8 dollars.

 

I encouraged students to get up and look around on occasion, especially when working with long term projects, to see how others solved problems or approached the medium, but most time it was and individual thing.

 

The only team thing I had was my cleanups which I organized by tables after making certain all tables had even numbers. I  had a certain number of jobs about 5 that would need to be done every day. These jobs were assigned by tables, where all students at the table would be responsible for the job, and if someone was absent the job still got done. At the same time having 4 students cleaning tables with water and sponge was a lot faster than 1.

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TJR,

 

My state has really cracked down on making students pay, for materials as part of a project. A previous teacher used to. She had them pay for a basic clay tool set, which is why I had a ridiculous amount of wood ribs, loop tools, etc. The majority of the students wouldn't take them, as they had no need. I assign students numbered sets of tools, they are responsible for. I've had few issues, some breakage due to wear and tear. In the case, where a tool is broken, due to misuse, they are responsible for replacing it.

Students were also required to buy their own film and photo paper at one time. Now the department covers that, which is a bit pricey. Why does it have to be silver, in light sensitive materials?! Couldn't they have found a light sensitive lead or aluminum?

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Ben, et al;

The art fee is a bit off topic, as we were discussing team building. Sadly we need the money. $20.00 doesn't seem like much. Some students cannot afford it so I let it slide. The fee pays for sketchbooks and Staedler pencils, and high end Prisma Colour pencils. A set of 48 costs $50.00. As I said in my previous post, I like to have a class set of everything. Grumbacher watercolour sets cost $25.00 a piece.They last 2 or 3 years, but it's a $500.00 touch.

Last year we celebrated our 50th anniversary. My budget disappeared. I new this would happen as I was teaching there during the 40th anniversary.

I am trying to think of how I can make my money stretch further. Maybe not have sketchbooks? But I like them for their organization of work.

Any thoughts?

Tom.

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I required students to supply their own sketch books, usually purchase with other school supplies by parents. A list of materials, and specifications was important. I did not allow paper bound sketchbooks as they fell apart, only wire bound or book bound. I had a list of brands and numbers so that they could choose. Many times they could find them quite cheap at places like Big Lots, etc. We supplied colored pencils and other pencils, OMG! we could never afford Prismacolors, usually the best from Crayola, or others. It got them through the basics. If they wanted more, up to them.

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I required students to supply their own textbooks, usually purchase with other school supplies by parents. A list of materials, and specifications was important. I did not allow paper bound sketchbooks as they fell apart, only wire bound or book bound. I had a list of brands and numbers so that they could choose. Many times they could find them quite cheap at places like Big Lots, etc. We supplied colored pencils and other pencils, OMG! we could never afford Prismacolors, usually the best from Crayola, or others. It got them through the basics. If they wanted more, up to them.

Crayola is a no no . Too waxy. I guess that is where I could shave/save some money.

TJR.

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I save money, by ordering cheaper alternatives.  For watercolors, I buy the Prang classroom sets.  The students kind of scoff at them at first like, "We used those in Kindergarten.", but then they realize they work pretty well.  I originally used some tube sets, that were in the room, when I got here, but found that students treated them like acrylics.  

 

I would love to have Prismacolor pencils, but yeah, they are pricey.  I got a Blick classroom set this past year.  They are OK, nothing great.

 

I wouldn't get rid of sketchbooks.  The spiral bound ones I get, are only about $3-4.  It's not Strathmore paper or anything, but works well.  I had the students make their own sketchbooks one year.  We took our standard drawing paper, three-hole punched it and used those brass fastener things.

 

The two biggest expenses I have are glazes/ underglazes and photography supplies.  If I need to cut back, I can always reduce the number of glaze choices I use.

 

First day, with students, is tomorrow.  Time to get back into the swing of things.  I may do the pinch pot thing, in my clay class, the second or third day, so the students get a feel for the clay.

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I save money, by ordering cheaper alternatives.  For watercolors, I buy the Prang classroom sets.  The students kind of scoff at them at first like, "We used those in Kindergarten.", but then they realize they work pretty well.  I originally used some tube sets, that were in the room, when I got here, but found that students treated them like acrylics.  

 

I would love to have Prismacolor pencils, but yeah, they are pricey.  I got a Blick classroom set this past year.  They are OK, nothing great.

 

I wouldn't get rid of sketchbooks.  The spiral bound ones I get, are only about $3-4.  It's not Strathmore paper or anything, but works well.  I had the students make their own sketchbooks one year.  We took our standard drawing paper, three-hole punched it and used those brass fastener things.

 

The two biggest expenses I have are glazes/ underglazes and photography supplies.  If I need to cut back, I can always reduce the number of glaze choices I use.

 

First day, with students, is tomorrow.  Time to get back into the swing of things.  I may do the pinch pot thing, in my clay class, the second or third day, so the students get a feel for the clay.

Ben;

Good luck with the first day of classes.We don't go back until Sept. 3. But we went until June 30. The weather has been fantastic. I will of course go in before classes start.

Tom.

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Yeah Tom, all summer people asked, "How's your break going?". I said, "I'll let you know when it starts.". I was in there off and on weeks after the year ended, and off and on weeks before.

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Come to think of it, we did run a test on a bunch of colored pencil brands and decided Prang to be best bang for buck. Yes, Crayola was waxy.

 

Ben I was often in school checking to make shipments came in, and that all was in order. Learned the lesson second year when we didn't get supplies kept waiting. Then when I got huffy and started searching we found no PO's were placed. Then we found that the Art supervisor had them in a bottom desk drawer-forgotten. Since then I always checked on PO's and on materials coming in. One year 1/2 of our stuff was delivered to another building. Caught it two weeks after happened as the invoice came to our mailbox as delivered. Gotta keep ahead of them.

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Guys;

We have one supplier that we use for paper. Great price on watercolour paper. Problem is, they always wait until they get enough orders for a pallet before shipping. This takes 6 weeks sometimes. I go in to check my orders only to find that the secretary did not submit the order. So now I have no paper. When I asked;"why?", she said that I didn't have any money in my budget. I am ordering for the NEXT  school year. Of course I don't have money yet, as it is not the future.

It always pays to check on these things.

Tom.

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