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I am personally a potter who uses cone 6. I am also an elementary art teacher. My kiln is on the first floor and is very small and my room is on the second floor...no elevator. So, when I work on clay with my kiddos I have to go up and down a lot and have ruined pieces this way and also its just such a big job so I want to do single firing. I know the risks and I am quite experienced with clay so I know when I can put pieces in the kiln, I plan at least a 3 week dry period before anything goes into the kiln. My question is when should I have students apply the glaze? In a perfect world it would be at leather hard stage but form what I have read on other forums and groups that bone dry is ideal. that wont work with some of my grade levels as they just don't have the gentleness that is needed to handle bone dry clay. All my clay and glazes for my students are low fire white clay. Suggestions anyone?

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Bone dry is idea, so it pulls in the glaze.  Leatherhard just doesn't do this, so the glaze will be very thin.

Are you dipping or brushing on the glaze?  If you are brushing, just have a rule, that the students cannot pick up their project, while glazing.  Allow them to rotate them, but not handle.  This would limit potential breakage. 

Alternately, you could have them underglaze, which would work better at the leatherhard stage.

Alternately, alternately, you could just have them paint the projects, post firing.  I know this removes the element of standard ceramic surface decoration, from the process, but I know a lot of Elementary teachers, who do this. 

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