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How Many Kilns Needed?

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I'm wondering how many kilns would be recommended for a program that currently services 230 students?

My school is +/- 2100 students, we currently have 9 sections of ceramics, I teach 6 sections and another teacher has 3. We have 2 Amaco HF105 kilns. It's my belief that we need to cut at least 2 sections to make the numbers more manageable. We have no way of adding an additional kiln. I cut my kids off from constructing anything new about a month ago with the exception of anything that broke, was stolen or needed to be remade for a better grade. Its just been glazing and writing assignments for 4 weeks. Thank goodness we are in the final week because the kids are getting restless and so am I. On the bright side, for the first time in my 10 years of teaching ceramics I will NOT have to go in over winter break to fire! It's been quite a challenge to get my 157 student's works fired and graded before they leave for break.

So again I'm wondering how many kilns would be recommended for the number of students (230) enrolled in ceramics? Also, given that we can only have the 2 kilns, what are recommendations for the max number of students based on the 2 kilns? I look forward to your thoughts and advice.   

 

Monica

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I wouldn't have students writing for a month. I would introduce a clean unit like pencil crayon drawing. Or you could make plastecine landscapes on matt board.

At my high school, we have 7 classes of art in each of two semesters,for a total of 14 classes. Two full time art teachers. We do 5 units per class. Only one clay unit in each grade. The other units are drawing, painting, print making, collage or something else.

We try to run our clay units in the winter rather than in June as our 50 year old school has no air conditioning. Actually the principal and the secretaries have air.

I have the biggest Cone Art kiln you can buy. The other art teacher wheels her stuff to my room for firing.

I don't know if I would want to teach ceramics the entire semester. Can you mix it up with other media, or were you hired as strictly a clay person? Our school has 1300 students. Art is an option, and not a required course.

TJR.

I don't think you should buy another kiln. I think your program is big enough.

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One month! Our term is over on the 23rd of this month, and we were done with wet clay, two days ago. I don't have nearly the amount of sections you do though. I just usually have one ceramic-related class a term, with a little over twenty students. They are each required to do six clay projects, so that's approximately one hundred and twenty projects to fire. This is all with one kiln though. I also have to share my kiln, with the Middle School teacher, who does one clay unit. And since he also does elementary, he brings some of that over sometimes. I am firing them, as they are completed though. They get the first project done, I bisque them. If I get enough for a glaze load, I'll fire those too. I always emphasize, that I'd rather have them building, than glazing, as I can immediately fire glazed ware, and he firing time is dramatically shorter. My fast glaze program, is just under five hours. So that's a glaze firing every day if needed, which it will be here next week.

 

 

With the remaining time, in the term, the students will be glazing, finishing their glaze/ sketch journal, taking a small test and cleaning their tools sets/ the room. In the past, we'd do. mixed media plaster wrapping project, but time has been an issue lately. This term, in order to finish before the end of the year, the term was shortened by two days, from the standard length.

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This is the last week before Christmas. Two week break, then a week of classes, then exams. So, you really want to have everything fired up before Christmas. Then students are working in their sketch books and writing a one page reflection on their projects. When i say;"We are cleaning the room on the last day, no one shows up, which I love.

Oh, yeah! I teach high school. If I want to keep anything good, like new clay, I leave it on the floor. No one touches it. I could probably leave brand new brushes there, but the custodian would sweep them up. Any pencils dropped on the floor get tossed by the custodian.

TJR.

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We have 4 full time art teachers and we teach specialized courses i.e. ceramics, fiber arts, painting, sculpture etc. The number of students taking ceramics has risen drastically over the past few years. This is the 3rd year I've had 6 sections of ceramics, last year I did teach fiber arts so I only had 5 ceramics at least I had a little break. Part of the writing is a reflection over the finished projects. We've also had a few days in the computer lab working on a web quest I created to help prepare for the projects next semester. I made a comment to one of the other art teachers the other week about cutting 2 sections of ceramics next year and the response back was that I need to do larger projects that take more time. Personally I don't think that's the answer. My students have only completed 3 projects this semester and if I go any slower I'll have a riot to deal with!

I really want to know thoughts on the maximum number of students that you think can be serviced with the 2 kilns we have to work with. I'm hoping to get some feedback that I can use when I bring up the idea of cutting 2 sections for next school year.

Thanks

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How much fits into each kiln? Can students be assigned to assist in loading/unloading, or get extra credit for helping? How many pieces is each student expected to finish each term?

If the firing schedule is the crunch point for your program, perhaps reworking your curricula would help. Can you incorporate exercises like ' thrown x number of cylinders in y time", where the students are busy, but the pieces are recycled? Can you have a size limit on pieces, like airlines have on carry-ons? Would it be possible to do some pit firing, to take a load off the kilns, as it were?

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Could you switch to making itty bitty stuff toward the end?  Try experimenting with beads, tiles, ornaments and small sculptures that could fit into the tiny areas and dry faster?  Also, what about not firing everything they make?  This advice was given to someone who was learning on another thread.  That way they are practicing in the beginning and only fire the best pieces toward the end.  Also you could do a mosaic project as well.  I'm sorry I don't have any advise on number of students to kiln ratio.  

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When you say you have X amount of sections of Ceramics, is that at one time, or all year?

 

I can tell you, that at one of the districts I taught at, I had two kilns, one for bisque, one for glaze.  I had three sections of Ceramics a year, each with around fifteen students.  So let's say forty five students.  I had five or so projects, they had to make.  So that would be around two hundred and twenty five projects to fire.  A good chunk of it, was right at the end of the term, but I did firings throughout, and sent things home as I went.  My cut off for wet clay, was the week after Thanksgiving Break.  That gave me enough time to bisque, and the students enough time to glaze, before the end of the Semester.

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