RENEW
Feb 2, 2011

Posted by | 4 Comments

The Pot That Juan Built

In 2nd grade, students are learning about coil, slip and score in the clay curriculum.  One excellent resource I use to talk about the process clay takes, from ground to pot, is the book The Pot That Juan Built by Nancy Andrews Goebel. This book about Juan Quezada, a real artist who lives in Mexico. Juan made pottery in the style of his ancestors and turned his small village into a thriving artist community.

This book is so beautiful.  They story is two-fold, telling two different stories on each page.  One page is a poem that outlines the process that Juan takes to make a pot from start to finish.  The other page has non-fiction narrative text that tells the true facts about Juan’s life.

I have students watch this in movie form, because it really brings this story to life. The students are so engaged and have a lot of questions about Juan. In the story, Juan makes a tortilla, for the bottom of the pot, and then he makes a sausage for the coil around the pot. This is how I get my second grade students started making coil pots.

2nd Grade Coil Pots

Day 1: Watch movie and practice rolling coils

Day 2: Make Coil Pot.  I use red earthenware for this project. It’s so beautiful and simple. (next year I want to take two days to make the pots, in hopes of upping the quality of the pieces)

Day 3: Glaze Pots with clear glaze

Day 4: Reflect/Display, etc.

This last one is my favorite.  I didn’t notice this gem until days after the project was done. I was looking through the pieces and I noticed it looked like two people embracing. I asked the 2nd grade boy about it. He said they were hugging. The idea just came to him as he was building the pot. Now THIS is what art class is all about.  Creativity within a structure of a new skill. It just touched my heart. I think I will put it in our spring art show.

More Resources

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Print Friendly

  • http://keepingthemistakes.wordpress.com keepingthemistakes

    Jessica, Great lesson! I look forward to looking through your blog more. I’m getting ready to start clay and it looks like you have some excellent resources and ideas! Thanks for sharing them. Do you mind if I add you to my blogroll?

  • http://keepingthemistakes.wordpress.com keepingthemistakes

    Duh, you are already on my blogroll. Sorry! Still looking forward to checking out more of your posts!

  • http://Www.theinspiredclassroom Elizabeth Peterson

    Nice ideas here. I love your connections to literature, history and culture. I will share this with my art teacher who teaches clay when we study Mexico. Or I may do it myself with modeling clay…

    I love the pot of hugging people. It’s amazing what people of all ages will come up with when they are allowed “freedom in structure.” (That’s one of my favorite topics!)

  • http://leeandlow.com Natalie Howard

    Hi Jessica,
    I work at LEE & LOW BOOKS and we love how you utilized “The Pot that Juan Built.” If you’re interested in receiving review copies of some of our other art-centric books, please send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best,
    Natalie