Accept the Clay Challenge
I must admit, a flaw of mine is waiting until the last couple weeks of the quarter to have my students start their clay projects. For some reason I have this mentality that my students should “earn” the right to make their clay project. Clay projects are messy, they take longer than most projects, and there are lots of directions to follow regarding set up and clean up. Therefore, I try to wait and see how well my students follow directions on a couple of projects before they start clay. Our quarters are nine weeks long, and most of the time I start clay in week six. Each quarter I tell myself I’m going to start clay sooner, and it never fails, I always wait until the end and then my students and I feel rushed. This quarter it was particularly late because the end of the year is quickly approaching and for some reason, time seems to go by faster.
My eighth graders just finished making their clay mugs. There are nine days left of school. How did I let that happen? Not to mention, the nine days don’t really count as nine days, because the last day they don’t have art class and the second to last day they go on a field trip to Adventure Land (an amusement park.) So this means they have seven days left of art class. SEVEN DAYS!
So in those seven days I plan to speed up the drying time, fire their mugs, and hopefully they will be able to glaze or paint them. Phew, just in time. Again, WHY do I do this to myself? More importantly, why do I do this to my students? No one wants to feel rushed to finish an art project, especially clay. So, instead of dwelling on the fact that I kind of blew it this quarter, I am choosing to look at this as a learning opportunity and accept the challenge. Next year I challenge myself to be more organized when it comes to my clay projects.
Here a few of the changes I’m going to make.
- Introduce clay projects sooner in the quarter. (In weeks two through four depending on the quarter.)
- Make sure all three grades start clay on the same day. (To minimize the amount of time the clay supplies and clay dust fill my classroom.)
- Make a flip chart discussing the history of clay and the process of firing. (A flipchart is similar to a power point but used with interactive whiteboards.)
- Show the kiln to the students. Allow all students to peek inside the kiln. They’re fascinated by it, allow them to touch it.
What changes are you going to make next year regarding a process you want to revamp?
Do you find yourself in my shoes, rushed at the end of the quarter?