One of my very favorite clay resource websites is run by art educator, John Post at www.johnpost.us.
From project to firing schedules, you’ll find everything here. John knows clay and has a powerful teaching philosophy we can all relate to. In fact, John manages to blow through over 3,000 lbs of clay each year in his art curriculum and finds a way to seamlessly incorporate clay into other media. For John, using clay isn’t a ‘one and done’ activity, it’s a way of life in the art room. To a former clay-a-phob like me, what John accomplishes is inspirational and impressive! Today I’d like to share some of my favorite parts of this amazing online resource. Be sure to read to the end to find out how you can score even more information from John himself!
First, you MUST read John’s teaching philosophy. It covers a wide range of topics from why kids love clay so much to best practices in ceramics and everything in-between. JUST. READ. IT.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from his Teaching Philosophy:
“Classroom control is easiest to maintain when the kids are engaged in work that
is meaningful and challenging to them and that they perceive as fun. The learning
sneaks in the side door.”
“If you have ever asked a child “What did you do at school today?” The reply
given most often is “nothing.” I used to think this was because kids didnʼt want to talk
about their school day when they got home. I now believe that is how kids really see
their school day, they are in fact giving an accurate report of the day. This is because of
the word “do” in that question. Kids are wired up to want to do things, but in school they
sit all day and listen to the teacher talk, and to a kid, this is not doing.”
Here are a few examples of classroom management techniques John uses (and shares) to help ensure success with clay in the art room.
Clay Joining Poem (he has the kids repeat each line after he says it)Scoring is boring, but I make lots of lines.
Slipping is dipping, I like it just fine.
Smoothing is soothing, it relaxes my mind.
Form PoemA sphere is a ball, catch it or it will fall.
A cylinder is a tube, a dooby-dooby-doob.
A cone is like a kiss, you pinch it like this.
We all love a good lesson plan, but when it comes to ceramics, sometimes we get stuck with the pinch pot and coil pot. John shows us so many more possibilities. Scroll down on the lefthand side of the website to see all of his resources, and click on the “Projects” tab to see detailed imagery of his projects. You can Follow John on Pinterest for inspiration in your daily feed.
If you think John is a Clay Whiz and want to learn more, he will be presenting directly from his clay studio for the AOE Summer 2014 Online Conference. In this hands-on demonstration, he will show you his secret recipe for easy glazes and share with you a handout that contains over 10 pages of information about using clay in your art room. Read the full description below.
Beyond the Pinch Pot – Making Clay a Central Part of the Art Curriculum
Clay is often the most popular media with our students, but too often it becomes a ‘once a year’ isolated activity…but it doesn’t have to be! This presentation will get you thinking very differently about incorporating ceramics into your curriculum. I go through 3000 pounds of clay a year in my elementary school! I will share how students work back and forth between painting and clay seamlessly in my art room. I will also let you into some of my best kept secrets, such as the best clay to use, how to save a bundle on glazes, and how to make sculptures that are durable after firing. Learn to make my secret recipe: “shiny stuff” – a non-glaze surface that works great without needing a glaze firing. Let’s talk clay!
If you are interested in hearing more art ed leaders like John sharing their expertise, you will love attending the AOE Online Conference this summer, July 17th! Learn more here.
What are some of your ‘go to’ resources for clay ideas?