As I watch the cities and towns turn from green to yellow, I’m reminded that patience is important. I miss being in the classroom; I miss the closeness that comes from sitting opposite a student and pulling a pot up together; I miss the close interaction with a child who is frustrated and needs a helping hand; I miss so much that this pandemic has forced us to press pause on.
The upside of pressing pause and rethinking how to teach has provided new opportunities for personal growth and adding technical tools to my teaching regime. This can only be a good thing. Here are some of the teaching opportunities available to students of all ages.
Who says you can’t learn about the amazing world of ceramics virtually? I’ve just finished up a week of teaching pottery in a virtual camp to young students. We’ve had some clay projects and some 2 and 3D paper projects to explore ceramics and how they teach us about different cultures. The above screenshot of middle school students’ artwork shows the beautiful designs they came up with as they imagined themselves creating tiles in Florence, Italy during the Italian Renaissance period. Using the medium of their choice on paper, they emulated decorating a tin based white slip covered earthenware tile to learn about majolica. They also learned how trade from Spain brought the process to the country and the way it functioned in society.
Teaching teens pottery is a different experience from teaching elementary aged students even though there may be only a small age difference. Teens in middle and high school have had many more life experiences. They have acquired more creative tools. Their work has time to develop with a daily interaction with clay. Here is a look at what they created in our week long class this summer.
Teens explored building castles using coils and slabs. From left to right: clay is used to create buildings; castles are glazed in bright colors; artwork is finished with a glaze firing in the pottery kiln. Below are a few more finished pieces.
Once the students were familiar with architecture, they started their second project: architectural tiles.
The results were very unique and exciting to see. Starting with a clay slab, the students used their imagination to take the next steps. They then moved on to glazing and the tiles were fired.
For the final project, the students created a functional piece. They began with a flat two-dimensional slab of clay and turned it into a three dimensional mug. The theme was animals but some decided to move away from topic and create an original piece.
It’s always a great experience to teach clay for Newton Community Education! Check out my poston what the elementary aged students created during their weeks of summer pottery class.