Monday, June 6, 2016

First Grade Clay Penguins

I think Instagram has surpassed Pinterest in usefulness for me. Since Pinterest keeps adding pins of things THEY think will be interesting to me and things that THEY think I'll want to buy, half my feed is essentially junk. Conversely, there are a lot of art teachers who post relevant, real life lessons, ideas, and observations on Instagram daily. I've gotten a good amount of new lesson ideas this year from Instagram and I've had great success with them. If you want frequent updates from my classroom, follow me on Instagram @thomas_elementary_art

One Instagram post by another teacher (@mrsallainart) inspired this new first grade clay lesson. I always base my first grade ceramics project on the pinch pot. This project included a wide, shallow pinch pot as well as a simple penguin. Penguin details (wings & beak) were added by simply smoothing clay together. The penguins were scored to attach to the base. The sculpture portion was pretty fun and not too difficult for my first graders, but the killer part of the lesson was the ice. 

I bisque fired the penguins after they had been sculpted. I then added several blue decorative glass marble type things to the base of each penguin. I got the glass from the dollar store. They're not perfectly round, but I would imagine real marbles or even small pieces of other types of glass would work just fine. I re-fired at cone 05 and achieved this sweet ice effect. The glass melted very nicely. I just recommend that you put plenty of glass in. I wound up adding more glass and re-firing the first set that I tried because they needed more glass to cover the bottom. 

This project was a big hit with the first graders and everyone up through 5th grade was super jealous that they didn't get to make one. I guess that's one way of knowing a lesson was successful. 






7 comments:

Mrs. Hahn said...

These are amazing! I'm pinning and would love to try it next year! You do amazing work!

Michelle said...

OH MY GOODNESS-these are so adorable! I love penguin projects and this was a great idea to place them in the water-definitely do this next year!!

Mrs. Nguyen said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

Katherine Carroll said...

I love Penguins and I know my class will too. We are a low funding school and do not have a kiln do you think this would work with air dry clay or do you think it would get to heavy? Thanks!

Zach Stoller said...

Katherine- I think that it should work just fine with air dry clay. Of course you won't be able to melt the glass on the air dry clay, but I was thinking you might be able to add glue with food coloring. Clear glue would probably work pretty well. Good luck!

Selena Whiteside said...

These are awesome! You mention that you fire the glass beads to cone 05, can you tell me what cone you bisque fire to on the first firing? I usually only fire to 06 with my projects.

Zach Stoller said...

Selena- I believe I bisque fired to 06. I typically bisque fire the clay body I use to 05, then glaze at 04.