Clay relief letters. Clay is such an engaging material to work with.  I want to make sure every grade gets an experience with clay even our kindergarteners.  However clay can be hard to manipulate for such tiny hands and many people opt to use alternative modeling clays like model magic. I use to do this to, but I began to feel that my kindergarteners were missing out.  So I created this lesson full of small manageable steps (INCLUDING SCORING AND SLIPPING CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!). 

Day1: Experimenting

We learn how to mold and manipulate clay through guided instruction. We learn to roll spheres and cylinders.  We learn to pinch, poke, pull apart and flatten our clay. Then students have the rest of the time to experiment independently.

Day 2: Making an ABC Plaque

Every single step is a separate demonstration, so the kindergarteners are doing a lot of back and forth to the demo table. First students flatten the clay with their hands and rolling pins.  Then I trace a square or rectangle onto their clay.  They next use a pizza cutter to follow the line and cut out their shape.  Next the kids write their letter into the clay gently but big.  After they roll out a long snake. Then we score and slip the snake and the letter we wrote in the clay (they do this pretty well, but I do go around and make sure they are scratching perpendicular to the letter and not just dig into the letter). Last they take their snakes and make attach them atop their scored letters.  

Students in my animation senior academy (friday elective) created an original story for their final claymation.  We unfortunately ran out of time to complete it and to fine tune, but it’s still pretty amazing.  The students created everything from the backgrounds to the clay characters. 

Clay Pinch Pots created by 1st grade. This is air drying clay. Sadly no kiln, but perhaps one day!  I used gloss Mod Podge to coat these.  i tried to mix gloss Mod Podge with water and dip them in to speed up the process, but it didn’t make them glossy enough, so these were coated with a brush.  Perhaps I need more Mod Podge or just plain  Mod Podge for dipping. They almost look like something from the sea because we tried to create finger print textured pots. To help the 1st graders with the technique for pinching I showed them what I call the “Peace Sign Pinch”.  We make a peace sign and use those fingers for pinching on the outside. It worked pretty well!