Kindergarten Snowmen (Clay)

So now that it is spring break I am finally sending home the Kindergarten clay snowmen!  We started these back before winter break, but between snow days, sick days, bisque fires, and glaze fires it took a while.

To start this project I talk with the students about clay expectations - if they throw their clay or poke anyone with the needle tool they are done for the day - safety comes first!

Next I do a demonstration on how to roll, pull, poke, and smush clay while I make a snowman.  To keep the pieces together I teach the students how to score and slip their clay.  I explain this step by step and have the students mimic with their hands.  I first show them how when you stick to pieces to clay together they might stick for a little while and then they fall apart.  I ask them to take their hands and put them together flat, like they are clapping, and ask them to take them apart.  They often comment on how easy it was to take them apart!  Next I show how to make score marks -- tic tac toe boards on top of each other or "X"s.  Then I show them how to add just a little bit of slip - not too much.  I then squish these pieces together and show how hard it is to pull them apart.  The students then take their hands, wiggling their fingers and interlace their fingers together - then I ask them, without unfolding their fingers, to take their hands apart - they agree it is much harder. (there is always one kid that unfolds their fingers and exclaims how easy it was).  All in all, I have found this a great way to help them understand the need and importance of scoring and slipping their clay.

As the students build their snowmen I travel around writing their name and teacher on the bottom and making sure there are holes for their arms! 

When we clean up the tools go back on the cart, the snowman goes to a designated "done"spot and hands are washed.

When all the kindergarten students were done making their snowmen and they were all dried to a nice greenware state I put them in the kiln to be fired.

To glaze these I placed small containers of white, orange, and black on the tables.  The students and I talked about the importance of being safe since their snowmen would break if dropped.  They asked lots of questions and when they were all answered they were off painting.  I had to remind them many times that the glaze would be light colored now, but BRIGHT and shiny next time.

Again, once all the kindergarten students were done glazing (which took the longest because a lot of kids were out sick) I fired them one last time.

Before the snowmen could go home we had to give them arms!  I called them up one at a time to get their snowmen and let them pick out some pipe cleaners (chenille sticks) to put in their arm holes.  The students had a good time not only picking their colored arms but bending them into all sorts of silly things.  One student made their snowman linking arms with another snowmen at their table, another student had their snowman picking it's nose, and even another student had both arms above it's head like a ballerina. 

These were a huge hit - even the snowmen that were glazed all black or didn't look like snowmen in the beginning had a lot of character in the end!

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