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Thursday, March 17, 2011


1st grade is learning about basic clay techniques such a making a pinch pot and 'scratch and attaching'. But wait, we didn't just make some boring pinch pot, we made MONSTER PINCH POTS!

First pull off a small ball (off the large ball they are given) of clay for eyes, horns, teeth etc. How many eyes is it going to have? Teeth? Put that to the side. I showed students how to really roll that clay into a ball. Next, stick it on your thumb! Then, while your thumb is still in it, pinch the clay around and around with your remaining fingers while keeping your thumb inside.  Students noticed that the opening became bigger and bigger! Then sit it on it side on the canvas mat.

After the pinch pot is made, turn pinch pot on side so it turns into a 'monster mouth!Make sure you pulled off a 2 inch balls worth amount to hold aside for eyes, teeth, spikes or whatever else is needed.

I had containers already at each table that included, square white sheets of paper (name and class), pencils (to write name on), wooden stylus' (to poke into clay for eyes and detail),  and plastic knives (for 'scratching and attaching' texture into clay to keep things stuck together). I had the students FIRST go to their place, write their name and class on the paper (they usually forget otherwise due to intense excitement of playing with clay!)on the paper. THEN they came up got a square piece of pre cut canvas (clay mat) and a ball of clay.

Next, let's do the eyes. I told the students, one thing you always have to remember: Scratch and attach! Scratch and attach! We turned it into a chant and repeated it over and over. I said, "Here's what happens if you don't scratch and attach". I showed how the clay eye ball falls right off the pinch pot. So if you attach what do you have to do?" "SCRATCH AND ATTACH!!!"-Students 

I then showed students that clay likes to really stick to something to make sure it stays on. I showed how by taking a sharper tool, like the knife or wooden stylus, scratchy scratch into the clay so that it has sharp teeth, then do the same to what you're going to 'attach' onto the pinch pot. So I did the same to the eye and then really stuck them together and even smoothed around so you know it would stay. Then I did the shake test, I held it upside down to shake and nothing fell off this time!

We talked about 'scratch and attach' before we worked with the clay. I showed how you needed to scratch into the clay with a sharp tool in the area where you wanted to 'attach' something and also scratch the item (eyeball, horns, teeth)'s area where it would be attached. That way they have a 'toothed' scratchy surface to stick to each other when you press them together. I showed students what would happen if it's not attached (it falls right off) too!

Student scratching onto an area on the tooth where it will be attached.


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