27 March 2013

Wednesday Works - Ceramic Masks - 5th grade

I like working on mask projects as far away from October as possible.  My theory is to stray away from the Halloween masks and onto a more multicultural approach when we look at traditional masks resources from various cultures. 

After looking at our examples and sketching out some ideas, student had two class periods to work with clay slabs which they draped over Styrofoam face forms.   We've found with past experience, the face forms as best used if they are inside a plastic bag.  That way we can unwrap the bag and pop the mask out of the clay when it's getting to the leather-hard stage and it won't cause any (hopefully) damage to the clay mask.  

While day one was for the basic face shapes and feature details, day two was all about textures!  Carving into clay is much easier when it has a bit of time to set up.  Even though our masks had been stored in plastic bags for a week until the students had art class again, the clay was at just the right stage to allow some very fine detail carvings.

Drying and firing until the students returned on day three and we began glazing. 

 I find these trays come in handy in so many different ways in my room.  For this lesson, the students place ready to be fired projects on the trays, while unfinished pieces are returned to the storage shelves.   I only place things in the kiln that are sitting on the trays. 

A finishing step for our masks is often the favorite (especially when I pull out bottles of glitter).   Decorative details are added with students choice of various crafting materials.  Pom-poms, glitter, buttons, beads, feathers, yarn, and pipe cleaners just to name a few.

I haven't been posting detailed lesson plans along with our Wednesday Works series this year, I've been working through my binder and rewriting and revamping different parts of each lesson we use.   Mainly to add working facts (for a substitute to follow along more easily, as a reminder to me for when I need to add info or materials, etc.), but also to put on paper my adaptations and enrichment steps for different case scenarios. 

It's getting to the crazy days now.  The 4th marking period always seems to be the most confusing (with schedule changes), the most inspiring, and definitely most messy part of the school year.  I try to just hang on and worry about the clean up steps when it's all over!

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