Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wizards at Santa Fe Trail Elementary

The 6th graders at Santa Fe Trail Elementary brought their creativity to bear last week making wizards out of stoneware clay. Wizards are a project I usually introduce to 6th graders since the construction requires skills the younger students haven’t mastered yet.
First, there are a variety of hand building skills that students are usually just getting the hang of by now. For instance, rolling large slabs of clay and forming them into a structure that can support additional weight and detail work. The body of the wizard is a thin slab wrapped around a bottle and it must be just thin enough not to tear but not too thick that the clay can’t be formed easily into the body. Students also have to understand the concept of slip to attach all the hair for their wizard’s beard and manipulate the thin strands of clay so it sticks well without being smashed as they add it to the sculpture.
The other key skill students need before they tackle wizards is patience and the ability to focus. The process of making a wizard is multi-stepped and detailed. While 1st and 2nd graders can usually pay attention long enough to finish an oogly, students need to be older to concentrate on a project like wizards. The 6th graders at Santa Fe Trail did a fantastic job of following directions and staying focused on their projects. The proof is in the outstanding results.
We also had visitors from the Kansas City Star at Santa Fe Trail last week. You can check out the story and photos from their visit at their website. You can also see more photos of all the great pieces made by the young artists at Santa Fe Trail at our photo gallery on Facebook.

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