Students always love working with clay. It is one of the best ways to get students engaged in a lesson. Because of this, it's a great medium to learn and practice other art elements. In this unit, students in 3rd grade were able to review shapes, both geometric and organic, along with discussing texture and learning a bit about a contemporary artist.
This lesson was first introduced to me by one of my best student teachers. When her time was up, I continued the project with a group of students that were behind and I repeated it the following year.. Students were first introduced to the artist Kimmy Cantrell. We looked at some of his sculptures and talked about what students saw in his works. The students were great at picking out many elements and concepts in the work.
After introducing the sculptural faces of Cantrell, the students were instructed to draw out an abstract face inspired by his works. They used black crayons to do this. We reviewed texture and use rubbing plates to color in different sections of the drawing with different textures.
Some wonderful finished works! The first is my example.
Another great option to this project would be creating holes in the clay to add nails or wire to the work after it was finished.
Do you have any other great clay projects that help reinforce shape with students?
Theresa Gillespie spent over 20 years teaching Art in the Moline School District in Illinois. She has a BA degree in Art Education and a MEd degree in Education & Technology. She also is a graduate level instructor for The Art of Education