Fourth grade just finished a challenging clay project. I found these amazing clay totems at a blog called Ceramics 283. The photos were so inspiring I wanted to try a version of this with my students. It was definitely a challenge for them but they loved it. If I am going to do it next year I will make some modifications for sure. The most challenging parts were making a sturdy base and beads that would fit on the wooden dowel.
After looking at some of the totem photos kids sketched some ideas. Some chose to do a theme and some just a variety of shapes. Each totem had a base, beads and a topper. The project took a lot longer than I had thought. Many kids needed to restart their beads because the hole they made was to small. The firing also took longer because I had to use bead racks and those take longer to load in the kiln. We finally finished and the kids were happy with the results. My students photograph all of their artwork to a website called Artsonia where they each have a digital portfolio. They also have the option of titling their work and leaving comments. I thought this comment summed up the project very well.