Thursday, November 10, 2011

What about clay?

First days with clay in my classroom.
Natural red clay.

I love watching children explore this for the first time. A big ball of clay.
What to do?
How to touch it?

Should you use two tools at once?
We have more tools...why can't we have more hands?

We practiced making little balls and bigger balls, rolling the clay in the palm of the hand.

We soon realized that the really big clumps of clay required us to roll them on the canvas placemat, with the leverage of the table top, in order to create a ball.

Children happily created clay pizzas, cookies, and other fun shapes.

Clay triangles, circles, squares.
I made a snake!” one child shouted, showing us several itsy bitsy snake pieces. And then he showed us how he pressed and whirled the clay - demonstrating, wordlessly, totally engaged.

We used the end of tools to make patterns all over the clay.

The children have loved pounding the clay with fists and special hammers.
One hammer makes three holes!
One makes a big rectangle!
One makes it flat!
One makes one hole!

Hammer! Bang!
How good this is for my frisky friends.

This new center has been a big hit. The children have enjoyed this natural material, and have been very responsible with its care. I have been impressed with the “buzz” in the classroom as the children work with this material – calm chatter, happy faces, and focused movements. They work with the clay on canvas placemats, using a variety of tools. At the end of center time, they roll their creations up into a ball, so that the clay can be used again another day.

Here's to further clay exploration...seeing how their creations change over time.

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