Sunday, June 14, 2015

Six Tips for Glazing Clay in the Classroom

1. I keep the glaze on a table separate from the one used by the students. Spoons are kept on the table to facilitate refills as each class needs them. This job is usually done by me in the lower grades, but the middle school students do their own refills as needed.
2. Every glaze has a number assigned to it. This stays the same every year, since I use pretty much the same colors every year.
3. The glazes are put in six lidded cups that I get at the local Flower Factory outlet, one for each table in the classroom. Each cup is numbered to match the glaze that is inside.

4.The table is covered with a plastic table cover that I use throughout the entire unit. If it becomes too dirty to clean easily, I flip it over and use the reverse side. This really saves on clean up time at the end of each clay day.

5. Since different projects use either red or white low fire clay, there is a sample star for each glaze on both kinds of clay. The name of the glaze color and its number is carved into the back of each star.

6. Each table has rotating responsibility for clean up. Glaze cups are counted, refilled, and capped by two tables. Although each student is responsible for washing his or her brushes as they are used, one table makes sure that all have been cleaned and returned to the brush jars, bristles up, of course! The sink crew makes sure the sink area is dry and no brushes, paper towels, or other debris is left behind. Tables are wiped down, the floor is swept if necessary, and the small trash cans are emptied into the large one.

To be quite honest, it has taken me ten years of trial and error to come up with this system! My classes are often large, as many as 28 students, and we only have 40 minute periods once a week. This works for both large and small classes, and with a few modifications, equally well for all my grade 4-8 classes. Grades 1-3 usually use tempera paints, which I gloss with ModPodge, in order to keep the cost of materials down.

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