Clay Busts in Fifth Grade

This project is always one I enjoy because I think it brings out the best in the boys.  The boys feel free to experiment a little and bring a little craziness to their bust I don’t always see with other projects.  Clay seems to be the medium most boys thrive with.  Don’t get me wrong … the girls do  great job too, but some boys really struggle with drawing and painting and all those fine motor skill activities and clay helps them realize they are creative and artistic!  It’s just like playing in the sand box or in the mud at the creek!

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By the time they are ready to do clay 3-d heads, students have not only used clay before, but we have talked a lot about the map of the face – where the features belong (did you know your eyes are really in the middle of your head – not up towards your forehead?!?!) and keeping things in proportion.  After some review on all these subjects, they are ready to rock and roll!  This project is one that ties a lot of concepts together and students are able to pretty much just enjoy what they are doing and everyone is successful!

The clay I use is gray, self-drying clay (a day or 2) and I try to give everyone a pretty generous amount.  A 25 pd brick breaks out to at least 65 students.  I purchase it at Blick Art.  Students can paint or Sharpie details on if they like after the clay dries.

Of course, our most valuable tool when using clay is our hands, but I also give students a simple toothpick, the sculpture tools I make from clothespins and a hook of paper clip, and it just wouldn’t be complete without the garlic press for cool hair.  I like using plates for the clay.  It really keeps the desks clean and helps with clean-up.


Filed under Clay, Faces, ~Blog~

2 responses to “Clay Busts in Fifth Grade

  1. Kelly Hilton

    I love this project Laura. I just used this same kind of clay for the first time last week and I wish I had used your paper plate suggestion because we made quite a mess. The kids made such great faces. Do you have images that you use to inspire them?

    • Plates really do help, as well as reminding them that their most valuable tool with clay is their hands and that is where the clay should pretty much stay. (-: I would love to see what your class made with their clay! I have a model example of a head and that is pretty much it. I like to see what they create and tell them that their only limitation is that it needs to be a human head. I allow a tv character, as long as it is “human”. There is never a student who is stumped for ideas! Glad you are still teaching 4/5 and at Walnut Grove. I hope our paths cross soon! Hugs …

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