We recently helped donate lowfire clay and nontoxic glazes to Mrs. Hancock’s classroom so that they could hold family night events to share the kids’ love for art with their families. From Mrs. Hancock:

My Students

The student who led the writing of this proposal is a bright and vibrant 8th grader named Lexi. She looks for ways to be a leader, and seeks out opportunities to take responsibility. Lexi always looks for the positive side of things. She was helped by another student Brianna, who has been working on a complex and beautiful sea goddess sculpture this semester. Brianna is a country girl who raises turkeys. My students are mostly rural, many are in band. They love reading, particularly fantasy. Some are focused more on athletics, and enjoy reading about military history. Everyone is an artist and a teacher. As an artist learns a skill, they teach the next student who wants to use that media. I serve as a guide and resource, but the students design their own projects and set the pace. The girl in the classroom photo is Hannah. Hanna shows livestock, plays the bassoon, loves fashion, is good at weaving and drawing, and surprised me by making this excellent yet macabre demon head. Their imaginations are boundless.

This project developed from my students love of clay and the challenging but positive experiences they had this semester making clay projects with younger students including making clay musical rattles with fifth graders. The 5th grade music classes met while I had class, the 8th graders went in small groups without me throughout the day. They took all the materials with them on a cart so had to carefully plan ahead and be organized. They had no adult help teaching the lesson and working with the younger students one on one. Each group debriefed the next as to what did and didn’t work, what to say & not say, even what hand gestures to make while demonstrating. The teamwork, self-assessment, reflection, judgement, perseverance and willingness to make revisions (and 80 successful rattles) left my students wanting more opportunities to share their knowledge and develop their teaching skills.

My Project

I’m a student in the advanced 8th grade Art II class. Art II is a “choice” class. We design our own projects and can spend a lot of time really focused on one thing if we want. We want to share clay with our families with family clay night. We need more clay and glazes for this so we don’t use up what the other kids need next semester. The usage of clay help students with problem solving and to persevere. It also helps build up our creative minds, so that our artworks aren’t so basic and can be more abstract. We noticed how interested our families were when they came to our after school día de los muertos art show and saw all the clay projects and that gave us an idea- how can we have an evening where we make clay projects with our family? So we are asking to do just that.

This year, Art II students are being teachers too. We were asked to help the 5th graders make clay rattles for their Christmas Concert which they are going to use when they play “Feliz Navidad.” The 5th graders, as well as the Art II students enjoyed making these rattles. We learned a lot about being organized and giving instructions. The clay used in this situation provided a fun time for the school’s youngest students and oldest students to bond. Making these rattles with the 5th graders was also a good way for the 8th grade Art II students to set examples for the younger kids.

We also used our clay for Title 6 students to make bowls and sculptures for our town’s Native American Heritage Festival. This allows our students with native roots to celebrate their heritage and explore themselves. We tell our families about these activities but we want them to experience it too and let us teach them.

Our parents are mostly only in our classrooms at school for parent-teacher conference night which is no fun at all, for anybody! We think it would be great for our families to be the students and let us be the teachers so they can see we are learning so much more than just making things.

With such a great cause, we definitely did not want to pass this opportunity up and as you can see from the photos, everyone had fun at art clay night.