Clay Curriculum

The following are the Power Standards that I follow during the month of January. In January, all elementary teachers in our district are working with clay at the same time. We do not spread it out through the year. We do all grade levels in one month.

Each month, our art department plans together beforehand to share ideas. As the department facilitator, make a planning matrix that helps everyone brainstorm ideas. We meet weekly as a department to collaborate. It’s wonderful. Wouldn’t you love to have the masterminds of 7 amazing art teachers each week to help you refine your practice? Throw in a little organization from yours truly to gather our thoughts, and we are truly an unstoppable team!

Here is an example of the ideas we generated according to the above Power Standards for our month of clay in January.

I hope these ideas get you thinking of new clay projects and the important clay methods that can be taught through each project.

Below are the projects that I chose to do for each grade level…As you can see, each teacher can choose the project they want, as long as it fulfills the skill for that grade.

Kindergarten and 1st Grade: Variety of Pinch Pot Projects

2nd Grade: Coil Pots in Red Earthenware Clay

3rd Grade: Slab Clay Castles

4th Grade: Thiebaud Inspired Clay Cupcake Containers

5th Grade: Pop Art Clay Food

So, there you have it. A clay curriculum with a little bit for everyone.

If you are looking for in-depth information about how to build a ceramics program at your school, look no further than Art Ed PRO! John Post will take you through everything you need to know in the Building a Ceramics Program Learning Pack. We also have Learning Packs that cover Hand-Built Ceramics and Critical Kiln Safety. Don’t miss them!

Do you get any common planning time with other art teachers? Tell me about it!

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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