Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

As I have mentioned plenty of times, we have a great elementary art teacher group in our district. We have worked hard to share ideas and meet on a regular basis. In our last meeting the conversation of pinch pots came up because it is a 1st grade requirement through out our district. It was discussed that some students always make the rim too thin. One of my co workers casually said, 'Well the kids have already made the pot twice before they even touch the clay.' I thought about Bill's comment a bit and then looked at our share site where we place lessons. Bill had a pinch pot lesson on the site. It is simple and to the point and made all the difference this year. He brings them visually through the pinch pot method with the image below. Then, he give them 'air clay' (pretend) and they make an invisible pot. Finally, they make the pot from clay. Hummm, Bill was right! Way right! I paired this up with the '5 ways to get to know your clay' and it was a pretty rock'n lesson. So to you Bill… THANK!

image created and by Bill Hammer


  1. If time permits, my youngest artists (K-2) practice clay moves with plasticine clay the week before using ceramic clay because -I agree- practice makes perfect!
    When I was teaching my 2nd graders the pinch pot method as part of their fish sculpture, I told them that the pinch pot form was a 'thumbs-only' club - no fingers allowed inside and the thumb stays in deep to hide from the fingers. All the kids could relate to boys-only or girls-only 'clubs'! 'Thumbs only' helped to keep the sides of the pot straighter & a thicker top edge...check out my blog in the weeks to come for pix of their work: handsheadnheart.blogspot

  2. When comes to clay one thing matters more than others!
    Practice, practice, practice.
    I did a lesson on the pinch pot lesson which I will definitely have to repeat :)

    Thanks for sharing the Bill Hammer pictures.

  3. oh, nice illustration! thanks so much for sharing!

  4. I do something similar to Nancie Kay. I make up a big batch of play dough before introducing ceramic clay, and we spend a day exploring and practicing "clay skills". Students show that they can roll a smooth ball between their palms, press out a pancake, roll a "snake", make a pinch pot, and join to little pots to make a bubble. When everyone has a handle on these skills with play dough we move on to ceramic clay. I begin talking to them about managing the consistency of their clay (not too wet, not too dry).
    I love the thumbs only club. Keeping the fingers on the outside of the pot is key.

  5. I have my pre-K make elbow pots instead of pinch pots, then kindergarten make pinch pots twice, once as a container, and then a pinch pot flipped over makes a lady bug. then in first grade this year we made pinch pot pigs (not super successful) and tall pinch pot owls(they are beautiful!!

    I will be posting them soon, I just started blogging

  6. The poster with the steps to the pinch pot you posted is SUCH a valuable resource, thank you for posting!

    What Would You Do with a Pinch Pot? Check this post out for some ideas!

    Jessica Balsley