The artistic realm is an area of my teaching that I have always had to work hard at to bring to my students. Though I enjoy painting, drawing and working with clay, it is not something that has come naturally in my teaching. Because of this I am grateful when I discover a good resource for bringing the arts to my students.
Learning About the World Through Modeling by Arthur Auer is just one of these resources. In this book Auer goes through the grades and suggests lessons for modeling with clay that come from the curriculum. He not only gives an idea for what the students and teacher can create, but he indicates how to build up the object, step by step. With his instructions, a hen evolves quite naturally beginning with an egg and then slowly transforming, step by step, into a chicken.
There are about five projects per grade — enough to create a small block of clay modeling to replace the weekly painting class for a block. I’m finding late January, the doldrums of winter, a perfect time to liven up our lessons with this new content.
One word of caution: I believe that Auer suggests not working with clay until fourth grade and keeping the modeling work with beeswax until after the nine-year-change. Because of this, I’m not sure that his book gives indications for modeling before grade four. I’ll keep my recommendation here for grade four and up.