My first graders made pinch pots. We studied Mexican pottery made by the Nahua Native Americans from Central Mexico. They learned how to roll the clay into a sphere, push their thumb into the sphere to make a hole, and pinch with all four fingers while they turn it. Then, they learned how to shape the rim of the pot, and use a finger tip of water to smooth the surface of the clay. Finally, they glazed them using a pattern for their surface design. On the day they get them back, the students do an observational drawing. We talk about how to make something look 3D when drawing. The students love to work with clay!
My 2nd graders made clay animal sculptures. We build off of their clay technique from 1st grade. They start by making a pinch pot and turn it into the body of the animal. I teach a variety of clay techniques such as, pinch, score, slip, bond, coil, additive, and subtractive. After the sculptures come out of the kiln the students glaze them. When I give them back, in class they do an observational drawing of their sculpture, and they write a Cinquain poem about their animal. They love this project!