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Architecture in Clay

Elementary: 5th GradeReference: School Arts Magazine

Big Idea: Architectural Designs |

Recreating your safe space


Students will be learning about historical architecture and use clay to create their own architectural relief. We will start by looking at Greek geometric architecture and more organic forms. We will also discuss Frank Lloyd Wright's modern works. Inspired by the various artworks we looked art, students will then chose a location/ house/ environment that is special to them; somewhere that makes them feel safe. They will start by sketching out what this place looks like to them. When it is time to work with clay, I will demonstrate basic techniques such as rolling a slab with a "rolling pin" (wooden dowel provided in take home kits), how to slip and score two pieces of clay together, and how to add texture to pieces of clay. Students will then mirror to show their understanding of the techniques. They will roll their slabs and add architectural forms such as doors, windows, roofs, and pay special attention to details. Students will leave two holes at the top of their pieces for display purposes. After the first firing, students will have the opportunity to explore painting with underglazes and glaze their pieces clear. After glazing, students will be put into pairs to work on writing an artist statement. This will give them the opportunity to exercise their "artist voice" and discuss why these places are special to them.


Responding to art:

Students will be able to effectively analyze the work of Greek architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mary Nohl and use this knowledge to create their own work of art in clay

Developing works of art (technical skill):

Students will be able to show their understanding of how to design and then transfer their sketches into a 3D object. They will then create their version of a safe space out of clay and use their new vocabulary in the process. Lastly, students will have a better understanding of the kiln firing process and how to glaze their pieces.

Relating works to context (meaning making):

Students will be able to create a clay slab architectural form that is their version of a safe space. This communicates students understanding of how to transfer a 2D sketch into a 3D object, how architectural forms are created, and how to embellish their pieces.

Elements and Principles

Color, form, line, shape, layering, pattern, design

Summative/ Formative Assessment

Formative: Teacher observation

Summative: Exit ticket (PDF to the left)

Materials and Supplies

All materials were provided in take home kits picked up at the beginning of the year. Wooden dowel (pin roller) Smoothing tool Bag of clay Slip container Needle Tool Paintbrush Fettling knife Any extra texture tools


relief glaze firing clay rolling pin plastic loop tool leather hard needle tool bone dry fettling knife slip & score bisque firing texture slab layering

Special Accommodations

I will be choosing 3 exceptional needs scenarios to expand upon about special resources needed.


If a student is struggling with understanding the directions to the project and the materials, I will pull them aside and make sure they understand my expectations for them. This means using simple and straightforward language, NOT talking down to them. I will make sure that the student understands one step before continuing on to the next. I must be considerate about how I deliver the information to students with difficulties with understanding. They often get overwhelmed and feel like they are being bombarded with information so it is important to take it slow. Even creating a straightforward checklist helps students understand their steps to finishing a project.

Orthopedic restrictions:

When working with students who have an orthopedic restrictions, it's important to make sure they have a positive self image. If a student is struggling with this, it is critical to make sure to reach out and tell them how important they are to class discussions and to all of their peers! Without this sense of importance and community, students can feel lost and alone. A positive mindset is everything! Another scenario would be if a student struggles with movement. An easy solution would be to make sure they are equipped with supplies and materials in a close vicinity. Any assistance will be given as needed. Teachers should be sensitive to signs of strain but also motivate and encourage their own independence whenever feasible.

Emotional Disturbance:

Students struggling with emotional disturbance can be tricky, but it's important to stick with them because they need us the most! If a student is showing signs of cynicism or lacking working philosophy, we have to think about how we can change that student's outlook on life. Sometimes cases like these are due to lack of a positive influence, so it's important to be that influence for said student. Widen the students world! Encouraging discussions, presentations, inviting classroom speakers, and taking them on field trips are all good examples of this. Let students learn from your own experiences (i.e. if you have a special interest like sports or video games, share it with your students! They love knowing small personal information like that to get to know you better. This also helps in gaining their respect and trust, proving that you're only there to help them. This lesson is spaced out to give ultimate work time to students! I will be circling around giving assistance when needed and will also be giving special one on one time for students who need help with deciding on what safe place to create. There will also be added time for those who need it.


The learning supports I decided to use to scaffolding this project include handouts with step by step instructions and vocabulary words, an exit ticket evaluating students feelings towards the lesson, a demo video, and a powerpoint with examples of artists who work in architectural forms. With these types of learning supports, kinesthetic and verbal learners will be well equipped to understand the lesson in multiple ways. Not all students learn the same way so this is important to incorporate the Theory of Multiple Intelligences when considering what kind of scaffolding to use for your lessons. One of the most important things to remember during curriculum building is the Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences. This theory suggests that traditional views of intelligence are too limited. Gardner first outlined his theory where he suggested that all people have different kinds of "intelligences."Gardner proposed that there are eight intelligences; visual-spatial, linguistic-verbal, logistic-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic intelligence. He has also suggested the possible addition of a ninth known as "existentialist intelligence." In order to capture the full range of abilities and talents that students possess, you must consider all of these intelligences to cover the broad range of learners. Students who struggle with remembering directions or how to do the project will greatly benefit from things the handouts. Not all students will appreciate these, so it might be discouraging, but it's a good lesson to show everyone because referencing instructions is a key part of education! This type of scaffolding can also be used in other classes, so students will be familiar with keeping important handouts close! When it comes to verbal learners, things like presentations with powerpoints are helpful. Having this type of visual reference can also assist visual learners as well. One of the most important things I take into consideration when creating a lesson plan is what I wish I could have experienced in my education. I wish my teachers would have given handouts with visuals because that's what I needed to be successful. I also remember lacking structure and assistance, something that is definitely needed, especially for the younger aged students. These are all things I hope I can provide for my students.


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