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Objectives and Introduction
For these clay lesson plans, students will create a hero from clay, interview one another about their hero, learn about modern day heroes, and describe the characteristics of a hero.
Art Lesson: Clay Heroes
If you have a cape today is the day to wear it. Dress up like a hero, your choice. When the students walk in they will obviously get excited and start making assumptions about the theme of the day. Tell them to take out their notebooks and answer the question, “What does it take to be a hero?"
After approximately 5 minutes begin a conversation with your students about the characteristics of a hero. Some examples include the man who dove onto subway tracks to save another’s life, the man who saved a women whose parachute wouldn’t open. Rosa Parks, who refused to be discriminated against any longer, is another good example. There are, or course, many more examples. Allow this conversation to transition into their idea.
If you are teaching in a public school you should be aware that some students, when asked to create their hero, will make a religious figure of some sort. You may want to talk to your administrators before beginning these clay lesson plans, to get a clear understanding on the school's stance on religion in the classroom.
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We Make Our Heroes From the Very Earth Itself!
As part of this art lesson plan, clay should be mentioned as having always been integral within the art of ceramics since its inception. Potteries began along rivers where the clay beds lay. Clay was, and in some ways is still, used in the formation of tile, bricks, dishware, musical instruments, and dams.
- Modeling clay, a variety of colors is best
- Aluminum foil
- Wire cutters
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The Hero Emerges
Instruct the students that they are going to begin by creating an outline of their hero with wire. They will each receive wire and wire cutters. Any inappropriate or dangerous use of these items will result in a failing grade. Pass out the wire and wire cutters. Using the wire, have the students create an approximate shape of their hero.
Pass out the aluminum foil to your students and have them attach it to the wire outline to help create the shape they are imagining. The aluminum foil can help to shape the limbs, head, torso, etc.
When students are completed with their outlines have them gather some clay and place it on the outline in a neutral color. Have them cover all visible wire. Then allow them access to any colored clay you have and let them sculpt facial features and details in their work.
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The interview is a critical piece of the clay art lesson plan. Begin the interview when all students are finished have them learn more about their fellow students by conducting art interviews. Having a volunteer come to the front of class to be interviewed will give students a better understanding of how the interview should be conducted. Ask them:
- Who is that?
- Why did you choose that hero?
- What characteristics does that person have that makes them a hero?
Then have students divide into groups of two and have them interview at least three other people writing their answers down.
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What Did They Learn?
If all has gone well you will have completed clay models for all your students, they will have had a lot of fun, and will have learned a thing or two about what it takes to be a hero.
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Wikimedia Commons / Nard the Bard / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rosaparks.jpg
Wikimedia Commons / mschel / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wire_cutter.png