I made copies from the book "Decorative Tile Designs Coloring Book" and laminated them so each table had a reference point for designs. Some students knew exactly what designs they wanted to do and other students really struggled, so having these reference points helped a lot. This also lead into teaching about medieval stained glass windows. We also watched a short video about Buddhist mandalas (which my 6th graders REALLY got into!)
Age: 6th graders
Time required: 4 (50 min.) class periods for construction & 3 (50 min.) class periods for painting/finishing
I created videos for each step of this project's process. These were my first instructional videos, so they are somewhat rough. I made these videos because we are limited on space and resources in the classroom. I also find that videos are much more engaging for students than a live demo. I had each class vote on whether I should do live demonstrations or videos and ALL the kids voted for the videos. It saves my voice too.
1st Step ~ Planning the Clay Tile (with Buddhist Mandalas for inspiration)
Some students used mica flakes after they had finished glossing their tiles. This added a unique sparkly effect while avoiding craft herpes (glitter).
The Artist Statement
I also had students write a one-paragraph artist statement answering the following questions:
- What techniques did you use when making your tile?
- What will your clay tile be used for? (Function vs. Decoration)
- What would you change about your tile? What was challenging?
- What went well when making your tile?
- Do you think painting your tile made your design look better? Why or why not?
The statement was low pressure as I told students they were graded for content and not spelling/grammar errors. This statement was part of my assessment to check for understanding.
We finished these right before winter break. Some students were very excited to wrap their tiles up in newspaper and take them home as Christmas presents. I stole some paint sample chips from the local hardware store and hole-punched them in the corner. I told students they could use the paint samples as gift tags. They turned out so cool!