What “Life” Lessons Have Your Students Learned While Working With Sculpey Clay?

Life lessons and Sculpey clay! 

Art class is definitely the place to make discoveries, express yourself, and find new ways to communicate. Each medium has its moments. My students and I learned a lot of life lessons while using Sculpey clays to create beads for a bracelet project.

Recently my firstie friends came to class full of wonder and ready to learn. They were so excited to learn that they were going to make their own beads to put into a bracelet! We learned a lot along the way while making our beads. We loved using the Sculpey Bake Set. The colors are bright and happy just like my first graders!

So many life lessons...

There is history in everything.

I introduced the lesson with a brief look at a bead and asked students what they noticed about it.  I then revealed that the bead was very old! From over six hundred years ago, it was made of glass, made in Venice, Italy and beads like this were traded all over the world! We’re not just making a fun craft; we were carrying on a historic tradition.

We need to work together.

While making our beads we first had to come together at the demonstration table. Everyone had to listen at the same time, no small feat for extra excited first graders. Students eagerly listened to the demonstration about how they could choose two colors, and either mix them part-way to create a marbling effect or mix them all the way to create a new color. 

Let the cookie crumble. 

As we talked about creating a marbling effect. I mixed blue and green, to which many of my students happily said “earth!”. They were exactly right; the little blue and green ball looked just like earth. I also mixed red and white and blended it together all the way, I asked what color it would make and many students said “pink”! But it turned out to be sort of orangie. I took this time to remind students that if they mixed their colors together all the way they might get something unexpected. 

Be patient.

Students got in line at my table to choose two different colors to mix to create their bead. I sliced up beautiful bright colors as my excited students looked on, happy to have a choice! Students had to be thoughtful about their color choices. But all of this took time. Students had to wait in line and practice patience until they had their magic moment, and it was their turn to choose. 

Follow, follow, follow directions!

Once my firsties got to their tables to start independent work, they were on their own. They had watched, they had listened, they had discussed, they had asked questions and made tons of comments. But now they had to work on their project, smooshing clay just a little or all the way together. They had to roll it into a sphere and not leave it a blobby. I was glad to see my students do such a wonderful job concentrating on the task, resulting in beautiful beads that are ready to be baked.

Be flexible (this one’s for the teacher)

At the end of class my students had created beautiful beads they are itching to be made into bracelets during next class. I was nervous at first using this kind of clay with first graders. I thought that this was a “big kid” medium but was pleasantly surprised and definitely will expand and grow the lessons that use Sculpey clay. Even the teachers are still learning life lessons. 

Blog written by Elizabeth Fleming- Sculpey Teacher Ambassador

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