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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Friday, January 1, 2016

6th Grade Greek Pottery (Traditional and Modern)

While I was doing my long term substitute teaching at Amherst Middle School last spring, I wanted to tie a couple of art lessons to what the students were learning in their other courses. I had missed the Egyptian unit in Social Studies (they covered that before my time), but I was there for their study of ancient Greece. I thought they might like to learn about ancient pottery.

Look at this pot design-how cool is this?!
 I gave them a presentation on Greek pottery (a PowerPoint presentation that introduced styles such as Geometric, Red Figure, Black Figure and White Ground) and I found it helpful to give the students a double-sided graphic organizer that would help them take notes on the presentation. After my presentation, I left the following link open for the students to play around with: Greek Pot Painter from the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. It's an interactive website the students can use to learn more about Greek Pottery.

This double-sided graphic organizer followed my talk
exactly and was easy for the students to fill out
as I went through the slide show.



Students then created two pot designs: one traditional Greek pottery design using traditional pot shapes and imagery and another pot design using a modern pot shape and imagery. The students had lots of fun designing both!

I then showed them how to use oil pastels and watered down tempera paint to make their own scratch boards. When the scratch boards were dry, students could choose to scratch one of their designs into the scratchboard (this is loosely based on sgraffito where potters scratch designs into colored slip). The great thing about doing this project is that the 6th graders took a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts during this time and saw actual Greek pottery on display--they thought that was so cool!

These came out so neat--definitely a keeper!

Here's our Greek Cupboard full of wonderful Greek pottery!
The pot on the right was inspired by Minoan Pottery
(I showed the students the famous Octopus pottery from that region) 

I like how this pot has multiple layers of imagery.

These pots have some unique shapes and designs inspired by nature.

The middle pot shows an alien abduction! So clever!

Some students worked very hard to create detailed imagery
depicting soldiers or mythological beings and then painstakingly
scratched their designs onto the boards. So great!

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