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kidstuff update

updated sun 30 jun 96 on fri 7 jun 96

Hi Folks,

I'm back from the "dead". Our computer decided it was time for a mental
health holiday and simply stopped working on May 4 or so. But the
miracles of modern science gave it a new brain (wish that wwould work for
me!) and we're back. We had 863 clayart messages...still working through

Kidstuff: We had five classes over the month of May. I had six kids, two
boys and 4 girls. The girls were very attentive and worked hard and were
interested. The boys got bored after about 45 minutes and admitted that
this wasn't their first choice and they'd rather have done 3-D computer
rendering. When they started to throw clay at the walls, I found a soccer
ball and they played outside! But at the next class, they got right into
clay masks, and did some really creative work.

It was structured like this: Class was right after lunch, from 1:00 to
2:40. This was too long, I thought. The kids were ages 9-11, it was
sunny outside, and the idea of being cooped up inside, sitting down and
making stuff was too much (you should know that it had been raining
steadily here for EIGHT months, and we ALL wanted to be outside!). But we
all found a solution after the second class, and we took a break halfway
through and went outside and ran around.

The course had an overall structure: Ist class: make a slump bowl or cup;
2nd class: make a clay whistle; 3rd class: make a mask; 4th class: decorate
your stuff, plus some tiles I made up for a group mural; 5th class: set up
the art show.

Of course, all of this was very flexible. Whenever any of them said, "Do I
HAVE to make..." I said no, you can make whatever you want. Some of them
needed direction, others used their prodigious imaginations. The clay
whistles were tricky, and I ended up making all of them while the kids made
other stuff. There was tremendous variation in what they were capable of,
and in their self-confidence. One of the boys was very open and just TRIED
things. The other boy would work on one thing for the 45 minutes, and then
start cleaning up his space, saying he was finished.

When I went to help set up the art show, the variety of stuff the other
kids did was really insspiring. THere were puppets, papire-mache masks
with fish-shaped bodies attached, wooden airplanes, soapstone sculptures,
watercolour paintings, cedar-pulp masks and handmade paper...really great!

I think the kids really appreciated being allowed to just play with the
clay, intstead of being told to make it THIS way. I think they ended up
learning without knowing it, and I think that also give them a chance to
excercise their imagination muscles, and give them the self-confidence to
know they HAVE imagination...If it were older kids, I would have made it a
little more structured, but I tried to imagine being 9 years old, and what
would I have wanted....

I get to go and see the show all set up today - I think it'll be fun!