Friday, October 26, 2018

Broken Skulls


As it is October, the assignment for the ceramics classes was to make Calaveras (sugar skulls). They had two weeks.

(They were to make two pinch bowls, score & slip them together creating a hollow sphere, and then sculpt that into a Calavera. I get lesson plans like this all the time--plans that make little to no sense to me. I just read it to them and hope they get it.)

As they turned in their skulls on Friday (leaving them out on a shelf), the students in following periods would stop to gawk. A couple of them tried to touch. I got snippy about those that wanted to touch other students' skulls. I could just see someone accidentally breaking another student's two weeks worth of work.

We got through the entire Friday with all the skulls intact.

Then my assignment got extended one more day. (It's a long story about doctor's notes and school bureaucracy.)

Monday's assignment had them writing about their skulls. They were to describe them using the elements and principles.

Well, of course they'd need to have their skulls in front of them for that. And they'd be careful with their own work, right?

Fifth period. A boy raised his hand. He waved me over. He needed to show me something.

Half his skull was rubble. There were several chunks of what had been the face sitting in the hollow of what had been the back of the head.

What had happened? He wasn't entirely sure. All I could think about was how much work he had put into that thing.

I asked him what Mr. P would have him do in this situation. He said he'd get to remake it. Well, okay then...

At least that was only the second skull that got broken that day. (The first one wasn't a big loss. I attempted to get the boy to put more effort into his skull. He didn't see my point.) And somehow we made it through the rest of the day without another mishap.

23 comments:

  1. What did you do today in class? We broke some skulls.
    Be curious if he actually had time to remake it.

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  2. I think the student handled it pretty good. It didn't seem that he got too "upset" about it and knew there was a chance he still could get a remake of it, so that's a good thing I think.

    betty

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  3. I'm also wondering how the remade skull turned out.

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    1. Me too. If I ever get back there, I might ask.

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  4. Pretty cool assignment. We still had ceramics class in high school. I really enjoyed it.

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    1. I took photography. I'm kinda wondering at my choice now...

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  5. I think I'd find the "describe them by the elements and principles" to be way harder than actually making the thing :)

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  6. I like how you got the kid to come up with his own solution, Liz.

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  7. To be honest, I think you did well with only 2 skull incidents. Teenagers (especially boys) do tend to be a bit klutzy.

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    1. My gr-daughters have said these 2 things since they were 4 yrs. (now tweens): Boys are stupid and boys break things.

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  8. In my Senior year pottery class, I had sculpted a cobra, coiled, elevated hood, and all, even little wedges to show scales. It was placed in the kiln, which was to be run while we were all gone on our Senior class trip. The art teacher was our class advisor, so she was with us.

    One of the junior classes got to goofing around while we were gone, and the temperature of the kiln was bumped, or nudged, or deliberately changed, who knows? Everything in it was burned to ash. I was distraught. It was my Senior project, and a stupid underclassmen wrecked it. I still got an A, because the teacher saw it before it was to be fired, and she was impressed. But it didn't help my overall angry attitude.

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    1. Oh man, I'd've been pissed. Glad you still got a grade for it.

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  9. What a shame. I wish you could share a picture of the surviving skulls. ~grin~ Be well!

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    1. I wanted to, but then I got to thinking about copyright, and I didn't ask the kiddos for their permission to photo and then post their skulls, so in the end I didn't.

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  10. Gosh Liz - well I'm pleased only two got broken, but I feel for the poor lad - perhaps like Red's teacher ... he did better than he might have done because there was a photo of it ... an unusual project in my eyes, to say the least - cheers Hilary

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  11. Sugar skulls? That is pure disaster in my thinking. These students impress me. The boys who worked on #2 impress me.

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    1. Made of clay. I guess they can make them out of sugar, or something. I'm not familiar with the tradition.

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  12. That sounds like a fun assignment though I doubt the teacher would have the student remake his skull. I mean 2 weeks worth of work and he wants to redo it because his broke? I'm sorry but that's on his own time. Pick a friend and describe their skull using the elements of design. Sounds like he was trying to get out of the second part of the assignment to me (whether or not he broke his "skull").

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    1. In the end he'd have to do the writing part anyway. They keep notebooks that get graded, so it's an assignment that's worth points, too.

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  13. Wish we had pictures of those skulls...kids like that sort of thing...who can be the creepiest or not be the creepiest, but make the creepiest. Glad you only 2 mishaps. That's probably considered a real success. I like that the kid got to redo his. He sounded upset...and sugar stuff is pretty fragile.

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    1. They used clay, not sugar. It's brittle when dried and not fired.

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  14. That actually sounds like a really cool assignment. And it's pretty hilarious that part of your job involves not letting kids touch other people's skulls.

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    1. That is not even close to the weirdest thing I've ever had to tell them.

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