By Rebecca Sadler
Part of our classroom philosophy is slowing down. Whether it is our curriculum or our bodies, being mindful of what we are doing is very important. Through the connections we make during the day we can grow, but we need time to honor them. This mindfulness of slowing down and really taking notice applies to all aspects of our classroom life. In particular, I noticed for myself that our clay curriculum was moving in so many directions and I needed an idea to help me focus on the core of what we do here.
I gathered up all the clay, and I closed the bag. I invited a group over to the clay table, and immediately Colton asked, “Where is the clay?”
I told him, “I’ll bring it out, but first I want to ask you guys a question: What ideas do you have for clay?”
I wanted them to really think about what they wanted, and what could be possible. We used a photo to look at the different styles of coils and got started. I told them to look and see if anything sparked their interest that could help them with their ideas. Carolina M. and Ana were sitting together at the table, and Ana asked Carolina if she could help her roll a coil. Carolina M. is somebody who has worked with clay regularly and has acquired a lot of skill in the medium. I knew Carolina would be the perfect person to connect with Ana and help her slow down so Ana could realize that skill in herself. Carolina showed Ana how she squeezes the clay and rolls it back and forth, as Carolina practiced this technique, she started to manipulate the long coils into letters. Just across the table from them, Colton and Caroline were thinking of ways to connect the spiral coils they made.
“Turn it like this” Colton told Caroline.
“This can go on top!” Caroline told Colton.
“It’s eyes!” Colton exclaimed.
They both worked to connect the different pieces. I felt different energy at that table, the kind of energy that wakes you up and lets you know something amazing is happening. Coils were being rolled out and manipulated, conversations were alive, and the astounding power that collaboration brings was with us.
What other ways can we slow down and connect?