My second graders started off learning how to create coils with Crayola air dry clay. I like crayola for the sake of quality and ease of use. The one thing I've learned though is keep your construction thick and chunky. Too delicate tends to break.
Students used clay tools to create impressions and designs in the clay to make the body original.
I added pipe cleaner pieces for fuzzy antennaes while they stayed in the classroom to dry and harden.
After these are dry we can color the bodies with crayon. Yes, crayon does work. I can even rub them with black paint to create a batik effect. Students also created symmetrical wings with construction paper and construction paper crayons. We glued the bodies to the wings. Use GLUE ALL! School glue isn't going to cut it with these.
Now with 1st grade I showed students how to create a turtle body using a "rainbow" line for the top of the shell then a horizontal line across the bottom to complete it. We use a triangle tail, circle head, and letter U's for the four legs.
I told them to leave some "air" between each shell to leave room for legs. Each shell has been decorated with patterns using yellow and orange crayons.
We painted the shells with liquid watercolor, turtle bodies with neon green tempera, and the background with yellow liquid watercolor.
I have tons more and each one is different. I'm going to ask a few of my students if I may borrow theirs to hang up for the new school year. Hopefully I will have a few turtles and watermelons to brighten the halls and greet us into the 2012 - 2013 year. :)
A note about Crayola Air Dry Clay:
I do not have a kiln, nor the resources for one. I know this clay isn't particularly cheap nor is it perfect. However, I like the product. I've used it for many years with a rather high success rate. I can cut down 25 lbs of clay to meet the needs of 100+ kids. Its possible to do really amazing things with a small piece. The main issue every time I use it will be when my kids work too small, too detailed, or too thin. That stuff will crack and break easily. Thick and chunky construction is the best way to go.