Integrating Clay into the Classroom Part 1

MeANS on the Good-Will Hinckley Campus

MeANS on the Good-Will Hinckley Campus

Week 1.  It’s great to be back at my favorite school working with a dedicated group of educators and students. MeANS is Maine’s first charter high school. These kids don’t fit the usual mold for traditional schools and truly focus on sustainable agriculture and environmental practices. They are my kind of kids! As one good friend put it “Oh, a place for artists!”  Yes, definitely a creative, outside of the box bunch.

Most of you know me as a potter and ceramic artist who digs her own clay, but I have been teaching for 20 + years, recently I have shifted my work from the community teaching/ gallery/craft fair setting into the public schools. I am still doing hospice work too. For the past 2 years I have been building a relationship with the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences on the Good-Will Hinckley campus in Fairfield.  Together, MeANS and I worked on the SMART grant that would bring me (the artist) into the classroom to do what I love best- find a local Pinch potclay source and teach others how to create and fire their work. The key to this grant is how we are integrating Ceramic Arts into the Math, Science, and Humanities curriculum. We are creating a hands-on learning experience through clay that meets MeANS standards for graduation.  This is similar to the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts Mudmobile program (where I also work), but this grant covers 8 weeks in the fall and 8 weeks in the spring of 2014.  This gives us plenty of time get outside to locate clay, dig, test fire, and build a primitive kiln on campus.  It also gives us enough time to cover the pottery of Native N. and S. Americans in Humanities, Tiles, Tessellations, Escher and Gaudi in Math class, and Geology, clay sampling, and 2-d design in Earth Science class. Next semester we will cover even more-like making our own water filters in chemistry class-stay tuned! At the end of each semester the students will be presenting what they learned to younger students at the Cornville Charter School. If you would like any more information email Malley at  If you’d like more info on MeANS  for information about school visits to Watershed or from the Mudmobile please visit

Maine Geological Survey Map

Maine Geological Survey Map

There is clay on this campus… we just need to find it! Hooray for sustainable kids and the adults who hold space for them to grow and learn. Thank you Maine Arts Commission!  And thanks to the Maine Geological Survey for their help with this educational experience.  Honestly, Thanks to everyone and everything that made this possible. I feel blessed to be a part of this.

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