Pottery Connects Students


Ingrid Steward

Eighth graders Talan Palladini and Caiden Cochran are working on their mugs. They were very intricate in the rest of their design.

Art is everywhere! It can come in all different shapes, sizes and forms, whether it be a painting, drawing or even food! Eighth grade pottery teacher John King has a new upcoming plan in motion. He will be teaching his own students how to make coffee mugs. Those students will then teach peers from Amy Arthur’s class how to make their own mugs!  


The partnership between the two classes will help each student to make new friendships, learn something new and build teamwork skills. 


“As far as learning goes, it’s a great way to build their confidence,” said King. 


King has done this another time about five years ago, and it was a success. It was a great way for students to branch out and be confident. Some eighth grade pottery students that will be taking part in the project and teaching are as follows: Andie Adams, Lana Luke, Lanessa Hufford, Talan Palladini and Caiden Cochran will be the ones teaching their peers fourth period. It allows King to see which students are ready to take the next steps and see if they’re improving in their pottery work.


“Good indicators are if you’re looking at these projects, and you see the ones that look really good. You know they’re gonna be good at teaching,” said King.


Each student so far has made or is in the process of making a coffee mug. Even I had the experience of working with the class, and was taught to make the mug as well! There is delicate and fascinating work that goes into making these particular mugs. 


Everything starts as a big lump of soft, textured but firm clay. It is then ruled out by the “slab ruler” to level out the soft clay. Once flattened it will be shaped and formed into a cylinder shape. Then, students cut out a circle for the bottom part of the mug… because if there weren’t, someone would have a mess to clean up. 


“Make sure the bottom fits the size, so the liquid doesn’t spill everywhere,” said eighth grade pottery student Adams.


After a few more touch ups, the fun part comes.


There are various types of stamps and textured sheets that can be used to decorate the mug and the handle. There are even little cookie cutters to make very visible and flamboyant decorations to the mug.  It’s really all about creativity!


These mugs are very handy on those mornings where you just can’t seem to get out of bed! Have a nice cup of coffee, but if you aren’t a coffee drinker no worries! These mugs can also be used for many different things. Such as a pencil holder, a decoration or a vase! The possibilities are endless. These mugs are food and dishwasher safe, and that makes them even better. 


They may just be mugs, but they have so many teaching principles! Kids are learning so many new skills that they may not have been able to learn and they are being taught by students who can lend a hand when they need it. These students aren’t just learning how to make mugs. They’re learning how to be good people.