Monday, May 5, 2014
Students in my 3rd-6th grade 12:1:1 class learned about the Phoenicians a while back. When they were in Social Studies, one of the students had no clue what a clay tablet was, so their teachers asked if I could do something with them about clay tablets.
This project was simple and took two days to complete. On the first day, I taught students how to roll out clay on the slab roller. Each student got to roll out their own slab. They took it back to their tables and then rolled the edges to give their clay tablets an old scroll look. I know that's not how real clay tablets were, but I wanted to make them a little more interesting to look at.
I know, I know, using the slab roller is kind of cheating, but since I only see the kids once every six days, the slab roller has become very beneficial to time management. I at least taught them how to use it!
After everyone had their slabs rolled out, I gave students an enlarged copy of the Phoenician alphabet from their Social Studies textbook. Students had to write their name using this alphabet on their clay tablet.
On the second day of the project, after they were fired, I had students paint the clay tablets with tempera paint. I used powdered black tempera mixed with water, just like the clay fossils I did last year with my 1st graders. Students dabbed up any extra watery paint using a tissue, which also gave it an old, weathered look.