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Middle [6th-8th] Lesson Plan

SSR Ceramic Mugs

Created on March 04, 2013 by MrsLeban

These glazed ceramic mugs are hand-built by students and decorated with a "book" theme based off of a favorite book or genre of books. Students then use these mugs to drink hot chocolate in the library during SSR (sustained silent reading) time in their Language Arts classes.

19 Keeps, 5 Likes, 5 Comments

10+ sessions; 45 minutes per session

1. SWBAT create a work of art based off of a theme, and visually communicate that theme through choice of symbols and shapes.
2. SWBAT demonstrate understanding of hand-built ceramic techniques through the creation of a functional mug.

1. Clay (I use white talc)
2. Clay tools (needle tool, wooden shaping tools, cutting wire, knives, etc)
3. Water/cups
4. Rolling pins
5. Glaze (I use Teacher's Palette)
6. Planning sheet
7. Pencil/eraser
8. Colored pencils
9. Brushes (for glaze)

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

1. Intro to project (see notebook file attached)
2. Students complete mug plan sheet (attached - 1 to 2 class periods)
3. Introduce basic mug form (a cylinder built from 2 slab pieces: a round base piece, and a long rectangular piece for the cylinder walls)
4. Students build basic mug (1-2 class periods)
5. Students add a handle and decorative elements according to their plan (2-3 class periods)
6. Mugs are fired
7. Students apply glaze using paintbrushes to their bisque-fired mugs
8. Mugs are glaze-fired
9. Students celebrate their finished mugs with a hot chocolate party!

There is a rubric attached for this project.

You can view our gallery of mugs from quarter 2 on Artsonia here:

This project is great for an "Earth Day" or ecology unit because it encourages students to use use their glazed mugs in lieu of styrofoam or paper cups. You could easily change the theme to any other topic as you see fit.

I love to tie this in with reading because the Language Arts teachers at my school take students to the library once a week for silent reading, and they drink hot chocolate. Making a custom mug for this activity was a natural fit!


Visual Arts Standard 1:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

[5-8] Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas
[5-8] Students select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices

Visual Arts Standard 2:
Using knowledge of structures and functions

[5-8] Students employ organizational structures and analyze what makes them effective or not effective in the communication of ideas
[5-8] Students select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas

Visual Arts Standard 3:
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

[5-8] Students integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks
[5-8] Students use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks

Visual Arts Standard 5:
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

[5-8] Students compare multiple purposes for creating works of art

Visual Arts Standard 6:
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

[5-8] Students describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts

Form, Unity/Harmony

Ceramics, Sculpture

English/Language Arts

  • Eponine24601 03/05/2013 at 07:28pm
    What a cool idea! It really makes me wish I had a kiln in my classroom!

  • MrsLeban 03/07/2013 at 07:51am
    Thank you!

  • Kristen1978 03/18/2013 at 07:15pm
    I love these mugs! Your art is fabulous! I wish I had a kiln in my classroom too :) Kristen McChristian

  • ltucker 05/27/2013 at 05:57am
    I love this idea!

  • jennteal 08/29/2014 at 06:36am
    Awesome. I did mugs last year but your plan sheets look like a huge help. I will delve more into your project for tips. My kids definitely had a few issues.