Fifth grade is a special year for me because it is my last with children I have taught for 6 years. I like to make something as a memory of their lives here. So we are building clay Totems. First we learned about Totems of the Pacific Northwest. Then we drew animals in our sketchbooks that we thought represented our personality or nature. Some bookish kids drew owls, silly ones drew monkeys. We had gentle bunnies, fast cheetahs, busy beavers, etc. Some struggled with this concept and just drew their favorite animal. Next we had to problem solve. How could we form our animal out of a tube of clay to be stacked as a totem? We drew cylinders in our sketchbooks and figured it all out on paper. The next week the day of clay arrived. I used my slab roller to roll out flat pieces for each student. They also had a bit of extra to form body parts. We discussed proper clay construction: scoring and wetting (slip) to attach 2 clay pieces together. They had fun and the animals are as charming as the children who made them. Now I need to figure out how to make a base and rod to stack them by class for displaying!