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A Better Way to Make a Hand Turkey

In November it seems inevitable that hand turkeys start creeping into the classroom. When I was younger it would drive me nuts. I used to ban the hand turkey from my classroom because it seemed too lazy to me. Of course, like most things I loathed when I was young, I have matured and come to realize I was looking at it all wrong. Kids make hand turkeys not out of laziness, but because they want to be successful and their parents often enjoy the cute hand crafted keepsakes if you will forgive my pun.

Instead if trying to stop kids from doing what they like, I realized my job is to meet them where they are then help them elevate their work. If they want to trace their hands, why not use that tracing as a basis for a paper sculpture or cut the hand from a slab of clay and make it a keepsake their parents can enjoy for years (while also teaching hand building techniques ever ceramic artist should know).

I created this video years ago to show kids how they can make a hand turkey paper sculpture.

This video shows how to make a ceramic relief sculpture of a turkey by building off of a hand shape cut from a slab. I do this project with kindergarteners and they absolutely love it. Honestly I think this is the kind of project kids at any grade level would enjoy. I could imagine this as a fun and cute creativity challenge to try to get them to find the most unique way to re-imagine a hand turkey.

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