In 1st grade we've been talking about the ways people communicate without speaking. We've discussed body language and facial expressions. We looked at the ceramic creature sculptures of artist Nancy Krug and brainstormed all of the emotions that her various creatures might be feeling. We learned that a smile could mean someone is happy and a frown could mean they are sad, but that smiles and frowns can communicate many other feelings too (excitement, guilt, surprise, fear, etc.).
For these relief sculptures, we started with small slabs (about 5" x 4") of clay and small chunks of clay for adding features. The students each chose an emotion to sculpt on their slab, and were encouraged to be as whimsical as they desired. I demonstrated scoring clay pieces to attach them, and the students did a wonderful job with it! They were required to sculpt noses, mouthes, eyes, and at least one "other" feature (hair, ears, glasses, eyebrows, etc.). The faces were finished with tempera paint (mixed with an acrylic glitter medium) and Mod Podge.