The Chiwaukee Academy and Washburn Academy, cooperative efforts between nine Wisconsin school districts and the University of Wisconsin, provide professional staff development of PK-12 educators in all subject areas. Hands-on learning is emphasized to help teachers engage students in collaborative problem-solving and higher-order thinking.
Alex Mandli presented week-long workshops entitled Play, Clay, and Fire: Primitive Pit-Firing Techniques for Any Classroom K-12 for a group of educators at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. From regular education teachers without an art specialist or a kiln to high school art teachers looking to involve their students, every aspect of pottery making and the pit-firing process was covered. With play as the method of learning and discovery, participants created, decorated, and fired their own pottery. They studied the pottery of ancient cultures, and observed, recorded, and evaluated their journey through this process.
Comments by workshop participants had high praise for Alex and the content of the workshop.