Fifth Grade: A Single Shard

Docent Curricular Tour by Shelly Brocci

This tour was originally created by Shelley Brocci (UMMA Docent 2001-2008) to accompany the novel A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park.


- Provide students with context for the Korean ceramics featured in the novel. 

- Discuss the physical and chemical process of throwing and firing ceramics

- Connect collection objects to story to it comes to life

- Incorporate a drawing session to allow hands-on experience with simple designs

For a synopsis of the novel, see the attached PDF handout. Students may need to refresh their memory of characters, plot, and theme. 

Stop 1: Celadon in Korean Gallery / Focus on story

- Discuss the novel's themes while observing specific celadon pieces. Why were they so prized? 

Talking Points: 

- Flattened Bottle with Lion Head: rarity, unglazed gray stoneware in contrast with celadon, identify animals because no lions in Korea, Silk Road trading route

- Large pedestal bowl on stand: note natural ash glaze. Wood ash contains potash, potassium compounds; when they melt they become vitreous. 

- Lotus-shaped cup and stand: lotus is Buddhist symbol of purity; source of images is nature. Does this fit the description of rare celadon? 

- Roof tiles Prop: What impressed tree-ear about the palace roof? What does it tell you about the country that the ruler has such precious ceramics on his roof? What do tiles do? 

Stop 2: Ceramics in basement open storage / Focus on chemical process

- Rust-colored cup: the clay contains iron; heated in oxygen-rich kiln, it becomes iron oxide (rust). How was it made? Coil on slow wheel; sides smoothed with paddle. 

Discuss the chemistry that occurs when the ceramics and glaze oxidizes. When the temp in the climbing kiln gets real hot, the openings are closed, cutting down on the amount of oxygen in the kiln (reducing). The iron in the glaze then loses some of its oxygen to form some iron substances (ions) that have a yellow [ferric] or blue [feffous] color. So where does the green come from? Blue plus yellow. Color of the glaze depends on the thickness of the glaze, the type of clay, and the type of kiln and temperature; amount of oxygen, position of pots in kiln. 

- Discuss the firing process and how a kiln works

Stop 3: Buddhist Gallery / Focus on context and religion

- Temple bell? How did he happen to grow up in Chulpo? 

- Focus on the Buddhist elements in the story such as giving to the poor, meditating, living in a monastery

Stop 4: Ten-Fold Screen / Focus on natural imagery

- Photo of the Cliff of the Thousand Flowers. Korea is similar to Michigan in climate. How is this similar to Chinese scrolls? Conventions of Asian landscapes. 

Stop 5: Drawing

- Some docents like to include a hands-on activity for students, to draw a natural form, as Tree Ear would have done. 

General Celadon Questions: 

- Is all celadon the same color? No. Shades vary. How does Emissary Kim describe the best shade? 

- What sometimes appeared on celadon that wasn't wanted? Hint: Potter Min smashed his work. Brown spots

- What firing factors affect the color of celadon? Length of firing, position in the kiln, number of pieces in the kiln, too much air in the kiln.

- What mineral is in the clay that gives it its special color when fired? What color does it turn when fired? Iron. Varying shades of green after firing.

- What was the inspiration for the shapes that you see? Nature. Melons, boards, leaves, stems

- How were the leaves and stems created? Tree ear did this in secret. Molded. 


4 Tags & 0 Keywords

Celadon — by Margaret Grace VanderVliet (April 27 2017 @ 3:17 pm)
Ceramics — by Margaret Grace VanderVliet (April 27 2017 @ 3:17 pm)
Chemistry — by Margaret Grace VanderVliet (April 27 2017 @ 3:17 pm)
Korea — by Margaret Grace VanderVliet (April 27 2017 @ 3:17 pm)

Part of 2 Learning Collections

Kindergarten: Shape Up! Colors and Shapes
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

First Grade: Cooperation Central, Getting Along
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Second Grade: Art Rocks! Geology and Art
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Second Grade: My Community, My World
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Second Grade: Healthy Living Tour    
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Third Grade Tour: Motion and Movement
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Third Grade: Nature 
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Fourth Grade: Material Matters
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Fourth Grade: Getting Along
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Fourth Grade: Regions of the United States
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Fifth Grade: Science Sleuths
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Fifth Grade: Elements of Art
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Fifth Grade: Picturing America
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Fifth Grade: A Single Shard
<p>Docent Curricular Tour by Shelly Brocci</p>

High School: World Literature
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

High School: Realism to Abstraction
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

High School: Inspiration
<p>Docent Curricular Tour</p>

Docent Resources: Watershed
<p>June 6-September 20, 2020</p>

Docent Resources for Witness Lab
<p>February 15-May 17, 2020</p>

Docent Materials for Inuit 2: Reflections: An Ordinary Day
<p>November 16, 2019-May 10, 2020</p>

What Can I Do With The Exchange?
<p>For Educators</p>

Frequently Asked Questions
<p>FAQ: November 20 Docent Training</p>

Fifth Grade: A Single Shard
<p>Docent Curricular Tour by Shelly Brocci</p>

Technology Time CE
February 5, 2018

Docent Materials for Exercising the Eye: The Gertrude Kasle Collection
<p>From Jennifer Friess, Docent CE on March 12, 201...

Created For

UMMA Docent

Rate this Resource

AVG: 0 | Ratings: 0

& Author Notes

Creative Commons by-nc-sa (Docent Shelly Brocci authored the text and attached document)

Last Updated

January 28, 2020 6:06 a.m.


Reporting Policy