After the problems I had with my first project (which I actually have almost fixed now) I decided to switch gears to a project the whole class could do more easily. I decided to use thisInstructable for Clay Ocarinas as a starting point. The Instructable was pretty simple, but it had a link in it to this website, which is very comprehensive, and filled in some of the gaps.
I started by making one myself, which was easy and worked great, so I went ahead and pinched out the hollow bodies of 5 more to get the class started. Materials and tools I used were all things I already had: white earthenware clay, wooden tools, bladed tools/exactos, strips of mat board, and a spray bottle.
The class went really well, everyone followed along with learning the process and had a working whistle within 20 minutes, after a little tweaking of the air slots. The rest of the time we spent sculpting them into shapes which included a tailless platypus, a mohawked sperm, an elephant, a traditional ocarina form, and a dolphin. They are all dried out in my studio now and will be fired on Saturday. Next week I will talk to the class about how we want to finish the surfaces (stains, glazes, paints etc.) After they are finished I will post pictures of everyone with their own piece.
Total success. To anyone who wants to try making their own ocarinas I would recommend taking a middle road between the Instructable page, which doesn't explain quite enough, and the Green Verdigos page, which makes the process a bit more complicated than it needs to be if you are just doing the project for fun. I thought it was also easier, and quicker, to pinch the bodies out hollow than to shape them around a form and cut them off. No matter how it's done, its a pretty simple project with a lot of freedom for variation.
These are pictures of the pieces in a dry state.