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PreK KENTE CLOTH COLLABORATION

8 Dec

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Closing out our African Art Unit, PreK students helped to make these giant collaborative Kente Cloths over four 30 minute class periods. First, students used their fine motor skills to practice cutting strips of paper in some of the traditional Kente cloth colors. The next class, students took turns gluing the strips to large butcher block sheets of black paper. The third class, they tried out some color mixing on oversized paper. For the grand finale, we watched this great video showing examples of the Kente cloth and artisans weaving them skillfully on large looms. We learned when you weave you have to go over and under like a pattern. Ahead of time I folded and cut the black collaged paper into a huge warp and the painted paper into strips for the weft. Students took turns weaving carefully until each Kente cloth was complete. What a statement they made!

Inspired by this project found on Artsonia.

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3RD GRADE AFRICAN MUDCLOTHS

7 Dec

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3rd Grade students enjoyed making their own versions of African Mud Cloths. They viewed a powerpoint with many examples and learned the history and traditional methods of their creation. Of course they were surprised to find that actual mud was used to create the colors! This is an excellent website that gives a history of the mud cloth and lets you create one virtually. The students loved working together to create a virtual version before getting started on their own. They viewed examples of the mud cloth as inspiration when creating theirs, using geometric shapes, repeating patterns + symmetry, and earthy colors.

Inspired by this project found on Artsonia.

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5TH GRADE NDEBELE GEOMETRIC DESIGNS

5 Dec

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First of all, thank you to anyone who may be checking out this post! I have so much great artwork to share–though my posts have been slow, my students have been busy. I’m sharing the rest of the African Art lessons while I sort through artwork photos from this school year.

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Students viewed images and learned the history of the colorfully painted houses traditionally created my women of the Ndebele tribe in Africa. We learned about their painting technique and use of bold, geometric designs and bright colors. My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me by Maya Angelou looks like a great book to pair with the lesson if you can find it!

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1ST GRADE OIL PASTEL LION COLLAGES

11 Jul

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For our 1st Grade African Unit lesson, students studied the lion and created these magnificent mixed-media collages. To begin, we read What the Animals Were Waiting For by Johnathan London, which tells the story of the dramatic cycles of life on the Masai Mara range in Africa. Many different African animals are depicted in rich, oil painted illustrations. On our document camera, we zoomed in on the lion illustration so we could see how the artist carefully blended monochromatic earth tones to give texture and depth to the fur. We also studied real lion photographs to become familiar with their features. Students then were ready to draw their lion faces, blending and mixing earth tones using oil pastels for the fur.

The next class, we reviewed photos of crazy lion manes and students folded strips of earth toned paper to create a wild mane around their drawings. Lastly, students used texture rubbing plates to create interest in the background. They sure brightened up the halls!

Inspired by these awesome lions on Artsonia.

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K TRIANGLE LEOPARDS

17 Jun

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School is finally out, so that means I will have more time to share some spectacular art projects here. I plan on updating at least weekly so keep checking back for more!

My Kindergarteners worked on these fantastic leopards during our African Art unit. Every year, we have a schoolwide Black History program to celebrate the contributions and heritage of African Americans in our world and community. In art class, I choose a relevant theme for each grade level to study and draw inspiration from for an art project. This year, I focused on the rich traditional art forms found in Africa as well as some of the most well-known animals native to the continent. My students absolutely loved learning about the animals.

For Kindergarten, we continued our exploration of simple shapes to create a triangle leopard. We read Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema to start off the lesson. We viewed photos of real leopards and learned some interesting facts. Students then were given a step-by-step drawing sheet to help guide them along. They added all the details with crayons then painted blue watercolor over to create a resist effect. Lastly, green leaves were added to help their leopards appear to be hiding in the trees. They all turned out so great!

Inspired by these tigers found on We Heart Art.

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ANNUAL PREK-5TH SPRING ART SHOW

13 May

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We recently held our all school Spring Art Show for students and their families. I displayed our latest projects plus a sampling of the wonderful artwork created throughout the year. Every child had at least one piece of artwork on display. The PTA and many of my awesome colleagues helped with an Ice Cream Social that night as well, which really seemed to bring in tons of families. My principal has been really trying to get our families more involved in the school and it was great to see such a huge turnout for our art night. Enjoy some more photos from the big night!

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4TH AND 5TH GRADE FREEDOM QUILTS

27 Feb

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My 4th and 5th grade students created a freedom quilt square for their class quilts last year during Black History Month. We started out the project by reading The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom by Bettye Stroud, a powerful story of a girl and her father escaping slavery to freedom on the Underground Railroad. The designs on the freedom quilts were said to have secret messages, helping to guide and protect the slaves on their way to freedom. I gave each student a printout with some of the designs and their meanings and they chose their favorite to recreate as a paper collage. We discovered that the designs were very precise, using mostly squares and triangles that had to be laid out just right. It was a good way for the students to incorporate some of their math skills into the art room.

After they completed their quilt squares, each student wrote a poem or short descriptive story imagining what it would be like escaping to freedom. I wish I would have made some copies because some students truly had some thoughtful, beautiful words to share.

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K WORD QUILTS

27 Feb

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For my Kindergarten students’ quilt for Black History Month, they created a word quilt with the first letter of their names and an object or two that started with the same letter. We read Cassie’s Word Quilt by Faith Ringgold and the students had to be “word hunters”, finding as many words as they could that started with the same letter as their name. We noticed how the pages were bordered with different patterned quilt squares, so my K students also used the recycled book jacket covers to create their quilt borders.

Some of my students struggled coming up with objects that started with the first letter of their names, but once I gave them some ideas their imaginations took over. Some of their creativity really astounded me–If you look closely at the projects above, you’ll see the monster with a mohawk and a mummy for “M”, and the best one of all (and I didn’t even help him with this!!) a YETI for “Y”.

If I did this project again, I would have them create their letter and pictures on a smaller square, then glue that to the middle of the quilt square border. Some of their pictures ended up getting covered by the squares. Other than that, it was a great project that really got them thinking about their letters.

1ST GRADE FAITH RINGGOLD CITY QUILT

27 Feb

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Continuing our school celebration of Black History Month last year, my 1st grade students created Faith Ringgold story quilts. We started off the lesson by watching a Reading Rainbow video of Tar Beach which also showed and explained a real “tar beach” in New York City to help my students better understand. We searched for shapes in the buildings and determined they were mostly made up of rectangles and squares. We noticed how the pages in the book were outlined with quilt squares as well, which we learned are created from fabric that have stories of their own to tell. Our school librarian was getting rid of boxes of colorful book jacket covers, so I cut those into squares for our story quilt border. After creating the border, students made a cityscape collage. Lastly, they imagined themselves flying and soaring on an adventure, then drew themselves to add to their collage. All individual collages were added together to create one large quilt for each class. I love the cape and bumblebee below.

One of my favorite quotes about Tar Beach by a student (after looking curiously at the board games pictured on a table on the roof in the story): “What are those for??”

Me: “Those are games to play for fun when the families hang out up there.”

Student: “What?! How do they get their tv up there?!”

Inspired by this Artsonia project.

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2ND AND 3RD GRADE GEE’S BEND QUILTS

22 Feb

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To celebrate Black History Month last year at school, I wanted each grade level to create a collective class quilt, made up of individual squares created by the students. They were displayed during our schoolwide program and really made a statement.

For the 2nd and 3rd grade classes, we studied the colorful, graphic quilts of Gee’s Bend. I created a powerpoint showing examples of these unique quilts, focusing on the many different lines and colors found in each design, as well as their history. My students found it interesting that a lot of the quilts were sewn together using old scraps of clothing, which the artists felt helped to bring the spirits of their loved ones into their creations. We also read Stitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend Quilt, by Patricia McKissack. It’s a beautiful, poetic story of the tradition of the Gee’s Bend quilters through the eyes of a little girl, her family’s and community’s stories, as well as her ancestors’ struggle for freedom. My students were also amazed to hear how these talented women’s quilts were displayed in art museums around the world. Using this inspiration, they planned and designed a quilt square using different types of line patterns and bold colors. I taped each student’s quilt square into one large quilt to display. They all came together so well!

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