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.
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!
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!
My favorite days at school are when I get to teach the 3 and 4 year olds. They are always filled with so much joy + enthusiasm toward art. My focus on these young students is to design lessons that help them to gain experience and skills in art. Cutting, tearing, gluing. On top, underneath, next to. Simplicity is key for the little ones. They learn so much as the year goes on.
For this project, I had my four preK classes create two murals for the winter school concert. Each mural is about 3×5 feet. The first day, we read Snow by Cinthia Rylant. 3 year olds helped me rip white paper and glue it to the mural. 4 year olds practiced their cutting skills on white paper strips. The second class, 3 year olds studied beautiful images of real snowflake crystals and read The Snow Tree by Caroline Repchuk, a gorgeous book with embossed illustrations of a winter forest and the animals that live there. Then they stamped snowflakes onto the sky of the mural using tints of blue. 4 year olds read Little Tree by e.e. cummings, noticing how the tree in the story was a triangle shape. Each student then had a chance to create their own triangle trees for our mural. I love how much character each tree has–especially the topsy turvy ones!