Friday, May 5, 2017

Third Grade African Masks

Third Graders learned about the history, craftsmanship, and significance of African masks through an original PowerPoint presentation, and through class discussions and hands-on explorations of mask reproductions.  I have been interested in African masks since I was an undergraduate, and I wrote my thesis on the influence of African art on artists such as Picasso and Gauguin. 

Here are some of the slides from the presentation. After viewing and discussing what they'd seen, third graders sketched their masks. In the following weeks, they used paper mache, paint, and natural material embellishments to bring their masks to life.








The lion mane is for protection. The horns are for head-butting to kill bad dudes. The teeth are for a bear and to scare away guys who are mean. The spots are for a cheetah, fast as lightning. That would be useful to have a dad with cheetah power because you would be early to school.

Mine you can wear at celebrations and parties because it brings love and happiness. The angel wings bring happiness, love, and play. I will use cloth, fur, and foil. 

Humble and proud: For humble I did a pony and for proud I did a lion. The zigzags mean tha people like you. You wear it when you are going into adulthood. 

Alligator mouth, ram horns, bull nose, lion's mane. Wear it when a new leader becomes a leadeer.



My mask is used to scare away evil spirits when children are scared. I will use feathers, leather, and shells, foil, fuzz.  The bull horns mean don't come near. The leopard print means run fast. The fangs mean  I scare you if you come near. The lion mane is for people to think he is nice but really he is mean and the unicorn horn is to poke. 

My mask is for when a warrior dies on the battlefield. The ox horns are for strength in the other life. The spike is to ward off evil. The tusks are for revenge on the killer.


This mask is used for a sad time like when someone dies. The ram horns represent when they used to make sacrifices and kill rams. The bull horns have blood on the tips for death. The feathers are from a dead bird.

My mask is to scare away evil spirits. It's a ram. It can head-butt them away from the village. 

My mask is used for scaring away evil spirits away from the house. Mine has ram horns to push the spirits out. 


My mask is to scare away spirits. Celebrated only on festivals. The design has bull's horns to protect people. 

My mask is for animal funerals. It scares the evil away. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fifth Grade African Animals


Fifth graders did an incredible job drawing these African animals and the African fabric-influenced background patterns.  First, they researched African animals and their significance in African art on the webpage of the National Museum of African Art. Then, they chose their animals and spent several weeks creating drafts of drawings. Finally, they used sharpie to outline and marker or colored pencil to color them in.  They also created an artist statement for their pieces, explaining the significance of the animal and why they chose it.


 I chose an African Meerkat. In African culture it represents leadership, royalty, intelligence, and invincibility. I chose this animal because Meerkats are adorable and like me, are small but mighty.

I choose the African wild dog for my project. I choose the dog because the symbol is mystical power and I love dogs.


 Monkeys symbolize Initiation, Healing, and Hunting. I chose a monkey because they very cute and fun to play with. One of a monkey's main traits are playful and funny and I can be playful and funny too!

I chose an elephant because I think they're cool and my nanny’s niece loves elephants. In African art an elephant means power, authority, intelligence, and longevity.

 This is an African blue sterling. 
It looks cool and I like birds
In African art, birds mean communication, past learning, future.

 I chose the African Wild Dog. In African art, this animal means hunting, mystical powers, and insight. I chose this animal because I love dogs.

 Pangolin represents royalty, power, and defense. I chose this animal because it fascinates me how I've never heard of this animal before and because I really like its appearance.

 The animal I choose was the Gaboon Viper. I choose it because I thought it would be cool to draw a snake. The symbols of the snake are infinity, rebirth, patience, power, creativity, and wealth.

 I chose the African wild dog. The African wild dog stands for hunting, mystical power, and insight. I chose the African wild dog because I chose to study them in a project and I love them.

I chose a scorpion. In African art, it represents time and the rising sun. I chose it because I think it looks really cool.

 I chose a lion.
I chose it because it is a leader and is strong.
It stands for royalty, hunting, and warrior.

 I chose a wild dog. I chose it because I like dogs because they are really friendly and really understand and love their owners. They represent hunting, mystical power, and insight.

 I chose a turtle. I chose a turtle because I like them. It represents strength, royalty, and authority.

 I chose an African Elephant because I really like elephants. It symbolizes power, authority, intelligence, and longevity.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Passover: Fifth Grade Matza Covers

Fifth graders created these designs on fabric with fabric markers. First, they used stencils or drew freehand onto the fabric in pencil. Then, they carefully drew grid lines with a ruler, going through their bubble letters to chop them into different planes. Finally, they used fabric markers to create the eye-catching grid effect. 










Passover: First Grade Seder Plates

First graders created these beautiful Passover seder plates using Sculpey polymer clay, tissue paper, and mod podge. First, we created the ritual items: matza, charoset, parsley, egg, shankbone, saltwater, and bitter herb. As we made each one, students contributed their knowledge about the symbolism of each item.  Then, they smoothed tissue paper onto the plate with mod podge, which left it shiny and polished.