Would someone please put my head on straight? (updated)

I think my head must be attached at an angle, inside and out. This last project proves it.

I have been teaching the third through sixth grades weaving, taking inspiration from the kente weavers of Ghana. (Click on the photo to check out a master weaver).

Third/Fourth grades created a painted paper that they cut slices through the center as a combination loom-warp. The goal was bright colors, and most were quite successful! The weft was strips of colored construction paper. Many students had never woven before, and there were a few who never really were able, even with extra help, to focus enough to consistently alternate their strips. I found that interesting: they understood what they needed to do, but really, really struggled to see when it wandered or missed. I loved the added pattern that Julie of Art for Small Hands included in her paper weaving, and that seemed like pattern the kids could connect to kente patterns, yet manageable and inspirational for their own. We used oil pastels instead of printing, though.

4th grade weaving

Here’s the thing: when I planned this project (and I went through several tries to get where I wanted), I knew that the best look would come if the strips crossed the painted lines rather than going parallel. I looked and looked at their painted papers, trying to picture in my mind which way the cuts would need to run to get the weft strips crossways, told the children which way to cut, and I STILL GOT IT WRONG!! ARGH!

Fifth/Sixth grades also created colorful stripes on a long strip of lightweight watercolor paper. Their weft strips were patterned ribbons, left long as fringe on each side. I saw this on someone’s blog, I think, but for my life I can’t find it. Knowing I had messed up the direction on the last ones, I rethought these a half dozen times! I realized we had painted the stripes opposite to what I had originally planned, but at least I caught it before we made the cuts! Instead of lots of short ribbons on a long piece, we got a few long ribbons. This turned out to be better for the students, though, as, surprisingly, some of these kids really struggled to get consistent weaves, too! I am sure, since I am the common denominator here, that I need to change how I teach it; but at least they got plenty of practice! I’ll add a photo of those as soon as they are finished.

(It’s here!)

6th grade woven ribbon/paper

5th grade woven ribbon/paper

So, I think my internal geometry is off. When I hang things on the wall, without a level, they just walk downhill a tad. No matter what. When I wrap things, I rarely ever set my box even in the wrapping paper; it’s always one side shorter than the other once I’m wrapping, even though I swear it was even this time. I must live life with my head cocked to one side, and my internal gyroscope off kilter. Pbbtt.
(See more student African-inspired art here.)


1 Comment

Filed under Art, Fifth/Sixth Grade, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade

One response to “Would someone please put my head on straight? (updated)

  1. Pingback: Homeschooling Can Make a Difference | Pamela UnPlugged: the Art of Life

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