Friday, January 24, 2014

Mask-Tastic with West African Folktales

I absolutely LOVE reading folktales and having these amazing stories in the library! When one of our second grade teachers asked for an art integration lesson on fables, I just knew I had to use an African folktale. The one I ended up choosing was Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema.
We started off the lesson discussing Masks--assessing what types of masks the children had seen. Then we moved into a slideshow of real African masks (the kids were freaked that some used real bone, teeth, and hair) lol!
We read a short non-fiction passage about African Masks, and then we proceeded to our favorite part...the book!!
I explained to the children we were going to make our own masks so to pay attention carefully to the artwork..noticing PATTERN and SYMMETRY. We really focused on this art principles for this lesson.
After reading the book, and discussing the principles of pattern and symmetry, I took the kids into the art integration "maker" room. We quickly began finding our main piece of construction paper, and then helping ourselves to lots of paper scraps! I showed the students that symmetry was KEY.

Slide-show of West African Masks (photos)
Non-fiction text of masks ( I used pieces from this website focusing on the Baule)
Trade book: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears 
Various colors of construction paper

Step 1: Folk the paper in half, and then cut half an oval. After opening, we cut a tiny v-section out of the top and bottom of the paper. We taped it to the inside, creating a sculpted mask. We then proceeded to fold every detail of the mask in half using symmetry to create ears, noses, hair, eyes, eye brows, lips, etc. At first the kids were like...uh...where's the pattern? I sweetly explained that in ART there are no patterns and no mistakes..we just go with it. After a few confused looks, we started folding paper in half, and making half shapes; unfolding them to find whole shapes...then using the creased edge to make a 3-d detail. They loved it!!
Look how great they did
Ps the last part of the rubric (yes we use a rubric for most projects) was to create your own "moral" to the story (they had to write their own folktales/fables) to the mask somewhere.
Then after we finished, we displayed them in the Media Center. Don't they look great??

Lots of Artsy Library Love,
Ms. BooksmART