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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Egyptian Death Masks

The  Ancient Egyptians were extremely religious people and had very elaborate burial rituals, as well as complex beliefs about life after death.  According to Ancient Egyptian myth, death wasn’t the end of life– it was just a process that every soul must go through in order to reach the next level of eternal life (the afterlife).

In order to achieve eternal life, they believed you had to preserve the dead body. This was accomplished  by mummifying it.  The mummy would then be placed inside the tomb with other vital items that they thought they would need in the afterlife.  Mummies were also accompanied by the death mask.  This gave the dead a face in the afterlife, protected the face and helped to ensure that the spirit could find the right body to return to.  Students discussed the amazing discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb and examined the solid gold death mask that was found on his mummy. 

Next students set out to design their own death masks.  Using a mask mold each student  used papier mache to create their own mask.  The headdresses on many Egyptian masks showed images of Egyptian myths and gods.  On the student headdresses they needed to include symbols that could represent the things that are important to them.

Dia de los Muertos

Second grade students learned about the holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd.  El Dia de los Muertos is not the Mexican version of Halloween. Mexicans have celebrated the Day of the Dead since the year 1800 B.C.  It is not scary or morbid. There are no pictures or images of dead people, ghosts, witches, or the devil.

This fiesta is marked by the invitation by the living to the dead to return to their family home for a visit. Families place photographs of their loved ones who have passed on at the deceased’s gravesite or on a family altar. They also place offerings of flowers, drinks and food alongside the photographs. This ritual is particularly important for those who have been lost in the year since the previous festival, and is a way of coming to terms with the death of someone loved and missed.

It doesn’t honor death, but their dead relatives. It’s a time for them to reflect on their lives, heritage, ancestors and the meaning of their existence.  It is not a sad ritual. It’s a day of happiness because they are remembering loved ones.

The well-known Calaveras statues depicting skeletons participating in the activities of the living- from cooking to playing in mariachi bands- take their place on the altar, where their comic appearance brings a smile to the faces of the grieving.

Second grade students created their own Calaveras using art straws and collage.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blowing Lines

Kindergarten students began their year with a discussion about lines.  We named and drew lines together on the smartboard.  Next we thought about how an artist can create a picture of something we can't really see...the wind!  We looked at many paintings that showed the wind, paying particular attention to the kinds of lines the artist used.  Students created their own wind portraits by drawing different lines on their paper!


First Graders discussed how artists show emotion in their work by using the elements of art.  We then discussed a movement in art called Expressionism.  In Expressionism the artist is more interested in showing emotion than reality.  Student then turned their attention to The Scream by Edvard Munch.  The class discussed the nervous, anxious feelings they got from the painting and how the artist achieved that effect. 
Finally students discussed the things that make them want to scream and each child created their own screaming self portrait. 

A little Keith Haring Fun!

Keith Haring Figures do the Harlem Shake!

You Gotta Groove!

Second Grade students discussed movement by looking at the art of Kieth Haring.  The class paid close attention to how Haring liked to draw his figures in a variety of positions.  We discussed how the artist was very inspired by hip hop music and the break dancers he would see on the street.  As a result, he tried to include these feelings and movements in a lot of his work.
After viewing and discussing some of Haring's art students explored how the artist could have been inspired by music and dance by doing a little dancing themselves!  Students listened to James Brown and danced around the room freezing in position when the music stopped.  Each table then traced one of their classmateds on large paper using their "frozen" positions as inspiration.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Egyptian Death Masks

While learning about Ancient Egyptian death masks, fourth grade students watched a clip from this video.  Watch the complete video by clicking on this video

Terracotta Warriors

5th graders started off their year discussing the terracotta warriors in China.  Rewatch the video we saw in class here!
We also saw a clip from another video in class.  To watch the entire video-click this link!