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Thursday, December 10, 2015


First Grade students studied the Maya people of Guatemala.  We learned how this group of people has retained many of their ancient customs and beliefs.  The Maya also wear special clothing called huipil.  The Huipil are made by weaving.  Weaving, embroidery and sewing help them to express themselves and their creativity.  Designs often have special meaning.  For example, families all have unique patterns which are special to their village.  Students discussed how by wearing this style of dress the Maya have a sense of belonging and show pride in their culture.  We compared it to our own experiences of feeling a sense togetherness and pride due to what we wear,when we thought of our school uniforms and field day shirts.  We also explored how many cultures around the world have their own special way of dressing. 

Finally, we set out to create our own Huipiles.  Students explored symmetry while cutting out their shirt shape.  Each child also created a watercolor painting that experimented with different kinds of lines which we cut up to include in our shirt design.  Students  collaged different papers to their art and added patterns.

Self-Portrait in Kimono

Second grade students discussed the art of the Kimono (originally the Japanese word for clothing).  Kimonos are traditional Japanese clothing that are simple straight seamed garments secured with a sash called an obi.  Students discussed the history of the kimono, the reasons for wearing a kimono today, Japanese traditions, as well as the different kinds of kimonos that are used for different occasions. 

Each student began the creation of their own kimono by considering the season it would be for.  Students chose colors they thought might best represent their chosen time of year and used markers to decorate 2 coffee filters.  Once the designs were complete we sprayed the filters with water and set them aside.   Next, students created a self-portrait.  Once complete the filters were wrapped around their portraits to create the kimono.  Origami paper was used for the collar and obi(belt).

Monday, December 7, 2015

Mondrian Inspired Sculptures

Kindergarten students studied the work of artist Piet Mondrian.  We described and discussed his use of primary colors and shapes like rectangles and squares.  Although Mondrian's work is abstract (doesn’t try to look like anything real) students were able to look at the way he used the shapes and colors in Broadway Boogie Woogie (pictured here) and discuss how it reminded them of different things.  Some students described how it looked like legos , a map or the inside of a computer!  In fact Mondrian wanted this artwork to remind us of the fast pace streets of New York City- where he would often go to listen to his favorite music- Boogie Woogie; thus the title, Broadway Boogie Woogie. 

Students worked in teams at their table to use primary colored construction paper cut into squares and rectangles to create their own Mondrian inspired sculpture!