First Graders began the year by discussing self portraits. We viewed portraits and read the book The Many Faces of the Face to get an idea of how artists create pictures of people. Students were allowed to choose a piece of construction paper they felt best described their skin color to begin. I find most students gravitate toward the lighter colors, so we read the book All the Colors of the Earth, which talks about all the beautiful colors skin can be. The face shapes were folded in half so students could consider symmetry and balance when drawing their face. After all the features were drawn we turned our attention to our hair. Students learned different techniques of rolling, curling and folding paper to collage pieces for their hair. Once the face was complete we turned our attention to Africa and the Masai tribe. The Masai are often identified by their wide collar necklaces. Students discovered that they could actually tell a lot about these people just by studying their jewelry. A married Masai woman gets more necklaces as she gets wealthier, becomes more important, and grows older. The shapes and patterns might tell a woman’s age, or if she has children. The class also learned that the colors they use represent different things as well. Each student designed their own Masai necklace using patterns of repeating shapes and colors. We read another book entitled The Masai and Me. So students could compare how their lives are different from children in this tribe.