I try and spend a quarter with each grade group studying a culture and the art that they produce. In fifth grade, this year we looked at Latin America. We started off the year making Molas and then moved on to String Paintings, the holiday Dia de los Muertos, and bark painting. The kids seem to enjoy creating objects that are from a culture that many of them connect with and it's a great way to review geography and involve creative writing activities.
During our Latin Studies Unit the fifth graders studied the unique paintings made on amate paper. We used paper bags and did a quick project where the kids designed a quick composition and used the always fun florescent paint to create a small, rectangular painting that we laminated to make bookmarks.
During our Latin Studies Unit the fifth graders studied the beautiful molas created by the Kuna Indians from Central America. We completed our Molas collage style with paper and focused on composition, movement, and pattern.
Printing with jose posada
Well, we didn't make prints WITH Mr. Posada but we looked at a power point of his work before creating our own calaveras drawing.
Students added an area of pattern and were encouraged to work on their compositions independently and keep it simple. We transferred our designs to styrofoam and learned all about the process of printmaking. Students enjoyed working with different materials and being the experts teaching one another and trouble shooting along the way
While studying Latin American cultures 5th grade has been studying the Huichol People from western Mexico. The Huichol people are famous for their beautiful string art and bead work. Students worked hard to replicate the delicate work of the Huichol people and combined their knowledge of color, texture, movement, and rhythm to create a well thought out composition of a leaf.
Having a common composition cut down the plan time and left more time for the intricate work of laying the yarn. We worked on top of recycled cardboard and drew a contour of a leaf before tracing it with glue. We used the plethora of yarn that I have to outline our leaf and then move on to the background. Students used their problem solving skills to find the best ways to lay the yarn down flat and neat. They also had the choice to fill in the inside of their leaf shape or to simply add an interior detail. The kids seemed to really enjoy working with a different material on a flat surface.
Looking at the Papel Picado's of Mexico, we took it further by combining our knowledge of paper collage and our new knowledge of Dia de Los Muertos to create cut paper pictures instead of the traditional flags. Students really enjoyed working on the subject matter and being creative in their compositions. I really stress craftsmanship with this activity.