to Lesson/Unit (reflecting NYS standards, & targeted learning areas. See
Abbreviation Key at end):
- Increase awareness of and appreciation
for African culture (Std. 4, AH, S)
- Develop appreciation for art
and design in everyday life: clothing and other forms of personal adornment
(Std. 3, AE, L)
- Understand that all artist and
artisans around the world use art elements and principles in their designs
and artwork (Std. 3, AC, AH)
- Develop abstract thinking and
reinforce understanding of symbolism in visual self-expression (Std.
3, AC, A/C)
- Increase cross-cultural understanding
and appreciation for diversity (Std. 4, AE, S)
- Increase self-awareness and
develop positive self-concept (E, S)
- Understand the connection between
possessing/using positive personal qualities and behaviors, and positive
outcomes in living (S, E, L)
- Expand knowledge and skill with
diverse materials and processes for artistic expression (Std. 1,
2, AP, E, M/P)
- Increase/improve attending skills
(E, S, W/S)
for Observational Assessment (reflecting goals):
will be able to:
- Recall/name the culture we are
studying. Goal 1
- Name at least three aspects
that culture comprises (language, beliefs, traditions...). Goals
1, 2, 5
- Recall/describe one use of symbolism
in royal oba crowns (last lesson). Goals 2, 3
- Describe at least one example
of body/personal adornment in African culture, and correlate with similar
practice in American culture. Goal 1, 2, 5
- Attend to the slides with minimal
disruption. Goals 7, 9
- Define negative space.
- Identify/list minimum of 2 positive
qualities to strive for (i.e., how/what can you improve?) Goals
- Create a breastplate that reflects/symbolizes
these qualities by:
- incorporating completed
weavings into the breastplate design in the negative space (weavings
represent current personal qualities)
- incorporating at least one
string of beads on wire using colors to represent a quality(ies) they’re
striving for in the negative space (cut-out area),
- Using additional available
media and techniques to symbolize both the achieved positive quality
and at least one positive quality to strive for Goals 4, 6,
- Demonstrate use of art elements
and principles (overlapping, pattern) in overall design Goal 3
- Assist with clean up as directed
by S/T Goal 7
- Name/describe one quality possessed,
and one quality to strive for, and how/where these are symbolized in breastplate
Goals 4, 6, 8
- Describe at least one way they
behaved like artmakers (use of elements, careful decision-making for aesthetics,
etc.) Goals 3, 8
- Describe at least one positive
quality about another’s breastplate Goal 7
Tools Needed For
- Adorn: to decorate,
to make beautiful by adding something that looks good.
a piece of metal or other material worn over the chest to
protect the wearer; these can be functional or decorative and include symbols
of power, protection, leadership, status (created and worn by various cultures).
- Culture: a
way of life of a group of people; includes language, customs, traditions,
art forms, beliefs, etc.
- Negative Space:
the empty space (shape) surrounded by positive shapes.
- Symbol: something
that stands for an idea; like a shape, color, line or image that stands
for another idea such as a heart to symbolize love or caring, or the color
green to symbolize hope or growth, etc.
finished breastplate showing use of the minimum required components: weaving,
beading, and use of other symbols (2 or 3-D); personal qualities list for
each S/T (at end of lesson plan).
- Art Resources:
slides showing/explaining personal adornment in African culture (jewelry,
body/hair decoration); actual relevant artifacts from Africa: jewelry, clothing,
NOTE: If incorporating weavings,
be sure to tie these off prior to the lesson
- Cut outer breastplate forms
from corrugated cardboard, app. 6x8 inches depending on size of students;
then cut out two smaller shapes within the larger plate to create negative
space to hang weaving and beads strung on wire (poke wire ends into the
corrugation on each side, dab ends with glue to secure)
- Pre-cut rawhide (or yarn) hanging
strings for each breastplate
- Pre-form some copper or brass
wire coil pendant pieces to hang from the bottom of breastplate (inspired
by Masai coil pendants signifying strength and leadership)
- Awls (or large nails) for poking
holes in breastplate to string rawhide, and make holes for hanging other
items as desired
- Children’s weavings from
- Raffia that can be hung from
breastplate or glued on in smaller lengths
- Wire and glass beads for bead
stringing (to be placed in the negative cut out space)
- Extra copper, brass or other
kind of wire for hanging things, making jump rings, or fashioning decorative
pieces to hang (element of line)
- Needle nose pliers, small wire
cutters (or old scissors) for working the wire
- Wooden beads and any other decorative
items to be used (cowry shells, etc.)
- Colored papers
- Markers in assorted colors
- Black Sharpie markers
- Glue sticks (for light items
like paper) and tacky glue with Q-tips and shallow dishes (for heavier items
like beads, shells or wooden pieces)
- Glue guns/sticks for heavier
items (adult use only)
- Pencils and paper
- Slide projector
- Masking tape
- Trays with divided sections
to place all the decoration items in
- Djambe drum
Adaptations: None required for
this lesson, except for seating children with
attention difficulties up front during slide presentation.
(details on procedures from opening to closing of lesson with ability-appropriate
language scripted in as needed:
NOTE: S/Ts should have personal
qualities list, and pencil and paper with them to record children’s
qualities during discussion.
1. Teacher leads Hello Song using
djambe drum, and then has children recall the culture and continent we have
been studying: Africa.
2. Recall: Who can tell us what
the word culture means? Who can tell us something that is part of
a people’s culture?
3. Teacher recalls the previous
lesson on making our crowns, and the symbols we used to tell something about
ourselves. Teacher also mentions the weaving lesson and has children recall
the meanings contained in their weaving (personal qualities they possess that
are symbolized by their chosen colors).
4. Teacher presents idea that there
are other ways that African people adorn themselves (make themselves look
beautiful) besides the beautiful fabrics they create, or the crowns that royal
people wear. Can you think of any other ways that a person can decorate themselves?
How do we do this in America? What are ways that we make ourselves look good?
Clothes, hairstyle, jewelry, body art like piercing, face paint/makeup, tattoos,
etc. Teacher explains how African people do this, too.
5. But, teacher reminds children
that these ways that African people adorn themselves, have special meanings,
and often symbolize an idea about the person who wears them. For example,
wearing cloth of a certain pattern, or a certain hairstyle, or a certain kind
of jewelry, might tell something important about the person.
6. Teacher suggests that we look
at slides to see some of these ideas, and reminds children of slide-watching
7. Following slides, teacher explains
that we can borrow some of these ideas from African culture to create another
piece of personal adornment that will tell something important about us: a
breastplate (a piece of metal or other material that is decorated with special
symbols and worn over the chest area for power and protection).
Teacher gives examples of how breastplates worn in different cultures have
special meaning: like in Native North American culture, a breastplate of cow
pipe bones can only be worn by a man who has proven himself to be brave. We
have seen how certain kinds of jewelry worn by African people may have similar
or different meanings.
8. Teacher presents idea of making
our own breastplates that will have certain meanings: we will use the art
materials, and the elements of art to symbolize two things about ourselves.
One will be a symbol of something good about ourselves, a quality we already
have, like we thought about for our weavings (recall the personality quality
lists and colors used to symbolize them). The second will be a symbol of a
personal quality we need to develop, that we ought to have more of, which
would make us a better person.
9. Teacher asks children to name
a personal quality they would like to strive for/have more of in themselves,
as S/Ts record on the list. S/Ts help children by showing them the personal
qualities list. Can you remember what your teachers or parents are always
telling you to try and do more of, or how to be better? Maybe an adult has
advised you to try and be more patient, or more kind, or more active, or have
a more positive attitude.
10. Once qualities are identified,
teacher reminds children how we can use a color or line or shape or pattern
to symbolize the personal quality we want to work on having more of in ourselves.
11. Using the teacher product as
example, teacher then explains and demonstrates as necessary, the different
media and processes we’ll use to create our breastplates and symbolize
a. We can hang one of our weavings
inside one of the negative spaces (define/show negative space on an undecorated
breastplate: the empty space surrounded by positive space or shapes). The
colors in our weavings show positive personal qualities we already have
b. We can choose colored beads to symbolize the quality we are working on
improving, and string these in a pattern on wire and put inside another
negative space (demonstrate)
c. We can hang wire shapes and lines from the bottom of the breastplate
to show more ideas, like the Masai coil pendants we learned about; and we
can add more things just to make our breastplates look beautiful if we use
our artist’s eye to see what elements and principles of art (like
pattern and overlapping)
would look good.
12. Children go to their small
groups with their S/Ts and begin their breastplates as per the following
- Begin by filling in the positive
background space surrounding the negative space with pattern as per suggestions
- Then fill in the negative spaces. First, suspend the weaving inside
one negative space (qualities we already possess): poke hole in each top
corner of open space, and tie end string of weaving through hole on each
side to suspend)
- Next, add the symbol for the personal quality we are striving for by
choosing colored beads to represent this quality, stringing them on a
piece of flexible wire in desired pattern, and poking ends of wire into
the corrugation at either end of the other negative space. Children can
string more than one row if there is room and time.
- Once the above is accomplished, children can then add others items to
decorate their breastplates and symbolize power and protection as desired.
Some possibilities include:
- Can add wire coils by hanging
from bottom edge of breastplate
- Wooden beads can hang on yarn or raffia from bottom
- Raffia grass that can be hung from bottom hole made with an awl, putting
loop end of raffia piece through hole, and then putting two free ends
of raffia through loop end and pulling up to fit hole
- Cut short pieces of raffia which can be glued on around the outer
edges of the breastplate, like a border (use the tacky glue for this)
- Gluing on or hanging cowry shells if available
13. When breastplates are finished,
S/Ts help tie on the rawhide cord or yarn,
long enough so it can fit over the head, allowing the breastplate to hang
in the chest area (be sure names are on back!).
14. Children can look in the
mirror to see the results.
15. Once finished, children help
S/T’s clean up: KEEP LIKE MATERIALS
TOGETHER IN THE TRAYS!! So, proceed in an orderly fashion: S/Ts ask for
all the glass beads first, then collect all the wooden beads, then the wire
pieces, then the raffia, etc.
16. Finished breastplates are
displayed and discussed. Teacher has children recall the idea of symbolism
of personal qualities, asking some to come up and describe theirs.
17. Teacher takes time to have
group describe another’s breastplate, what they like about it, how
it uses elements of art, uses symbolism, shows artmaker behaviors, etc.
18. Teacher explains what we
will do with the breastplates, and our crowns, for the last session in our
study of African culture (ceremony of power and protection next week!).
19. Everyone sings the Good-bye
Song to drumbeat.
In addition to observation of
Performance Objectives described above, questions to ask might include:
- Were students able to identify
and illustrate more than one idea through symbolic use of materials, elements
- Did students demonstrate use
of pattern, overlapping?
- How well were students able
to verbally articulate the meanings contained in their breastplates?
||Sticks with it (doesn't
NYS Standards for the Arts:
|AH = Art History
||Std. 1 = creating, participating in art
|AC = Art Criticism
||Std. 2 = knowing art materials and processes
|AE = Aesthetics
||Std. 3 = responding to works of art/artists
|AP = Art Production
||Std. 4 = knowing cultural dimensions of art
|Needs Assessment Areas for Developing Skills and Abilities:
|A/C = academic/cognitive
||M/P = motor/perceptual
|| E = emotional
|C = communicative status
||W/S = work/study habits
|| S = social
|Pre-V = prevocational skills
|| L = living skills
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