Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fourth Grade Day of the Dead Calaveras

Materials Needed

• paper patterns for skulls
• paper patterns for craft stick skeletons
• Claycrete (p. 386 Sax catalog)

• white glue
• craft sticks
• wax paper
• acrylic paint
• markers
• scrap materials to decorate
• scissors
Other Resources
Calavera Abecedario

Day of the Dead resources
skeleton patterns



The population of my school is almost 100% Hispanic. So this year, I decided to do a Day of the Dead project with my fourth graders. They already had a lot of information about the holiday and I actually learned a lot from them!

I started the project by reading the book Calavera Abecedario to my fourth graders. They made a list of the different Calaveras that the author used in the book. Then they discussed the similarities and differences between the Day of the Dead holiday and our Halloween.

They began creating their own Calavera by making an armature for their sculpture out of craft sticks. I had a skeleton pattern xeroxed for them to follow and they glued the sticks together in the shape of a skeleton. Then they mixed Claycrete (I ordered this from Sax Arts. I ordered 2 20 lb boxes and it was MORE than enough for my 100-120 students to create their entire calavara), water and glue together until it had a nice sticky texture (you don't want it to be dripping wet- it won't dry) and began placing it on top of their armature. When we did this part, it was important to wrap the Claycrete around the popsicle sticks so that it would not fall off when it dried.

During the next class, I had skull patterns ready for them. They also used the Claycrete mixture to make the skull of the calavera. 

Once both pieces were dry, we were able to attach the two pieces together, using a needle and thread so that they hung loosely together.

The students began decorating them using a variety of materials that I had pulled out for them- felt, tissue paper, beads, sequins, fabric, paper, colored glue, etc. This was pretty open. I put together a basket for each table and added whatever scrap/excess materials I could find. 
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