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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Third Grade Illuminated Letters

Materials Needed

• copper foil
• graph paper
• pencils
• craft sticks
• permanent markers
• magazine/newspapers
Magic in the Margins: A Medieval Tale of Bookmaking-W. Nikola-Lisa
Marguerite Makes a Book -Bruce Robertson
Bestiary: An Illuminated Alphabet of Medieval Beasts -Jonathan Hunt

Third grade read Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson. We discussed the process of book-making in medieval times and compared it to how books are made today. We focused on the illuminated letters that were created and what characteristics they had.

We then looked at a variety of relief sculptures and noted how parts of the sculptures stood out and parts of them receded. They then started their own relief sculptures, using their initials and embossing a piece of copper foil.

First, they drew their initials on a piece of graph paper. I had them use graph paper to help them with measurement. It made it much easier for them to make their letters thick, using the grid. I have used a variety of different sizes, but have found that the smaller grids are more difficult for the students to use.

After they had their design ready on graph paper, they transferred it to a piece of copper foil by placing the paper over the foil and carefully tracing the initials with a pencil. I had to remind them to place a magazine or stack of newspapers under their copper so that the pencil would leave an impression.

They used popsicle sticks and their pencils to press their designs into the copper.

When their entire design was complete, we used permanent markers to add color. Pin It