Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Week 20: Mardi Gras Masks

This project turned into a real crowd pleaser!  The kids liked it and I think their results turned out great.

I try to do seasonal/historical things as much as possible and this ties into Mardi Gras season,  as well as being related to the kids' study of "Island Nations." In this case it was a Caribbean theme, whereas the tiki masks I did the week before were more Polynesian.  I ended up using these Mardi Gras masks as centerpieces for the International Lunch the kids had as a culmination of their Island Nation studies.  The ironic thing is that this theme was picked before the horrific Haitian earthquake and ended up being a great tie-in to some fundraising for Haiti.

This project also fits into my increasingly common use of paper plates as artistic materials. This is at least the third use of plates this year. Maybe I should write a book!;-)  I ended up using plates mainly as an economical alternative to the really costly masks you can buy in craft stores or really tim- consuming plaster method that I would do with older kids.

The prep involved getting small lunch plates and cutting them in half.  Then I used a 1" circle punch for eyes and nose.  A chopstick hot-glued on as a handle completed the work I did before class.

I find that the kids really like the assemblage projects that involve hot glue guns and "stuff."  Since I use the glue gun, this does make for a more intensive class since they lineup have me put the hot glue on their masks.

I printed out several examples of the real masks and gave them a quick background on the signigance of Mardi Gras, Lent and Easter. This being a Christian school probably allows for more leeway in this respect.  I also showed them that the official colors are purple, yellow and green.

For materials I gave the kids colored feathers, sequins, ribbon, pop-poms and markers.  It is amazing how colorful and festive they ended up looking with just a few simple embelishments.  The kids spent so much time making these, that we needed almost two classes to complete.

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