Friday, October 21, 2011

Mixed Media Paper Weaving

This project was done with 4th-6th grade students in my ED class.  It started off as being loosely inspired by Kente cloth.  We noticed that the warp and weft strips of Kente cloth often has contrasting patterns.  I gave the students two long strips of paper, markers, and a handout with what the colors traditionally symbolize in Kente cloth.  I didn't tell them they had to use colors based on the symbolism, I think they all just used colors they liked to make their lines and patterns.  We used Mr.Sketch markers and I love the bright colors.  It was taking a REALLY long time (it ended up taking 4 class periods) so I eventually gave them tempera paint to use for their second strip or to fill in gaps on their first.  Some didn't finish filling in all the white space and that's ok, too.  The last class was for actually weaving the paper.  I showed them how to fold one piece in half and cut vertical slits to make the warp and cut the other piece of paper into horizontal strips for the weft.  They all did a really good job with the over, under pattern.  We added tiny dots of glue for extra security and the weavings are now being displayed in the hallway.

Working with this class is kind of unique.  I really enjoy the smaller class size (never more than 10 students) so we can try some things that I wouldn't attempt with a full class.  These students, who span 3 grades, are mostly in a self-contained class but sometimes miss for special activities with their individual grades.  So, it can be kind of tricky to get projects finished when some miss and others are there.  3 of the students missed half the class periods we spent on this project.  2 of those 3 were gone on the day we wove and one was there but only had 1 paper finished, hence the piece kind of in the middle with construction paper weft.  I just let him pick the colors he wanted and create his pattern.  Sometimes it can be stressful to figure out how to quickly adapt lessons for students who have missed and sometimes it's kind of a fun challenge.  The worst is when a younger student was gone, doesn't tell you they were gone, and just sits there while everyone else works until you notice 10 minutes into class because you've been so busy passing out materials and helping other students!  But, that's an issue for another day.

I had a really short week!  I ended up staying home with my sick son on Monday and Wednesday though I did go in for conferences Wednesday night and 12 hours yesterday.  I know I really worked my hours for today but it was nice  to have a scheduled day "off."  Hope you all have a great weekend!


  1. I love a good weaving! These look great!

  2. Pretty cool! I love all the color and pattern

  3. Thanks! I think they would have worked on this all semester if I let them!