Friday, May 15, 2015

Primary Weaving- Collaborative & Choice

I introduced a weaving concept to each grade at my primary school.
Kindergarten- Basic idea of weaving- over-under/ collaboration
1st Grade- Paper Weaving options
2nd Grade- Embellishing options for paper weaving
3rd Grade- Yarn weaving

Instead of asking each Kindergarten student to complete their own weaving project, I really just wanted them to understand what weaving is and to practice the over-under pattern. My first idea was to have each Kindergartener take a short break from their choice project to come to my table and practice weaving one strip in one of the large paper looms (12x18 inches) I'd cut for each class. After each student finished his/her strip, they wrote their name on one of the squares they'd created.

That proved to be a time consuming venture. After two days, a better idea came to me. After the introduction in my last Kindergarten classes, I sent students back to their tables where they worked with their groups to weave strips through 9x12 inch paper looms I'd precut. Not only was it faster, there was teamwork and problem solving. Only one student wove at a time, but they helped each other remember the pattern.

Other than in Kindergarten and 1st grade, weaving projects were optional for the students. Not all of the 2nd graders chose to weave paper, but I think all but a few 3rd graders did because they were SO excited about using yarn. I've found that the easiest looms for students to use are made from foam trays. The space between the suspended yarn and the bottom of the tray makes it easier for students than weaving on a flat surface. We displayed the yarn weaving projects by stapling the piece to a 6x9 inch piece of paper labeled with the student's  name.

Many students tried cutting different designs in the planning of their paper looms. The students who wanted a more traditional grid-like weaving used a precut 1 inch strip to trace the lines they would soon cut.
 Some 1st graders used their paper weavings as an interesting background for something else.
 Here are some 2nd grade projects exploring more ideas for embellishing weavings. From left to right, there is a weaving project with a handprint, weaving through painted paper, weaving through a marker drawing of tie-dye, and circles collaged on top with the letters of the student's name on top.
 Weaving projects with stamped paint on top.
More students want to do extra work outside of class on yarn weaving than on any other project. This student stuck to the rainbow pattern for the entire project. She worked on it in art class for a few weeks before taking scraps to finish it during recess.

Weaving has proven to be a very engaging project for my students over the last few years. Weaving is also one of the lowest cost projects. The looms were made either from meat trays I saved and sanitized at home or from recycled cardboard or mat board. I've also picked up 2 trash bags full of yarn at garage sales for under $5 total. It lasts a long time! I did buy some plastic weaving needles and though they were also very affordable, they are not necessary. Students can weave just using their fingers.

Over the summer I hope to try weaving a pouch. I've seem some lessons online but haven't yet had time to give it a go.

Do your students love weaving as much as mine?


  1. Terrific post. My students too are always readily engaged with weaving and yes, working with a partner does help those that are struggling with the under and over pattern. I usually set up a 'loom' near the end of each art room table by wrapping rope or fabric stripping or plastic stripping around the table top to create the warp threads, about 20, and then tie them off underneath the table by tying the end off to the start. I hope that makes sense. I then use yarn for the weft and set the students up in pairs and they weave on the table. I then rotate the pairs of students to weave on other things through the session (thick mailing tubes that I have wound warp threads into and around an the students then weave on the outside of the tube/weaving yarn on different sized cardboard frames/etc) I have had to come up with these silly ideas as we don't have any 'real' weaving looms and don't have a budget to buy any. Nobody actually 'owns' these big weaving pieces and as the next grade 1 comes in they then work on the same pieces so they can see a huge amount of weaving done when they come in for their next session. By the time they have done 2 sessions of weaving on all sort of looms with a partner they are usually capable of then attempting a more individual piece if that is what you want them to do. I usually don't bother and just cut the warp threads, tie them to each other so the weaving won't unravel and hang these group pieces, worked on over two to three sessions by each of six grade 1 classes, and put them on display.
    I then do CD weaving with grade 2. This is great fun and the students like to take them home and work on them.
    One of my colleagues always does straw weaving with her grade 4 students and they love it.
    And weaving on a plastic cup is fun too