K-5 Paper Weaving

Inspired by Navajo blankets

This semester, I have been wanting to do a longer project with most of the grade levels, and since anything with clay is out of the question now, I decided on weaving.  We are starting with paper weaving to introduce the skills, and later grades 2-5 will complete yarn weavings.  Both of these projects incorporate Native American history and culture.  Showing photographs of traditional and contemporary Navajo blankets, pictures of women working at the large looms, and a map showing where certain tribes lived, has greatly helped all grade levels to understand more of the culture and significance what they are making in class.

I am required to work with one grade level as they begin to incorporate the Common Core reading standards.  I’m collaborating with fourth grade, and the standard this month revolved around distinguishing main ideas in nonfiction texts.  I found a book about Native Americans in the school library which had a nice paragraph about arts and crafts.  I photocopied and laminated a copy of the page for each table.  As I read aloud, the groups followed along.  Then, in groups, students were required to write a one sentence main idea on a post-it note.  When finished, they stuck it to the ELMO.  After everyone finished, we turned on the ELMO and discussed (and edited if needed) each main idea sentence. 

Grades K-1 used pre drawn papers, and simply had to cut along the lines to create their looms.  2-5 made their own completely.  I spent more time with K-3 on the process of weaving and the over/ under pattern.  We all sat on the floor so that they could get up close and see.  I made a special mark on the first column so that they would know where to always start when using a new strip of paper.  They would always check that column to see if their pattern was going to start with an over or an under.  The opposite for each row thing is the most difficult part for students to understand, so I spent some time on it.  Grades 4-5 picked up on it quickly. 

I also found a use for some old file folders that I inherited!  They are perfect for holding the paper weavings which are too large for the class folders.

art education education common core weaving first year teacher literacy

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