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Mexican Unit

How to Make a Papel Picado

How to Make a Papel Picado

By on Sep 30, 2016 | 3 comments

TRADITIONAL MEXICAN PAPEL PICADO Papel Picado is a traditional Mexican craft that features colorful paper sheets with intricate cut out details.  It was made by stacking many sheets of paper and using chisels to cut the designs. You can easily make your own Papel Picado by layering sheets of tissue paper and using scissors to cut the designs. EARLY FINISHER OR SUB PLAN PROJECT This is a great free choice activity or a lesson for a sub. Laminate the instructions and place on a table. Add a tray of pre-cut tissue papers, a bowl of scissors and allow the children to create a papel picado during free-choice time. WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Colored tissue paper (12 x 9 approximately) Scissors Marker Yarn and Tape to display Papel Picados INSTRUCTIONS: Fold a piece of tissue paper (lengthwise) in half and then in half again. Make sure one side consist only of folds. Fold the long folded sheet in half. Mark a dot in the corner that is made up of folds. This helps the children recognize where not to cut. Just like cutting a snowflake, cut shapes along all four sides avoiding the area with the dot. To cut a shape from the middle of the rectangle, fold the paper in half again, and cut a shape into the fold. Unfold carefully and tape tissue paper to a long string of yarn. To make multiple panels from one cut, layer 2-3 sheets of tissue paper together ad tape (carefully) while cutting. INSTRUCTIONAL DOWNLOAD Would you like a copy of the instructions?  Click the red box below, fill out your name and email (careful with spelling!) and we’ll send you a free instruction PDF...

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Diego Rivera’s Mother’s Helper Art Lesson

Diego Rivera’s Mother’s Helper Art Lesson

By on Jul 30, 2012 | 17 comments

Diego Rivera is one of the most famous painters in the twentieth century. After studying in Spain and France, he returned to his homeland of Mexico. There he travelled across the country, exploring the cultures, architecture and history of the different regions. Returning to Mexico City, Diego began painting murals for which he became famous. His painting “Mother’s Helpers” contains all the wonderful elements Diego Rivera is famous for: deep, rich tones, depiction of Mexico farm life and dark outlines.  The Drawing Fourth grade students used a black oil pastel and purple 12″ x 18″ sulphite paper to sketch the woman and child. I helped them along by drawing the steps on the whiteboard how to draw the girl and the woman. Take some time to point out the gentle slope of the woman’s head, shoulders and back. The line extends from the top of her head to the curve of her knee. So simple and beautiful. Point out that the heads are out of proportion with the bodies and that children shouldn’t worry if their bodies and heads are perfect. If it works for Diego, it’ll for for them!   The Coloring I place trays of chalk pastels on each table. Use newspapers to cover the desks. Here are a few tips for working with chalk: Understand that chalk is a messy medium and that it’s okay for a child to get messy. Clean-up is easy with baby wipes placed at the end of each table. Use one finger to blend chalk. Think of moving the finger around in little circles, pressing the chalk into the paper fibers. Use a flat end of the chalk whenever possible for this lesson. Children will want to avoid using a sharp angle to color as it takes longer. Spraying often distorts the artwork so I rarely spray. Instead, I use newspaper to cover the artwork. The Outlining The final step is to use a black oil pastel and a black chalk pastel to outline and to add shadow and depth. This is one of the few times I allow my students to use black chalk pastel. Most of the time, it is hidden away in a separate box! Fourth grade Diego...

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Mexican Unit: Fruit Crate Art Project

Mexican Unit: Fruit Crate Art Project

By on Feb 15, 2011 | 9 comments

Continuing with our Mexico-themed art lessons, second graders created “Market Day” fruit crates. The project took three 45-minute sessions. First session: the students created their own painted paper.  Second session: students free-cut (organic shapes) fruit and vegetables.  Third session: they created a wooden crate from brown paper, added a colorful border and glued all the pieces together. For a final flourish, the children glued vintage fruit crate labels to their crates. I found them at Now and Then Designs on Flickr. Click on this link to read about How to Make Painted Paper Use old “placemats” cut into long strips as a colorful border.       Second Grade fruit and vegetable crates!...

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Mexican Unit: Sombrero & Poncho Art Project

Mexican Unit: Sombrero & Poncho Art Project

By on Feb 11, 2011 | 19 comments

My third grade classes are a creative and energetic bunch. They have a hard time sitting still. Instead of trying to reign them in, I take a different approach: offer a lesson as energetic as they are. For my Mexican Art Unit, I selected the sassy sombrero and colorful tunics. The kids loved it and the art room was an explosion of color and style   Here’s what you’ll need for the sombrero: 18″ x 24″ sheets of bright colored paper (I used red, orange and yellow) Black oil pastel for drawing sombrero Scissors White glue Tubs of bright tempera paints Lots of brushes Pans of sequins or other embellishments like pom-poms Black paint Tissue paper and paper scraps. What to do: The students followed a simple directed line instruction for drawing the sombrero. Afterwards I brought out paints and placed six tubs of paint per table. My solution for keeping things relatively under control is to provide one brush per paint color. If that color is being used, a child must use another color. I rarely have more than 5 students at one table, so it seems to work. At this point, we set the sombreros on a rack (barely fit!) and allowed them to dry. The next class, children add more paint details and then outline all of their patterns with black paint. Set a tray of sequins or embellishments, yarn and some paper scraps on a table and allow the children to decorate according to their tastes. This was a fun project. I didn’t work too hard trying to enforce standards, although we did look at the color wheel. Third Grade Sombreros Poncho Art I began a unit on Mexico this week, celebrating the vibrancy of the Mexican Culture. Like the sombreros, the ponchos were a huge hit with first and second grade students. This is a magical age in which kids love to stand up and move around, finding the perfect embellishment or color of yarn to add to their art. Starting with a 12″ x 18″ piece of colored paper, first grade students cut a 5″ slit down the center of the paper. Then, they cut a triangle from both sides of the slit. This creates the neck opening. Next,...

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Poncho Art Project

Poncho Art Project

By on Feb 3, 2011 | 2 comments

I began a unit on Mexico this week, celebrating the vibrancy of the Mexican Culture. For first grade, we made ponchos, a variation of a Painted Paper project that created Mexican blankets. Starting with a 12″ x 18″ piece of colored paper, first grade students cut a 5″ slit down the center of the paper. Then, they cut a triangle from both sides of the slit. This creates the neck opening. Next, cut another skinny triangle from each corner of the paper to form shoulders. The fringe was next. The students snipped the paper to create a fringe. If you have more time and want to elaborate on this project, a fringe made from snipped yarn would also be cool. Using oil pastels, kids drew lines across the poncho, making some plain and others decorative. Then they cut strips of old painted “placemats” and glued them to the collars. Time for  the paints. I keep pre-mixed tempera paint in pint sized plastic containers (with lids). I set 4-5 various colors on the table. For many kids, painting the poncho with the actual poncho in mind was rare. Most kids experimented with mixing, spreading and reveled in the joys of painting. For first grade, this is exactly what is expected. Although some kids indeed painted stripes and decorations with serious consideration. For the kids who finished the painting, we stapled yarn at the neckline for a tie. When I see these kids next week, I might have them outline the stripes with a black oil pastel and give them an opportunity to add a string closure. But if we don’t have time, I won’t worry about it. The process was so much fun and the art room was awash in color! This lesson took forty minutes. First Grade...

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Sugar Skulls Art Lesson

Sugar Skulls Art Lesson

By on Oct 14, 2010 | 20 comments

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a spectacular event. Not to be confused with Halloween, Dia de los Muertos is Mexican holiday that honors deceased loved ones on November 2nd. Traditions include decorating alters with sugar skulls and marigolds as well as food and pictures. The art itself is vibrant, detailed and rich in history. The sugar skulls fascinate me the most. They aren’t meant to be scary, but rather fun and celebratory. Still, relaying that message to young kids can be tough. Inevitable, someone (usually a boy!) will want to create the scariest skull possible–blood, vampire teeth and gore. Oh well. I suppose that can be fun, too. I just prefer the flowers and glitter! So here’s what we did: On a sheet of white 12″ x 18″ drawing paper, draw a skull and spine with a black oil pastel. Using oil pastels, add lines, patterns,flowers and any other decorative lines to the skulls. Along the side of the skull, draw large and small flowers. Marigolds are the traditional flower but I encourage flowers of any design, even a venus-fly catcher as was the case in one class! Using oil pastel or bright colored paints (my choice), paint or color the flowers. I bought a set of florescent paints this Fall, so I used a few colors in this project. Worked well, but regular tempera paint would have been fine. After the skull and flowers are painted and colored in, cut out skull and ll flowers. Glue onto black drawing paper. Encourage some overlap with the flowers, especially if a child has many. As a final embellishment, set out a tray of craft jewels and allow kids to decorate. For glitter, use white school glue to draw lines around shapes then sprinkle and shake with glitter! Sparkling, messy and a whole lot of fun! Note to teachers in large classes: It’s my best advice to allow only an adult to sprinkle the glitter.Utter chaos could result if thirty 3rd graders are left in charge! More Day of the Dead Art Projects Day of the Dead Katrina Doll (3-D Papier Mache) Day of the Dead Painting project for younger...

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