"Mama" by my daughter age 3

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Turquoise Jewelry

Second graders learned about Native American turquoise jewelry by looking at lots of examples of real turquoise jewelry that was lent to us by a 3rd grade teacher at our school who used to live in New Mexico. We also looked posters and photographs of Indian Chiefs wearing turquoise jewelry.

To make our turquoise beads 2nd graders cut up a raw potato and put the chunks on a skewer stick to dry out. It takes about a week for them to dry. Next we painted the dried pieces with turquoise paint. On the painting day we also made a pendant from tooling foil which they drew on a Native American symbol (we had a poster that had a bunch of different symbols and their meanings for them to choose from).

Lastly they got to make their necklace. I showed them how to place their pendant in the center of their necklace and how the beads should be the same on both sides of the pendant. We also used some store bought beads as accent beads. They turned out great and it was so cute to see them walk out wearing their necklaces so proudly!

Clay Pouches

Pinch Pots

First graders learned about Native American pottery. We specifically looked at a tribe from New Mexico who call themselves the Red Willow People. We watched part of an episode of Reading Rainbow that shows how they actually make their clay from scratch. It also shows the process of how they make their clay bowls, how they fire them in a fire pit rather than a kiln, and how they decorate the pots by scratching into them rather then painting them.

Medicine Pouch

I am doing a Native American unit in art in preparation for an artist in resident that will be working with my classes with all my classes. This artist is also Native American, and from the Oneida Nation Tribe.

I had a parent donate an entire box of leather samples to my class, perfect for the medicine pouch. I showed the 5th graders a power point on the purpose of the medicine pouch in the Native American culture and it also contained lots of examples of medicine pouches.

The design was quite simple for the pouch, two rectangular pieces sewn together, they could include a flap if they wanted. They were required to have two types of stitches in their pouch as well, the whip stitch and the straight stitch. Lastly, they got to embellish with beads and leather scraps.