Wampum Beads

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Kids love to weave and I love to teach them weaving. I have done soda straws, kumihimo disks, finger knitting, cardboard looms, fork weaving and god’s eyes.

I saw this at There’s a Dragon in My Art Room a few years back and wanted to do it with a group of students. I first tried it with a group of 5th graders whom I had done art with since kindergarten. Then I did it again with my after school group.

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I created an excel sheet with a pattern grid for kids to fill in. I used cardboard looms that I had already. I cut them up to accommodate the smaller size of a bracelet. I purchased plastic needles from Dick Blick and used some blunt tapestry needles I had from another project. The students used pony beads. I had a group of kids sort them by color into baggies before we did the project. To save class time, I warped all the looms myself.

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If a kid doesn’t weave correctly, loose strings will be seen. If they skip a lot of strings, the entire project will fall apart when it is taken off the loom.

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I always have the kids who can do the project without help be our “student experts”. My students love to share what they know with each other. It is a great way for me to help those students who need extra help.

One afternoon, I heard a veteran student of mine tell a new student “Mrs. N. really likes us to become art experts so we can teach others how to do cool art”.  I think by teaching others, we get better at whatever it is we do.

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