Tag Archives: native american

Kumeyaay Ollas

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The third grade learns about the history of our community. Part of that history includes the Native American tribes that lived here before anyone else.

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They often take a field trip to the Kumeyaay Interpretive center and see a replica of an Ewaa, grind acorns, paint rocks and learn about the tools, food, lifestyle and culture of these people.

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To complement the study of the Kumeyaay, students created these paper pots. We looked at images of Kumeyaay pottery, learned how it was made and then cut out our ollas from paper. I do not have a kiln, so we cannot easily do clay lessons.

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We also looked at images of petroglyphs and petrographs from our county. We learned that most of the Kumeyaay pottery was not decorated but did have fire clouds from the Raku firing process they used. We also learned that Kumeyaay pottery is still being made today.

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I allowed the students to use images from pictographs and petroglyphs to add more color to their pottery if they chose to. They glued their finished pots onto simple backgrounds when complete.

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.