Sunday, October 3, 2010

Native American Silhouettes

          As I have said before I started this year with my 2nd-4th grades with a unit about Native American Arts and Crafts. I love to make powerpoints (ppt) with pictures to inspire the kids for every topic. One ppt I showed was on different types of traditional homes that were found around North America. The six I chose were wigwam, tepee, longhouse, plank house, chickee hut and adobe. I had the 4th grade read a short piece about each one then launched into my project.
          I will admit my 4th graders were wondering why we were looking at pictures of Native American homes in art. I had told them our theme and what we were studying, but they still looked confused. At least until I showed them what we were going to do.
     Wow! did 4th grade love doing this technique with the chalk! It is simple, but takes some explaining and demonstration for them to see the effect. But you always get a "Cool!" from them.
The chalk technique is not new, you just tear a 4 x 9 piece of oak tag length wise for an uneven edge. Then apply chalk to the torn edge that is about as wide as a finger. (Note: for neatness sake we did that step on a piece of newsprint to keep our background paper clean)
     Place the torn edge, with the chalk at the top, on  the background paper (blue) and use a piece of paper towel to brush up and away from the edge to the background paper. Each time you change colors just move the edge down a little (3/4 -1.5 inch) to get the layer effect.
          We tried to go from lightest to darkest chalk colors so we could avoid some nasty accidents of mixing blue and orange or something else. We had all kinds of results these are just three.
          As I look at them now I noticed they all have tepee silhouettes. Oops, I actually had them pick one style of home and create the silhouettes for the foreground. Not everyone did teepee's. We actually had a good variety of adobe, wigwam, chickee hut and even a long house. Sorry I didn't get pictures of those!
         Well back to the classroom for more art!


  1. I usually do a unit in November on Native American art since that is Native American Heritage Month, and I've been looking for a project to replace one I don't really like. This is perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Janie glad you can use this lesson. As I said we did a lot more than just tepees. I had ppt of all six types. Let me know how you lesson goes.