I usually save weaving and collage for the last units of the year for all of my grades. It is a nice way to wind down the year and my kids really love the projects they make. Last year, I simply ran out of time with my second grade students. I wanted to ensure they didn’t miss out on weaving as third graders so I changed course and did weaving as my first unit of the year. It turned out to be a fabulous idea and spring-boarded into many other projects.
We began with very basic paper weaving. Students did two projects to help them get acquainted with the terminology and how weaving works. I kept stressing, “It works the same, whether you work with cloth, yarn, or paper. Over, under, over, under.”
A few years back, I found this great video on YouTube about Kente weavings. Kente weavings come from Ghana and is a source of great pride for the country. Some of my co-workers have visited the country and some of my students are from Ghana, so there was a lot of excited generated by the patterns and the process. Here is the video of the project we did:
I also played videos of people in Ghana weaving and the kids were fascinated. Then I showed them some real Kente weavings I borrowed from one of my colleagues. They were hooked.
(The mochila is not from Ghana, it is from La Guajira, Colombia).
Here are some photos to show the process:
The hardest part of this project is the construction of the warp strips. If students do not glue the strips straight, the weaving will flair out at the bottom, making lots of holes in the final product.
Students love Sharpies. They really wanted to color everything in. Had to keep reminding them to keep it to simple patterns.
In the end, the students did an amazing job on their projects. They have a high respect for weavers. As a last step, students got to work with yarn and large needles, which was an introduction to their next project, weaving on a compact disc.