From Peace Corps Wiki
Visual and Creative Arts
Contains lesson plan on everything from Leaf Mobile to Introduction to Terms in Art to Colour Combinations and much, much more.
Art Project Ideas
The following is a list to give to students at the beginning of each term to help them find ways to develop their sketches and drawings.
Try it larger.
Try it smaller.
Make it black and white.
Put it away and look at it later.
Look at it in a mirror.
Make it pretty.
Make it bold and tough.
Fill it up.
Use more white space.
Use some lines.
Use a border.
Go over the edge.
Use a drawing.
Use a photo.
Use a symbol.
Make the type bigger.
Make the type smaller.
Cut it up and rearrange it.
Add a texture.
Do it freehand.
Try something you like.
Try something you dislike.
Make it gray.
Connect the elements.
Add a background.
Tack it up on the wall.
Look at it upside down.
Add more colour.
Make it off balance.
Give it rhythm.
- A table top or floor with newspaper spread out works as well as an easel. Try painting on newspaper for interesting effect. If powdered tempera is used, add liquid starch when mixing for smoother paint.
- Group Mural. Use brown wrapping paper. Best to limit to five or six children while rest of class is doing something else or divide whole class into small groups to work on separate murals.
- Sectional Group Mural. Plan mural and sketch full scale on brown wrapping paper. Cut into sections and have each child paint one section at his desk. Assemble when finished.
- Watercolour Painting. On dry paper, on wet paper, in combination with India ink. Good project for learning to mix colours.
- Coloured India Inks. Give vivid watercolour effects.
- Encaustic Painting. Melt crayon stubs in tin cans. May make stove from 100-watt lightbulb under an empty tin can with holes cut in top. Or hold candle in one hand, heat crayon, and draw while hot, reheating as necessary. Or hold candle to crayon and allow wax to drip onto paper, painting picture drop by drop until entire surface of paper is covered.
- Tempera Batik. On rough-surface watercolour paper, paint picture with thick tempera paint, leaving many areas of unpainted paper. When thoroughly dry, cover whole painting with black India ink. After ink is dry, put under running water and rub with fingers until desired effect is achieved.
- Fingerpainting. Best for young children.
- Sponge Painting. Instead of a brush, paint with a small piece of sponge. Also, try painting a picture with an old toothbrush, shaving brush, or whisk broom.
- Painting on Corrugated Paper. Ripple surface adds interest.
- Relief Painting. Use texture-type wall paint to build up textured areas up to half-inch thickness on hard surface such as masonite. Then paint with tempera paints in desired colours. This works well for relief maps.
- Crayon resist. Thinned black tempera over wax crayon drawing. Paint will not adhere to wax marks. Or use watercolours instead of tempera.
- Rubber Cement Resist. Brush rubber cement on paper to make design. Paint with watercolours. Pull off rubber cement.
- Candle Wax Resist. Draw with a lighted candle by dripping wax on paper and smearing immediately with unlighted end of candle. Then paint paper with thinned tempera.
- Spatter Painting. Use an old toothbrush and tempera paint. Rub toothbrush over a piece of screening or draw stick toward you across bristles. May use with or without stencils.
- String painting. Dip string in tempera paint and lay onto clean paper to form design. Cover with paper and press. Pull extended ends of string for blurred effect. Use several colours, each printed separately.
- Painting with Printing Brayer. Roll brayer into coloured printing inks and roll directly onto paper. May use loose sheets of paper to lay on as stencil to block out areas. May tie a string around brayer before rolling in ink to give interesting texture. Use several different colours on roller at same time.
- Crayon Shavings on Paper. Crayon stubs separated by colour, grated with a vegetable grater, sprinkled on paper or cloth, covered with newsprint, then pressed with hot iron.
- Self Portraits. From memory, or older students may use small mirror to refer to themselves.
- Figure Drawing. Students take turns posing for each other. Short five-minute poses best. Costumes may be used to dress up in for added interest.
- Still Life. Set-ups using bottles, vegetables, stuffed dolls, and other inanimate objects (not recommended below nine years of age).
- Live Animals. Pets (rabbits, kittens) or school farm (chickens, goats) make good models. Sketching trip to zoo or natural history museum.
- Outdoor Sketching. Pencil and watercolour work well. Sketches may be worked up later in class (not recommended below nine years of age).
- Contour Drawing. Line drawing of outer edges of subject. Usually made by looking at object being drawn and not looking at paper.
- Gesture Drawing. Rapid drawing made by not lifting pencil from paper. Quick scribbles to catch motion of figure.
- Silhouette Drawing. Heavy strokes with side of crayon to capture mass of object drawn.
- Opposite Hand. Try drawing with the nondominant hand.
- Try many materials. Pencil, charcoal, black crayon, pen and ink, brush and ink, felt-tip pen, matchstick and ink, pipe cleaner and ink, old lipstick tubes, etc.
- India Ink on Wet Paper. Tilt and turn paper so ink can run and “move out.”
- Crayon Drawing. Large kindergarten crayons are best for all ages. Remove paper from crayon and break before using for greater freedom of use.
- Scratchboard. Use commercial scratchboard paper or make your own by painting “building white” (a mixture of shiting and fisher glue) over a sheet of masonite or cardboard. Cover with India ink and scratch through in the usual way. Try a piece of broken hacksaw blade for texture.
- Crayon Engraving (Etching). Crayon coloured heavily over the entire surface of paper, dusted with talcum powder, then painted with black tempera and drawing scratched through. May use needle to scratch design.
- Crayon Tracing Paper Drawings. Colour a piece of tracing paper all over heavily with wax crayon. Using the tracing paper, place it over good paper and draw a fine-line drawing. Many different coloured sheets may be used.
- Crayon Rubbing. Cut shapes of paper, burlap, screen wire, string, paper clips, rubber jar rings, rubber bands, etc., and place under paper to form design or picture. Rub with flat side of crayon.
- Texture Rubbing. Draw certain parts of drawing directly and make rubbings of prominently textured objects in certain areas (rough-grained wood, stucco walls, screen wire, hardware cloth, burlap, etc.).
- Chalk. Can be used to make wall murals or floor drawings. Works nicely on cement. Try to find coloured chalk.
- Flour paste. Can be put into baggies and squeezed onto the surface of cloth or paper. Let dry in the sun and then paint dye or colours on the surface. Then flake off the flour and see the design. Flour acts as a resist.
- Linoleum Block Printing. Battleship linoleum works best. Design may be cut with a razor blade or linoleum cutting tool. White lines on black or vice versa. Very young children can cut block by pounding design into linoleum with hammer and nail. Linoleum cuts more easily if heated. Water-based or oil-based inks are available.
- Woodcut. Using soft, even-grained wood.
- Scrap Wood and Spool Printings. Blocks of different sizes and shapes and empty spools are painted with tempera and pressed onto paper.
- Vegetable and Fruit Printing. Potatoes, carrots, celery, okra, apples.
- Printing with Kitchen Hardware and Miscellaneous Objects. Cookie cutters, potato mashers, forks, spring-type egg beaters, metal hinges, L braces, bottle caps, seashells.
- Artgum Printing. Cut motif for repeated design.
- Sponge Printing. Cut sponge into geometric shapes, press into paint, and stamp onto paper.
- Eraser Mosaic. Paint a picture by stamping successive dots with the small round eraser on the end of a pencil. Use thin layer of tempera paint in lid as stamp pad. Try stamping on dark-coloured paper. May cut eraser into triangle or square shape for variety.
- Inner Tube and String Printing. Pieces cut from any inner tube and glued onto cardboard backing for solid areas. String glued on for lines. Ink and print like linoleum block.
- Texture Printing. Paint textured objects (corrugated paper, sponge, cork, burlap, etc.) and press onto paper to print.
- Monotype/Print. Honey and glycerine recipe combined with tempera. Small amount of monotype medium is added to each of the colours of tempera paint before painting. Painting is done on a sheet of glass (or plastic or metal). First coat glass with medium, then paint picture on the glass, and before it is dry, place sheet of paper on painting surface, and pull the print. Tissue or rice paper is the best. Newsprint may be used.
- Vaseline Print. Mix powdered tempera with Vaseline. Bray out on masonite or glass. Place paper directly on ink surface and draw design on back of paper with tongue depressor. Line will appear darker where drawing has been made but whole paper will have textured surface from contact with Vaseline ink.
- Glass Lithograph. Draw on glass with candlewax. Moisten glass with sponge. Roll oil-based ink over glass. Lay paper on glass and pull print.
- Silk Screen Printing. For frame, use old wooden picture frame, embroidery hoop, or man’s cardboard shirt box (cut out center of box about one inch from edges). Stretch cheap organdy across opening and around sides. Tape well with brown paper tape. Shellac taped area heavily to waterproof. Cut stencil from mimeograph stencil or wax paper or use glue blockout solution. Small window squeegee or tongue depressor may be used.
- Photogram. Lay objects on photographic contact paper to form design. Expose to light and develop.
- Duco Cement Printing. Drool Duco cement onto glass to make a design. Ink entire glass and pull print.
- Leaf Print. Ink back of leaf (vein side) or feather and press onto paper. Plan placement and colours.
- Stenciling. Stencils with holes or stencils made from cut-out pieces of paper laid on top of paper. Paint by using brush or spatter painting.
- Printed Fabrics. Print by stenciling, block printing, silk screening, artgum printing, etc. Print materials for clothing, curtains.
- Greeting Cards. Plan and reproduce designs in quantity.
- Group Calendar. Whole class may block prints for a group calendar project and print complete set for each member of the class.
- Printed Signs. Use type cut from artgum erasers or small pieces of linoleum blocks mounted on wood. Cut in reverse.
Cutting and Pasting
- Cut Paper Pictures. Use coloured construction paper, paste, and scissors/razors.
- Torn Paper Pictures. (“Let’s pretend we lost our scissors.”) Use coloured construction paper and paste.
- Photo Montage. Composite paste-up of photographs clipped from magazines. Follow certain theme. Arrange and overlap to form design. Lettering may be used if it is part of the design.
- Coloured Yarns Pasted on Paper. Combines well with chalk as background.
- Mosaic Tile. Using bits of coloured glass, pebbles, etc., choose small cardboard box of desired size. Plan design in bottom of box. Attach each piece lightly to bottom of box with paste. Pour plaster over. When dry, tear box apart, remove tile, and clean off paste. Or tesserae of uniform thickness may be glued to masonite background with tile cement, then the cracks filled with grout. Excess wiped off.
- Corn mosaic. Using kernels of coloured Indian corn, glue onto cardboard with Duco cement or set in plaster of Paris. Also, try buttons.
- Paper Mosaic. Using bits of cut paper. Try various papers, including metallic paper, sandpaper, corrugated, graph, lined music score sheets, etc.
- Torn Paper Mosaic. Tear small colour swatches from magazine ads and use to paste up a picture. Overlapping torn edges and similar colour tones.
- Paper Bag Masks. Decorate with paint, crayon, cut paper, collage materials, etc.
- Paper Plate Masks. Holes cut out for eyes and nose, then painted.
- Posters. Use cut paper letters or letters clipped from magazines.
Weaving and Stitchery
- Creative Embroidery. Coloured yarns on burlap. Wall hanging.
- Weaving on a Cardboard Loom. Circle cut from cardboard with hole in center and notches all around. Or notches cut on sides on cardboard and warp wrapped around.
- Weaving on Board with Nails.
- Spool Weaving. Nails pounded in one end of spool.
- Modelling, Casting, and Carving
- Clay Pottery. Pinch pots, coil methods, slab method, wheel throwing.
- Plaster Casting. Over plasticine model. Borax may be added to plaster of Paris to slow down drying time, if desired. Mixing with warm water will speed up drying time. NEVER pour excess plaster down sink drain.
- Clay Masks. Actual size or much smaller. Use both hands simultaneously to model.
- Sawdust Modeling Mixture. Add prepared wheat paste to sawdust, mix until the consistency of clay. Can also be used to make beads. Can be painted when dry.
- Flour-Salt Modeling Mixture. One part flour and one part salt. Add water and mix well until the consistency of clay. Can use cornstarch instead of flour.
- Papier Mâché Pulp. Soak small pieces of torn paper in water overnight. Drain and mix with wallpaper paste (or equivalent) to form pulp paste. Press into shapes or use a mould coated lightly with Vaseline.
- Papier Mâché Strips. Dip torn newspaper strips in paste and layer over mould (mask, bowl, balloon, balled-up newspaper, etc.). Use five or six layers. Alternate layers of white newspaper with coloured comics to determine when each layer is completely covered. Remove mould when paper is dry.
- Hand Puppets from Papier Mâché Strips. Make mould of head from clay, sawdust modeling mixture, balled-up paper, etc. Layer narrow strips dipped in wallpaper paste or equivalent over mould (first layer dipped in water only). Five or six layers dipped in paste and spread smoothly over mould. When dry, remove mould by cutting around form with razor blade to make two halves. Remove mould and reattach shells with paper strips inside and out.
- Shadow Puppets. Cut silhouettes performing behind sheet and in front of strong light.
- Wood Carving. Use wood chisels or pocket knife. Balsa wood and basswood are very soft.
- Soft Stone Carving. Sandstone, soapstone, limestone, and alabaster are soft enough to be workable with older children. Use stone cutting chisels and a bush hammer.
- Salt Block Carving. Use stone chisels. Design must be planned around central hole.
- Clay Block Carving. Prepare blocks of clay by wedging well, packing firmly, and drying slowly. Carve with old knife or plaster tools.
- Wax Carving. Pour melted wax into paper milk carton mould. Carve when cool.
- Cinderblock or Insulation Brick Carving. These prepared building materials are all soft enough to carve easily.
- Plaster of Paris Carving. Pour into cardboard box mould and carve when dry. Mix sand with plaster for interesting texture.
- Dirt and Plaster Carving. Sift common dirt and add equal amount of moulding plaster. Mix thoroughly while dry. Slowly add equal amount of water and pour into cardboard box mould. In half an hour it is ready to be carved with pocket knife.
- Vermiculite and Cement. Pour a mixture of water and two parts vermiculite to one part Portland cement into a shellacked cardboard box.
- Vermiculite and Plaster of Paris. Pour a mixture of water and three parts vermiculite to one part plaster of Paris into a shellacked cardboard box.
Construction and Assemblage
- Bookbinding. Sewn, Japanese, accordion bindings. Portfolio. Journals.
- Wire Sculpture. Drawing with wire. Assorted sizes and colours; copper wire, aluminum wire, brass wire, covered electric wire, etc. Aluminum clothesline wire, TV wire, and stovepipe wire. Coil around pencil for spiral effect.
- Cardboard Sculpture. Flat planes painted different colours intersecting each other.
- Toothpick Construction. Coloured toothpicks, small dowels, sucker sticks, balloon sticks, tinker-toy parts, pick-up sticks, drinking straws may also be used. Use quick-drying model airplane glue. Or dried peas soaked in water (they tighten as they dry).
- Stabiles from Toothpicks and Clay.
- Scrap Material Construction.
- Wood Block Construction. From scraps and odd pieces of wood. Models for modern buildings, animals, birds, people, stage-set designs, children’s toys, abstract designs, etc.
- Balsa Wood Construction. Glued together with model airplane glue.
- Wire and Cork Construction. Corks may be painted.
- Cork and Pipe Cleaner Animals. Use corks of various sizes and pipe cleaners of different colours. Try imaginary animals.
- Mobiles. Sculpture that moves. Abstract shapes, fish, acrobats, planetary subjects (sun, moon, stars, planets). May also use mobile idea to make mobile signs—lettering on free form shapes hung as a mobile. Christmas mobile.
- Volume Construction with Strings. Twine dipped in plaster of Paris and wrapped around inflated balloons. When dry. balloons are deflated and removed.
- Box Creatures. Make animals (real or imaginary), cars, furniture, buildings, etc., by assembling various sizes of boxes and painting them. Use empty cereal boxes, tinfoil pie plates, cardboard mailing tubes, etc.
- Architectural Scale Models. After their own designs.
- Creative Christmas Ornaments. Using paper, wood, wire, sheet metal, plastic, ping pong balls, blown egg shells.
- Kites. Make and decorate. Use wood slats, split bamboo, Japanese paper, tissue paper, etc., to make flat kites, box kites, fish kites.
Fabric and Leather Decoration
- Batik. Wax resist painted on cloth before dying. Cold water dyes must be used. When dry, remove wax by covering fabric with blotters or newsprint and pressing with warm iron or by dipping cloth into boiling water to dewax.
- Tie-and-Dye. Design on cloth planned by tying areas tightly with rope/twine before dyeing.
- Leatherwork. Use car vinyl instead of leather.
How to make . . .
- Symbol of affluence, power, abundance, plenty, togetherness and unity
- The cola nut played an important role in the economic life of Ghana. A widely-used cash crop, it is closely associated with affluence and abundance. This symbol also represents the role of agriculture and trade in bringing peoples together.
- Symbol of greatness, charisma and leadership
- This symbol is said to have played an inspiring role in the designing of other symbols. It signifies the importance of playing a leadership role.
- Symbol of patience and tolerance
- According to Agbo, when a person is said to "have a heart in his stomach," that person is very tolerant.
- Symbol of peace and harmony
- This symbol cautions against provocation and strife. The image is based on two fish biting each other tails
- Symbol of slavery and captivity
- Symbol of understanding and agreement
- Symbol of steadfastness, prudence and diligence
- Because of its thorns, the raffia tree is a very dangerous challenge to the snake. His ability to climb it is a model of persistence and prudence.
- Symbol of love, safety and security
- The home to the Akan is a special place. A home which has a fence around it is considered to be an ideal residence.
- The fence symbolically separates and secures the family from the outside. Because of the security and the protection that a fence affords, the symbol is also associated with the security and safety one finds in love.
- Symbol of democracy and unity
- The Siamese crocodiles share one stomach, yet they fight over food. This popular symbol is a remind that infighting and tribalism is harmful to all who engage in it.
- Symbol of guardianship
- A reminder that God is the father and watches over all people.
- Symbol of nurturing and discipline
- The full name of this symbol translates to "The hen treads on her chicks, but she does not kill them." This represents the ideal nature of parents, being both protective and corrective. An exhortation to nurture children, but a warning not to pamper them.
- Symbol of intelligence and ingenuity
- Symbol of adaptability
- The crocodile lives in the water, yet breathes the air, demonstrating an ability to adapt to circumstances.
- Symbol of humility together with strength
- The ram will fight fiercely against an adversary, but it also submits humbly to slaughter, emphasizing that even the strong need to be humble.
- Symbol of friendship and interdependence
- The teeth and the tongue play interdependent roles in the mouth. They may come into conflict, but they need to work together.
- Symbol of security and safety
- Typical of Akan (Asante) architecture, the communal housing compound has only one entrance and exit.
- Symbol of reconciliation, peacemaking and pacification
- Mpatapo represents the bond or knot that binds parties in a dispute to a peaceful, harmonious reconciliation. It is a symbol of peacemaking after strife.
- Symbol of the supremacy of God
- This unique and beautiful symbol is ubiquitous in Ghana. It is by far the most popular for use in decoration, a reflection on the deeply religious character of the Ghanaian people
- Symbol of importance of learning from the past
- Symbol of vigilance and wariness
- Akoben is a horn used to sound a battle cry.
- Symbol of examination and quality control
- This symbol stresses the need to strive for the best quality, whether in production of goods or in human endeavors.
- Symbol of arrogance
- Symbol of imperishability and endurance
- This symbol gets its meaning from traditional priests that were able to walk on fire without burning their feet, an inspiration to others to endure and overcome difficulties.
- Symbol of wisdom, knowledge and prudence
- The implied meaning of the phrase "mate masie" is "I understand". Understanding means wisdom and knowledge, but it also represents the prudence of taking into consideration what another person has said.
- Symbol of initiative, dynamism and versatility
- Symbol of good fortune and sanctity
- Symbol of skillfulness, precision
- Before adinkra cloth is stamped with the symbols, the artisan blocks off the cloth with lines in a rectangular grid using a broad-tooth comb. This preparation is symbolic of the exacting technique which results in the highest quality product.
- Symbol of excellence, genuineness, authenticity
- According to "The Adinkra Dictionary" by W. Bruce Willis, the nsaa symbols reflects a saying: "nea onnim nsaa oto n'ago", which he translates as "He who does not know authentic Nsaa will buy the fakes."
- The quality of Nsaa has come to represent quality of workmanship in general.
- Symbol of hope
- A reminder that God's dwelling place is in the heaven, where he can listen to all prayers.
- Symbol of God's omnipresence and the perpetual existence of man's spirit
- This signifies the immortality of man's soul, believed to be a part of God. Because the soul rests with God after death, it cannot die.
- Symbol of love, faithfulness, harmony
- This symbol reflects the harmony that exists in the bonding between a man and a woman.
- Proverb: "Kyekye pe aware." (The North Star has a deep love for marriage. She is always in the sky waiting for the return of the moon, her husband.)
- Symbol of life transformation
- This symbol combines two separate adinkra symbols, the "Morning Star" which can mean a new start to the day, placed inside the wheel, representing rotation or independent movement.
- Symbol of the power of love
- Symbol of importance of learning from the past
- Symbol of providence and the divinity of Mother Earth
- This symbol represents the importance of the Earth in sustaining life.
- Symbol of wisdom, ingenuity, intelligence and patience
- An especially revered symbol of the Akan, this symbol conveys the idea that "a wise person has the capacity to choose the best means to attain a goal. Being wise implies broad knowledge, learning and experience, and the ability to apply such faculties to practical ends."
- Anthills: If you soak chunks of the hill overnight, it will make a nice simple modelling clay.
- Beads: Use Baobab seeds.
- Brushes: Feathers. Use goat hair available from a butcher. Fake hair extensions.
- Canvas: Use flour sacks from bakery or the market. Brown calico cloth.
- Charcoal: Use branches of the Milkbush tree.
- Cocoa porridge: Can be used as a paste.
- Cassava starch: Can be used as a paste or as finger paints. Mix 1 part of cassava starch to 3 parts of water and stir to a smooth paste. Stirring constantly, heat over a fire until the paste thickens and is clear. There should be no lumps in it. You may need to sieve it to remove lumps. To make paint, thin with hot water if necessary, add colour, and mix well. Both the paste and the paint have a short shelf life (2 days). It doesn’t take long to make so try to make it the day of use. Great for when you need large quantities for projects like papier mâché.
- Concrete bags: Several layers of paper which are very durable. Available in markets. Can be used as table covers or for drawings.
- Containers: Tin cans, Milo cans. Store or mix paints or dyes. Cut mineral bottles in half lengthwise and use bottom for water jugs and top half for funnels.
- D batteries: Mix the insides with water for a messy black paint. Useful for repainting worn blackboards.
- Flip flops: Use for making squeegees, rubber stamps.
- Flour paste: Can be put into baggies and squeezed onto the surface of cloth or paper. Let dry in the sun and then paint dye or colours onto the surface. Then flake off flour and see the design. Flour acts as a resist.
- Food Colouring: Some markets sell the food coloring used in making the local candy. It is very concentrated and, when mixed with a little water, it makes a nice watercolor paint.
- Guava leaves: Can be used fresh for a green-colored dye or dry for a light brown dye. Boil with rock salt and the cloth you wish to dye.
- Gentian violet: Paint onto cloth or paper using a brush or use as a dye.
- Hair dye: Can be used to make a grey wash for paper or cloth.
- Heavy paper: Spread a thin layer of cassava paste on a sheet of newspaper and place a second sheet on top. Smooth out until wrinkle free. Put weights on top to keep from wrinkling.
- Henna: Use as a dye. A greenish-brown ground up leaf resembling a green spice. It is used for body painting or dying hair.
- Ink: Buy one expensive bottle of black ink. Mix 3:1 or 4:1 with Gentian violet to extend the ink.
- Local dyes: Colors are very bright but quality varies for fading.
- Magazines: Collages, postcards, greeting cards, pop-up art, bookmarks, book covers, scrapbooks, paper beads
- Memos: Save Peace Corps memos. Good for bookbinding.
- Milkbush: Sap can be used as a glue. Branches can be used to make charcoal.
- Salt/vinegar: Can be used to make dyes more colourfast when soaked in cold water.
- Sketchbooks: Buy a ream of copier paper and staple 10 or 15 sheets together with a simple covering.
- Vegetables: Yam, cassava, okra, potato good for printmaking.
- Waakye: Grass reed-like material used to make the rice red in waakye. Makes a brick red dye. Boil for 30 minutes with rock salt and the cloth you want to dye.
Substitute Art Materials
- Powder paint for everyday use
- 5 tablespoons powder paint
- 5 tbsp water
- Put powder paint and water in an empty container with lid and shake until the paint is thoroughly mixed. To make the paint keep better or go on more smoothly, add enough liquid starch or detergent to make it the consistency of cream.
- Powder paint for larger quantities
- 8 tbsp powder paint
- 1 tsp white library paste
- 2 tbsp liquid starch
- Add enough water to give the mixture a consistency of cream. To prevent a sour smell, add a little oil of cloves, wintergreen, or peppermint.
- Using powder paint as a watercolour
- For transparent watercolour, add sufficient water to the powder paint to obtain a runny consistency. For an opaque watercolour, add enough water or liquid starch to the powder paint to make a creamy consistency.
- Using powder paint as coloured ink
- Mix enough water with the powder paint to allow it to flow easily from a lettering pen or mechanical drawing tool.
- Using powder paint as oil paint
- 1. Add a few drops of glycerine and powder paint to raw linseed oil to make a thick cream consistency. Use zinc oxide with linseed oil for a while oil paint.
- 2. Add boiled linseed oil to powder paint and stir well.
- 3. Add powder paint to liquid paste. Use stiff brush.
- Using powder paint as enamel
- Add clear shellac, lacquer, or varnish to the powder paint until a desired brushing consistency is reached.
- Using powder paint as woodstain
- Mix powder paint with linseed oil or turpentine until a brushing consistency is reached. To make a waterproof lacquer, mix powder paint with a gloss oil. Or, rub crayons with the grain of the wood. Then rub the wood vigorously with a cloth saturated in linseed oil.
- Cornstarch Finger Paint
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 quart boiling water
- Dissolve the starch in a small amount of cold water and gradually add the hot water. Cook until clear. To keep all recipes from drying, add 2 tbsp of glycerine. Add oil of cloves or wintergreen to keep from souring. For colour, use poster paint, India ink, or powdered tempera mixed with water to a smooth paste.
- Liquid Starch Finger Paint
- Pour a tbsp of liquid starch in the center of a sheet of dampened paper. Add a small amount of powder paint. Shaker cans or saltcellars are convenient to use. Work the colour and the starch together. Spread it over the paper by hand.
- Laundry Starch Finger Paint
- 2 quarts boiling water
- 1 cup soap flakes
- 1 cup laundry starch
- 1/2 cup talcum powder
- Dilute starch in a cupful of cold water. Add the remaining water slowly, stirring starch constantly to avoid lumping. Stir in the soap flakes and talcum powder. This will make about five pints. The soap flakes act as a binder. This recipe can be used to finger paint on glass or over a heavy coat of crayons.
- Flour Finger Paint
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup of cornstarch
- Mix ingredients to a thick heavy paste in cold water. Pour on enough boiling water to make a thick heavy starch, stirring constantly until clear.
- Chalk Finger Paint
- coloured chalk
- school paste
- oil of cloves
- Use finely ground coloured chalk mixed with water, school paste, and 2 drops oil of cloves. The result will be a paint with an interesting texture.
Fixatives are used to give chalk, charcoal, or dry powder paint drawings a permanency so they will not rub off. Apply with a spray gun or old perfume atomizer. Pin drawings to a backing of newspapers or to the back of a large carton to protect walls from spray.
- 1. 1 part shellac and 2 parts alcohol
- 2. Wallpaper lacquer (use several coats)
- 3. Gum arabic dissolved in water to the consistency of thin mucilage. Spray lightly two or three times.
- 4. Mix 1 tsp of paste in 1/2 cup of water. Lay paper flat to spray. Do not let it become wet.
- 5. 1 gallon of alcohol and 1/2 pint of paste. Excellent for scenic effects or murals.
- 6. Inexpensive hairspray
Cleaners and Thinners
- Glue: Sponge with lukewarm water.
- Grease/oil: Spot remover, cornmeal, or salt at least 1” deep.
- Gum/tar: Carbon tetrachloride.
- Oil paint: Turpentine acts as both cleaner and thinner, linseed oil as a thinner, soap or detergent as a cleaner.
- Printer’s ink: Carbon tetrachloride is the cleaner to use and printer’s varnish for thinning.
- Rubber cement: Use an eraser for cleaning and benzene for thinning.
- Shellac/varnish/lacquer: Use alcohol for cleaning and thinning.
- Water-base paints: Water is best for both cleaner and thinner.
- Wax/paraffin: Carbon tetrachloride
- Oil-Base Printing Ink
- 2 parts powder paint
- 1 part linseed oil
- 1 part varnish
- Will not dry quickly. Good for paper with a rough texture.
- Varnish-Base Printing Ink
- 3 parts powder paint
- 1 part varnish
- Mix with a palette knife on glass. Use a brayer or printing roller, rolling it back and forth until the mixture is tacky before applying it to the printing block. This will dry faster than the oil-base ink and is suitable to use on nonabsorbent, smooth paper. Can be thinned with denatured alcohol.
- Bleaching Flour and Sugar Sacks 1
- chloride of lime
- 5% sulfuric acid
- carbonate of soda
- Make a strong solution of water and chloride of lime (bleaching powder). Allow it to settle and draw off the clear liquid. Rinse the sacks in clean water with 5% sulfuric acid and then pull them slowly through the bleaching solution. Rinse well with water containing a little carbonate of soda. If colour remains, allow the fabric to stay a short time in the sulfuric acid solution. Be sure to rinse well.
- Bleaching Flour and Sugar Sacks 2
- Dampen sacks in tepid water. Wash well with naphtha soap. Roll tightly and dampen with kerosene. Allow them to stand overnight, wash out, and boil with a bleaching powder or naphtha soap. If the colour remains, the process should be repeated.
- Bleaching Flour and Sugar Sacks 3
- Use a commercial bleach, following instructions carefully.
- Making Natural Dyes
- Collect plants, moss, herbs, roots, nuts, and so on. Chop a quantity of one of these materials and put it through a meat grinder. Cover it with water and allow it to stand overnight. Drain off the water the next morning and save it. Add a little more water to the pulp and simmer for 30 minutes. After allowing the pulp to simmer for 30 minutes, drain off the water and add it to the first water. Add enough water to cover the fabric.
- Dyeing the Material
- Rinse the fabric or wool in hot water, wring it well, and then place it in the dye, making sure it is well covered. Bring the dye to a simmering stage and cook until the fabric is coloured as deeply as you wish. Rinse the material in lukewarm water. Squeeze lightly but do not wring. Avoid direct rays of sunlight while drying.
- Tempera Paint Silk Screen Ink
- tempera paint
- soap flakes
- Add a small quantity of soap flakes to the tempera to give it viscosity and to deter drying. Add water only if necessary. If paint is too thick, it will clog the screen. If too thin, it will run. Finger paint of a creamy consistency can also be used.
- Liquid Starch Silk Screen Paint
- liquid starch
- powder paint
- Add liquid starch to powder paint until it is the consistency of light paste.
- Cassava Paste
- cassava starch
- Sieve the cassava starch to remove all lumps. Mix with water and stir to smooth consistency. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. It will thicken quickly and turn transparent. Add more water if paste is too thick. Cool and keep in covered jar. Lasts from one to three days. Excellent for paper mâché.
- Flour Paste
- 1/2 c flour
- Add enough water to make a thin paste. Boil 5 minutes over a slow fire, stirring constantly. Cool and thin with water. Add a few drops of wintergreen or peppermint to keep it from spoiling. Keep in a covered jar. Use in any projects requiring large quantities of paste.
- Cornstarch Paste
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- Add enough cold water to make a smooth paste. Add boiling water until the mixture turns clear. Cook until it thickens and remove from fire. This paste becomes thicker as it cools. It may be thinned with water. Use it on tissue paper or thin cloth as it is less likely to show than flour paste.
- Bookmaker’s Paste
- 1 tsp flour
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp powdered alum
- Mix ingredients together. Add 6 tbsp of water slowly, stirring until smooth. Cook over a low flame, preferably in a double boiler. Stir constantly until the paste is thickened. Keep in air-tight jars and thin with water when necessary. Use to make notebooks and in bookmaking projects.
- Crepe Clay
- 1 fold of crepe paper, any colour
- 1 tbsp of salt mixed with 1 cup of flour
- Cut the crepe paper into tiny pieces (confetti size). Place in a large bowl and add only enough water to cover the paper. Allow it to soak for 15 minutes and pour off the excess water. Add enough of the flour-salt mixture to make a stiff dough. Knead well until it is blended with the crepe paper.
- Flour Clay
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 rounded tsp powdered alum
- Add water slowly and knead until a claylike consistency is reached. Wrap in a wet cloth to keep a few days. This substitute may be handled exactly like clay. When dry, it can be painted. It retains its shape without crumbling. For a coloured mixture, add powder paint to the water when mixing it.
- Cornstarch Clay
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup boiling water
- Boil to a soft-ball stage and knead on wax paper until malleable. Wrap in a wet cloth to keep a few days. This substitute may be handled exactly like clay. When dry, it can be painted. It retains its shape without crumbling. For a coloured mixture, add powder paint to the water when mixing it.
- Papier Mâché Pulp
- Tear newspapers, paper plates, or egg cartons into fine bits. Cover with water and soak for 24 hours in a non rusting container. Put mixture in a cloth bag and squeeze to get rid of excess water. Work on a wax paper surface so water will not damage the table or the desk. Add ONE of the following for each quart of pulp:
- 6 tbsp flour
- 6 tbsp dry laundry starch
- 1 cup liquid starch
- 1 cup thin library paste
- 1 cup wheat paste mixed to consistency of cream
- 1 cup boiled flour paste
- A few drops of wintergreen oil or oil of cloves will help keep the pulp from souring. A little salt added to the mixture will prevent fermentation. Knead to the consistency of soft modelling clay. Drying may take as long as a week.
- Quick-Drying Pulp
- 4 cups papier mâché pulp
- 1 cup plaster of Paris
- 1/2 tsp commercial glue
- Knead to the consistency of heavy dough. It will dry in three to six hours.
- Sawdust 1
- 2 cups sawdust
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp glue
- hot water or liquid starch
- Moisten with water or starch until you reach a modeling consistency. If being used for ornaments, strings or wires should be put in place while they are being modelled. May be painted when dry.
- Sawdust 2
- wallpaper paste
- Mix equal parts. If the mixture is sticky, add more sawdust.
- Sawdust 3
- 3 cups sawdust
- 1 cup wheat paste
- Add enough water to mix the ingredients. Do not make it too stiff.
- Sawdust 4
- 1 cup sawdust
- 1 cup plaster of Paris
- thin glue
- Mix together. Add enough glue to hold it together.
- Sawdust 5
- 2 cups sawdust
- 1 cup plaster of Paris
- 1/2 cup wheat or wallpaper paste
- 2 cups water
- Mix ingredients. Add water gradually until a modeling consistency is reached. Excellent for puppet heads, fruits, vegetables, masks, figures, animals.
- Sawdust 6
- 1/2 pint flour
- 1 quart water
- 1 tsp alum
- 1 tsp oil of cloves
- Cook flour and water until a creamy stage is reached. Add alum. Remove from the stove and add oil of cloves. Stir in enough sawdust to make a modeling consistency. May be painted with powder paints or other colouring media when dry.
- Texture Sawdust
- powder paint
- Mix the powder paint with water to a thin cream consistency. Spread it over sawdust and stir well. Spread on a newspaper to dry. Use it to sprinkle on a glued surface for a textured effect.
- Sawdust Mix for Relief Maps
- Add a teaspoon of commercial glue to any of the above recipes to increase the adhesive quality of the sawdust mix when applying it to a wooden surface.
- Dough 1
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups salt
- Mix. Add enough water to make a creamy consistency. Powder paint or other colouring may be added or it may be painted after it is dry. Excellent for relief maps. Build elevations in layers, allowing each to dry before adding another.
- Dough 2
- 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp powdered alum
- beaten egg white
- Mix all ingredients together and colour with powder paint or water colours.
- Dough 3
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 3 tsp powdered alum
- Add enough water to make proper consistency.
- Dough 4
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup cold water
- Mix ingredients thoroughly and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture stiffens into a lump. Cool and allow to set until it does not stick to the fingers. A few drops of food colouring or powder paint may be added to the mixture for colour. For Christmas ornaments, this dough may be cut with cookie cutters or pressed into a mold. Holes for hanging may be punched with a toothpick before the ornament is dry. Glitter, sequins, feathers may be pressed into the damp ornaments.
- Play Dough
- 500 ml flour
- 75 ml salt
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 tbsp food colouring
- 1 liter water
- Mix dry ingredients separately. Boil water in a large pot. Add oil and food colouring to boiling water. Turn heat low. Mix for two or three minutes until mixture forms a ball and doesn’t stick to pot. Let it cool. Turn it out and knead. Store in airtight container, preferably in refrigerator or cool spot.
Plaster and Paraffin Modeling
- Plaster of Paris
- 1 quart water
- 4 cups plaster of Paris
- Add plaster of Paris to water until a small mound stays on the surface of the water and then stir until it thickens. Be sure to remove small lumps. Powder paint can be added to the dry plaster to tint it. Pour into a mould, form, or box of heavy paper the size desired for carving. The mould should be a little larger than the size of the finished carving. Do not use aluminum ware or a sink (the plaster will lodge in the drain pipes). After plaster has set it can be removed from the form. Even though still wet, it is ready for carving. It will stay damp for several days or can be resoaked in water and then carved or shaped with tools.
- Melt paraffin in a double boiler or a pan placed in boiling water, never directly over the fire. Pour it into another container. When it has solidified but is still soft, model it as you would any other plastic material. The warmth of the hands will keep it soft, especially if you dip your hands in warm water. If colour is wanted, shave a little wax crayon into the paraffin while it is melting. A marbleised effect is brought about by adding the wax crayon after the paraffin is melted. Crushed coloured chalk may also be added. When the object is moulded, dip it in cold water to harden. Polish the paraffin by rubbing over it with a cotton cloth.
- Gesso 1
- 10 tsp whiting (precipitated chalk)
- 6 tsp glue
- 4 tsp boiled linseed oil
- 1 tsp varnish
- water to make a thick cream
- Whiting can be purchased at most hardware stores. Boil the ingredients for 10 minutes in a double boiler. Colour by adding powder paint.
- Gesso 2
- 3 envelopes Knox gelatin
- 3 or more handfuls whiting
- 16 oz cold water
- Combine water and gelatin in the top of a double boiler. Soak for 10 minutes. Heat until it becomes liquid. Add whiting. Mix with a brush and strain through cheesecloth. Gesso is especially good for making relief designs. Powder paint or metallic powder will colour it. Gesso can also be molded and, when dry, carved with a fingernail or a pencil.
Sources of Materials
- 809 11th Lane
- P.O. Box 3474
- 0302 777399
- Acrylic paint for painting, screening, fabric, glass; brushes; general art supplies; decoupage material; paper
Living and Working at a Deaf School in Ghana!
Okay, so, you are a PCV at a deaf school in Ghana! Your job is one of the most special assignments in all of Peace Corps and one of the most fun. The nature of the job does, however, present unique challenges and provides unique rewards. What follows is a collection of musings about living and working in a Ghanaian deaf school, advice about how to successfully live with and teach deaf students, and some project ideas that have been especially successful in the past. This information comes from some of the deaf art teachers from the 2009-11 Education group – Joy, Carol, Nancy, and Katharyn.
- Sign Language
- How to Teach Deaf Students
- Classroom Management
- Art Project Ideas
- Other Projects
- General Advice
- Ghana uses American Sign Language and British spelling. There are some signs that differ from standard ASL (“when,” “if,” etc.), and there are some specifically Ghanaian signs (signs for Ghanaian food – fufu, plantain, okra, etc. – and Ghanaian cities – Accra, Tamale, Kumasi, etc.), but the vast majority of signs are the same ones you would find in an ASL dictionary. Peace Corps should provide you with a nice ASL dictionary. If you didn’t receive this, ask for it! For Ghanaian signs, there are smaller, blue Ghanaian Sign Language dictionaries floating around. For some people, using the Ghanaian Sign Language books is more effective as sometimes the ASL signs are not understood. There can be a lot of variation between what is ‘official’ and what is actually used. What is more important is that you are understood, so find out what signs your students use and use those.
- The fact that Ghana uses ASL makes it easy for you to get resources from home. There are a variety of ASL dictionaries, workbooks/puzzle books, etc., that you can request to be sent to you if you want.
- What is the best way to learn Sign Language? HANGING OUT WITH YOUR STUDENTS. At the beginning, this will be very intimidating because you won’t really know how to say very much. Don’t worry about this! Your kids will help you and you will quickly learn. In addition to helping your Sign, this will help you get closer to your students and just generally help you to relax in your school setting. Seriously, just spending time with your students is the most important thing to do. I can’t emphasise it enough.
- Start a club with and for your students.
- Sit in on other teachers’ classes not only to improve your vocabulary but also to see how they manage their classrooms. There will be good examples (having students do hands-on exercises to see if they understand a concept) and bad (write everything on the board and then leave while students copy it to memorise) so you have to sort through the good and the bad.
- Pay attention to whoever is being the Sign interpreter at staff meetings (if they are conducted in English.) You’ll pick up on new signs. When you have learned more vocabulary, try interpreting for a while. It’ll make your brain hurt but in a good way.
- Attend or organise sign classes (it’s mandatory at our school because some of the older teachers and staff are really bad).
- If your school has any deaf employees – teachers, house parents, etc. – get to know them really well. They will also be amazing resources when it comes to learning Sign Language. If you form real friendships with them, you will get so much awesome practice with signs that you wouldn’t really use with your students. I’m getting a little better with this signing challenge thanks to an excellent teacher who loves his job. He signs very clearly and is so encouraging, and I have to sign back (no talking) because he’s deaf. We worked on a poster contest together, and I got lots of help in explaining concepts and getting good quality work out of the kids.
- Find worship to attend - our school has a minister come in to do a lesson in sign and English so you can pick up new words that way.
- Hire a tutor. Find friends to practice with. Make friends with teachers who are deaf or expert signers.
- One of the best ways of having the most interaction with students is to take one or two of them as your “small girls” or “small boys.” You’ll probably feel a little wary about this at first (“Have a little deaf African child cleaning my house for me? Never!”) but you’ll get used to it. Really, the kid will enjoy the special relationship with you, and it will reflect well upon them. Having them around a lot will help you practice your Sign more, and it will help you integrate into your school community. Most of the teachers who live on campus have students that help them – it would be completely normal if you did, too. The children may be required to do work at the school as part of learning to be a good citizen. Working for a teacher is much better than cleaning a latrine. They may also teach you Ghanaian cooking and cultural things.
- When learning Sign, try not to feel intimidated and just dive in. Don’t be afraid to tell your kids that you don’t understand and that they need to slow down. If you really try to learn their language, they will acknowledge your effort and appreciate it. Try to relax and not worry about feeling or looking stupid. It’s really not a big deal.
- Realise that sometimes you won’t understand all of what a student is saying – sometimes only a few words make sense to you, but you can still understand what he/she is talking about. General comprehension is more important than recognising every word. Pay attention to facial expressions to help with this general comprehension – the face will tell you the mood and if what is being said is a question.
- One quick and easy way to learn some signs is to learn the pledge and the prayer that are a part of every morning assembly. Just stand at the back and try to follow along; it helps, too, if you know what the words are supposed to be (they are in the Creative Arts books).
- Here are two good online video ASL dictionaries:
- Sign Language Dictionary with video by American Sign Language Pro
- Sign Language Browser with video by Michigan State University
- An excellent book source: Riekehof, The Joy of Signing
- You can download the book Helping Children Who Are Deaf from this website.
- This is the National Association for the Deaf website.
How to Teach Deaf Students
- Teaching deaf students is much different than teaching hearing students. There are two main reasons for this – 1. Using Sign Language to explain and describe things is different and sometimes more difficult than using English. 2. Deaf students are more poorly educated than hearing students. It is completely normal for them to be at much, much lower levels in reading and mathematical skills than their hearing equivalents.
- Always greet your class. It’s rude for them to ignore a greeting, and you will have their attention.
- Make sure everyone is looking at you when you’re explaining something. Students are easily distracted. Sometimes a class prefect can get students to pay attention or sometimes you just have to accept that you will have to repeat, repeat, repeat.
- Explain in full at the beginning of the class period. If a project has several steps that the student can do all at once, explain them all so that you don’t have to interrupt the flow of work by getting everyone’s attention and explaining more. You can also write steps on the board and go over them in Sign before work is started. You’ll have to repeat explanations, but at least not to everyone.
- Keep lectures or board work brief and get straight into practical work. The students understand a lot better when they try doing a project themselves. Circulate around the classroom to make sure they’re getting off to a good start and understand the project but don’t do the work for them. Many students have multiple disabilities and will need extra help but make sure they try to do the project. They will be so proud of their accomplishments, no matter how it looks to anyone else.
- Give loose guidelines when assigning projects so they have to think and make choices about how to proceed. If they come up with a good solution that you hadn’t thought of, praise them.
- Have them work with techniques and concepts they’re not familiar with, e.g., draw lines without a ruler or tear paper for a collage instead of using scissors/razors.
- It is important that you demonstrate very well how to make the projects you do in class. Don’t assume that they know how to do simple (to us) things like measure using a ruler, cut with scissors, or use a glue stick. My students had never seen a tape dispenser. It’s good to have a finished example of the project and then make one along with your students during the lesson.
- When you are lesson planning, think through the signs that you will need to use. You don’t want to get up in front of a class and realise that you don’t know the signs that you need.
- Don’t assume that your students, especially the younger ones, understand all the signs you use. It’s always good to ask if they understand a sign, especially if it’s a new or kind of specific/unusual sign. If they say that they do understand, ask one of them to explain it; you’ll probably find that they really don’t understand. So write what the word that they sign means on the board and explain it in simpler signs.
- Explaining what you want and what you mean is very, very important to your students learning and to you staying relaxed. If you don’t explain very clearly and in a variety of ways, your students won’t understand what you want from them, and you will be frustrated because it will seem like they don’t understand something you think they should. Explain even simple, simple things and everyone will be happier.
- Emphasise from the very beginning that copying is bad. I say/sign things like “Yours mine same?? Why? My idea steal you, correct? Wrong, wrong, wrong!” “You copy her? Why? Correct? No!” “Copy you wrong. You smart, think your own can. Try!” You can do this is a jokingly serious way and still be effective. It’s important that they know that they should think of their own ideas, not just copy. Be especially diligent about watching out for copying when you have shown your example of the finished project. They will be tempted to copy yours especially because they think it’s correct. Emphasise that all ideas are correct, only copying is wrong. “Different, different, different, fine, fine, fine! Saaaaaaaaame, wrong, boring.”
- Realize that they can’t hear when they drop crayons, pencils, books, etc., on the floor and will need to retrieve them during clean up.
- Remember that the students can’t see remarks you make to other students so you may have to repeat the same thing over and over to individual students when you’re circulating. Same thing when students are working in small groups, and other groups can’t see some of the good ideas that are being signed.
- Ask students questions to see if they understand what you’re talking about. Get them out of their seats to write on the board or demonstrate or pass out materials so they’re not bored.
- I’m now teaching Nursery through JHS 3, and I have some really bright, talented, and enthusiastic kids. I also have many with multiple disabilities as well as a wide range of ages. It’s a mixed bag, and I’m constantly trying to balance so the bright can take an assignment in new directions and slower ones can still achieve something, even if it’s just making some marks. I try to follow the syllabus in the types of things they’re supposed to learn but choose my own projects instead of trying to figure out the [useless] textbook. For example, for teaching knotting we made friendship bracelets from embroidery floss. When we did bookbinding, we made great marbled papers from shaving foam and food colouring and made books in weird shapes.
- Let brighter students help slower students. Or have them sign instructions or explanations once they get it to those who still aren’t getting it. They like to help but don’t let them do the work for the others.
- Have a specific goal you want them to achieve in class and be sure it’s attainable. Come to class prepared. I try all the lessons myself to make sure that it can be done, the instructions are clear, I have the materials ready, and I have a sample to show to help with explanations.
- Find a good pace. Don’t go too fast or too slow. You’ll either lose them or bore them.
- PRAISE. ENCOURAGE. LAUGH. BE INTERESTED AND INTERESTING. BE PATIENT.
- Try to teach your deaf students the same way and with the same respect and enthusiasm as you would give to hearing American students. It works – they know that you are trying to teach them and help them to learn.
- For help explaining and describing art things in Sign Language, see the Appendix.
- The Ghana Education System (GES) and the Peace Corps expect you to infuse HIV/AIDS material into your classes. You can do public service posters or play games. HIV/AIDS education posters: How is HIV/AIDS spread? How is it not spread? ABCs of HIV/AIDS. Give them a list of topics to choose from.
- Be respectful and expect the same in return.
- It takes time for the students to learn what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable to you, and you have to reinforce that. Anger doesn’t work. You are the adult, and they are the children. Peace Corps does not allow caning although you will see many of the teachers using it. Try to think of an effective punishment for those who are truly disruptive or get them to help you in some way so they are doing something useful. Give thumbs up, high fives, or hugs to recognize good behaviour.
- If you do get angry, apologise. P6 is my most unruly class, and one day they were just not settling down for class. I got annoyed and yelled at them, telling them that if they didn’t want to have art class, I would be happy to go home and sleep. They settled down then, but I felt really bad. The next day I apologised first thing (yesterday me angry wrong, wrong, wrong. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Forgive? Fine. Thank you.), and they were really understanding. I think it is important for them to see adults apologise.
- Hang all artwork on the classroom walls every week. Scotch masking tape from America is good for this; it will last a full term. Be sure to hang all students’ art, not just the best. This way, all students gain confidence and learn from each other. Also, the artwork is much nicer to look at than dirty classroom walls.
- Utilise the class prefects or the older students in the class to help you keep order.
- Putting a calendar and world map in each classroom also helps to brighten the rooms and are good visual aids for kids.
Art Project Ideas
The projects that are italicized have samples in the photo section.
Making Pictures, Drawing, and Colour Work
- Texture Walk: My P4 class really liked this. Show them how textures look different if you make crayon rubbings. Send them out into the school campus, telling them to find as many different textures as they can. They do really well with it. Some good textures are the bottoms of shoes, window screens, and padlocks. (Katharyn)
- Frottage/Shapes/Texture: For younger children, give them a sheet of paper, a shape cut out of board, and crayons. Place the shape under the paper and have them rub over it with a crayon. Move the paper or the shape and rub over it again. Fill the paper with shapes superimposed on each other. Older children can use textured objects: leaves, coins, bark, keys, things from your kitchen, etc. (Nancy)
- Texture 1: “Real texture.” Give each student two pieces of paper (same size and colour), glue, and scissors. One piece of paper will be the background. They should cut up the other paper into smaller pieces and fold, pierce with pencil, twist, crumble, fringe, cut v-shaped slits (fold paper in half and cut diagonals on folded edge) – anything that will create a shadow. Glue the smaller pieces to the background. (Nancy from Prince, Art is Fundamental)
- Texture 2: “Fake texture.” Make texture boards to show “real” (3D) and “fake” (2D) texture. Explain that they will be creating fake texture by using type cut from magazines. Pass out magazines, scissors, glue, paper for background, and mini trashcans (I use the bottom half of mineral bottles). Have them cut different sizes of type and make compositions that look textured. Glue to paper. The more they do, the better they get. (Nancy)
- Value/Line Trees: This should follow a lesson in making a value scale. Demonstrate using charcoal to make strong lines and different values. Pass out white paper and charcoal (good charcoal from U.S. or coal-pot charcoal) and ask them to fill the paper by drawing a tree using strong lines and as many values of black as they can. Some will concentrate on lines, some on value, some will add other things, and no two will be alike. (Carol)
- Value/Shapes: Give the children a full sheet of paper and a smaller piece of card. Ask them to cut out a shape; it can be abstract or an object. Outline the shape heavily with an oil pastel and place on large sheet. Using a finger, rub the oil pastel off the edge of the shape onto the paper. Do this many times, superimposing the shape on previous shapes. Option: Use both the shape and the stencil formed when the shape was cut out. Use an oil pastel on the edges of both the shape and the stencil and rub off onto the background. (Carol and Prince, Art is Fundamental)
- Value/Measuring: Give the students a sheet of paper and have them draw an X (corner to corner). Then, leaving a small box in the middle, have them draw lines in each triangle equal distances apart to form what looks like many picture frames. Colour the outside frames in lighter values, working back to the box using darker values (they don’t always get it the first time). They can draw anything they like in the box and draw a border design in the outer frame. (Carol)
- Mixing Colours 1: Demonstrate mixing secondary colours from the primaries. Pass out paper; palettes (I use cheap plastic plates but you can use newspaper, etc.); red, yellow, and blue paint; brushes; water pots; and rags. Have them pour a little of each colour on the palette and ask them to make as many colours as they can by mixing (they must make green, orange, and violet and will probably discover dove gray). Paint shapes (I used circles) on the paper using the different colours to make a pattern. They will probably ask you for one of the missing colours but remind them they are making colours. You may also have to do a refresher course on cleaning their brushes before dipping into new colours. (Nancy and Carol)
- Mixing Colours 2: Review mixing colours and then tell them they will be painting a rainbow. I draw a rainbow on the board and list the colours in the correct order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet). Pass out paper, pencils, palettes, primary colours, brushes, water pots, and rags. Ask them to draw a rainbow with the pencil; they can also label it with colours if that helps. Mix colours and paint. Older students can add to the picture when they finish the rainbow. Younger students probably won’t have time. (Carol)
- Dots: Give the students paper and paint. Have them make a composition using only their fingertips and paint. This gets them out of the habit of using rulers and copying pictures out of books. (Nancy)
- Shapes/Lines/Patterns with Crayon Resist: Materials: paper, crayons, watercolours. Have the students draw a series of lines or shapes with crayons to fill the paper. Paint over the lines/shapes with watercolours. The crayon marks will resist the paint and show through. The children think this is magic. You can also do this with drawings. Good introduction to principles of batik. (Carol)
- Shape/Drawing: Give the children a sheet of white paper and a 2’’ circle of coloured paper. Tell them they can glue the circle anywhere on the paper but then they have to do a drawing around it. They can draw a football game (the circle becomes the ball), a car (circle becomes a tire), a figure (circle becomes a head), etc. One student used his blue circle to make a sun and did a beautiful village scene around it. Let their imaginations run wild. (Nancy from Evans, How to Teach Art to Children)
- Shape/Pattern Robot People: Have the children draw robot people by making simple shapes (squares, rectangles) and fill in the shapes with lines, dots, patterns, or texture. (Nancy)
- Line/Shape/Colour Doodles: Have the children draw a freehand line that loops around and forms shapes. Colour in the shapes with different colours. (textbook)
- Line/Colour: Give the students a sheet of paper, which they are to fold in half; three colours of paint in bowls or cups; and some lengths of string or yarn. They are to dip one string in paint, arrange it randomly on half the paper, and then fold the other half onto the string. The ends of the string should protrude from the edges. Carefully press down on the paper with one hand and pull the string out. It will make a symmetrical design on the paper. Repeat using another colour and then a third. Dry. I pre-draw the outline of a butterfly on the back of the paper that they can cut out and then hang the butterflies so they flutter in the breeze. (textbook)
- Space: Have the students fold the paper into eight equal sections (this will probably take a lot of demonstrating). In each section they should draw an in different sizes and positions (medium circle in center, tiny circle to the left, medium circle at bottom, huge circle that fills the space almost entirely, etc.). Colour all the shapes one colour and the background a different colour. This will show spatial relationships, positive/negative space, and scale. (Nancy)
- Positive/Negative Space: Give the students a full sheet of paper in one colour and a half sheet of a different colour. Align the papers on the left end. On the long edge of the half sheet draw three shapes (triangle, rectangle, etc.) that extend into the paper but don’t reach the other edge, cut out, and flop over to the right. Cut shapes out of the first three shapes, cut out, and flop to the left. Repeat one more time, flopping to the right. Glue pieces in place. Emphasise that the negative space is just as important as positive space in a composition. (Carol)
- Lines/Shapes/Colour Op Art 1: Give the students a sheet of paper and have them draw eight or nine slanted lines across the paper. Turn the paper and draw more lines perpendicular to the first. Superimpose randomly three circles of different sizes on the lines. Colour in every other shape, even the tiniest ones. If you miss one, the pattern is thrown off. Options: Use a second colour for the remaining shapes. Or, use colours within the circles and black and white outside them. I use felt markers for this. (Nancy from Dick Blick)
- Lines/Shapes/Colour Op Art 2: 1. Have the students draw a freehand, gently curving line across the paper. 2. Mark eight dots on the line. 3. Draw a curving line from the first dot down and under to the second dot, then up and over to the third dot, down and under and up and over until all the dots have a line running through them. 4. The next line should go up and over, then down and up, etc. Continue 3 and 4 until the paper is filled. Colour in each shape (I limit the colours to four). The older students should use value (dark to light to dark) to make the shapes look three-dimensional. (Nancy)
- Contour Lines: Have the students trace their hands on paper with pencil. Using markers, have them draw a straight line from the edge of the paper to the edge of the hand, make a curved line over the hand, and then a straight line from the edge of the hand to the edge of the paper. Continue to fill paper with narrowly spaced lines. (Nancy from Prince, Art is Fundamental)
- Lines/Measuring: Tell the students they will be making a curved line from straight lines. They should use rulers for this project. First, have them draw a right angle and mark off equal increments (1/2”, 1 cm, etc.) on both lines. Draw a line with a ruler connecting the first mark on the vertical line to the first mark on the horizontal. Next, draw a line from the second mark on the vertical to the second mark on the horizontal. Continue until all the marks are connected. Once they have finished this and made their curved line, they can repeat using coloured lines or work with a vertical and a horizontal axis to produce four curved lines. (Carol)
- Shapes/Colour: Have the students trace their hands (or any readily available item; scissors work well) several times, overlapping them. Colour each resulting shape, including the background, a different colour. (Nancy)
- One-Point Perspective: Have the students follow along step by step as you show them how to draw one-point perspective from two views. Once they get it, they can go on to draw five or six boxes surrounding one point while you help those who still don’t understand. Colour in the boxes once they are correctly drawn. (Nancy)
- Microsoft Paint: This is a fantastic program to use with your students if you have the opportunity. I teach ICT as well as art and use this program in class. It’s great for teaching mouse skills, how to save and open a document, and how to create a new document. You will have to start off by showing them how to use all the different tools, but they will catch on quickly. My students especially like to make boxes and then fill them with colour, recreate various African flags, and make pictures of computers. Some students, especially those with eye troubles, will have a difficult time – let other students help them. It’s actually okay to let the students help each other a lot when it comes to computer things. It will really help you out if students are reminding each other how to open and save documents. Just watch out for students actually doing the work for another student. It’s okay for a student to put his hand on top of another student’s to help him with the mouse, but only small. You will be surprised with the awesome stuff that your students will come up with. One good thing to do is to save some of the ones you like the best and put them up online somewhere. I put mine on the Flikr account that is linked to the blog I made for the school. It’s an easy way to let a lot of people see your kids’ work. (Katharyn)
- Mosaic: Keep a box for scrap coloured paper. Have the students draw a picture of fish, birds, or anything you want and tear/cut the paper into small pieces to make a mosaic. Glue the pieces to the paper. (Carol)
- Scratchboard: Give the students a sheet of white paper and have them cover the sheet entirely with blobs of colour using crayon. The marks should be really heavy. Paint over the crayon marks with black tempera, black acrylic paint, or black crayon (other colours are too transparent). Dry in sun. Using sticks, plastic forks/knives, combs, or anything that makes a sharp line, scratch a design in the black paint so that the crayon marks show through. (Nancy)
- Continuous Line Faces: Drawings and Wire Copies: For this project, I showed them how they can make a face with one line, never picking up the pencil (“Pencil stay, stay, stay. Pick up no.” Be sure to demo correct and incorrect examples.) Remind them that funny is good! With older classes, after drawing the faces, we copied them by bending thin wire. The wire can be purchased at hardware stores for a couple cedis a spool. Really any wire that can be easily bent with hands works. This is a great project that they really enjoy. (Katharyn)
- Principles of Design: I gave each student a piece of paper and asked them to fold it into eight equal parts. In each block they had to illustrate a principle of design using elements of design plus these instructions (or similar): use line to create rhythm, use line to create repetition, use dots and circles to create variety, use colour to create unity, use colour to create balance, use colour to create harmony, use shape to create contrast, use shape and colour to create dominance. (Nancy)
- Dominance: Use newspaper so the students can do a large painting. They should trace their feet and hands on the newspaper and then paint a small figure to connect them. (Nancy from Prince, Art is Fundamental)
- Still Life/Landscape: Set up a still life or an object like a bicycle and have the students draw it using pencil. Can be used as a final exam. Or, take the students outside to draw buildings, landscape, etc. Make drawing boards out of cardboard and tape paper to it. Find a shady spot. (Carol)
- Thinking About Art: There are several interesting and very educational lessons you can do that involve your students thinking about art rather than making it. These lessons require only prints of art or actual examples of it. Some that I have done include: 1. How do we describe art? Let’s use adjectives to describe what we see in this artwork and the artwork itself. This lesson challenges your students’ English skills – what is an adjective? Don’t be surprised if they don’t know. You’ll have to teach them. 2. Let’s make up stories about the people and events we see in art. Have the students look at a print you give them and make up a story about it. Some will simply describe, but other will come up with great stories. They really like coming up in front of the class and having their time in the spotlight. This lesson is just a simple exercise in imagination. Make sure to emphasise that there are no right or wrong answers. Anything they think of is correct. (Katharyn)
- Mural: This is a long-term project to do with a class or after-school group. The subject can be anything – a map, scene from school life, adinkra symbols, etc. You can use a project that has gridded material ready to use (The World Map Project – the students are always amazed at how small Ghana is), or you can have the students do an original design (you will have to show them how to grid up for large-scale painting). Find a blank wall and get permission to paint on it (oil-based paint for outside or emulsion paint for inside). Draw a grid on the wall (use chalk or charcoal) and have the students fill in each square from the original gridded drawing. Paint. If you don’t have materials, let them draw on the blackboard with coloured chalk. (Becky, Nancy, and various)
Pattern Making, Printmaking, and Lettering
- Nametags: This is a great project for the first time you teach a class. It will help you learn their names and give you a collection of cards with which to take roll in later classes. It is easy and can be done with very simple materials. (Katharyn)
- Patterns: Teaching patterns is good because you can reinforce the idea with lots of different projects (weaving, patterns in a line, musical rhythm, etc.). I explained what a pattern is by drawing a simple pattern on the board – ABCABCABC – and showing how the group ‘ABC’ repeated. To practice, I started a pattern and asked them how it should be continued. “Group here – repeat, repeat, repeat.” (Katharyn)
- Patterns/Lines: Discuss different types of lines. Draw some on the board and then have students come up one by one to see if they can make a different one. Have them fold a piece of paper into eight sections and fill each section with different types of lines to make patterns. They can also fold the paper into random shapes and fill these. (Nancy)
- Patterns/Dots: Give the students paper, Q-Tips, three or four colours of paint, and ask them to make designs using dots only (the Q-Tips will be their brushes). This is based on Australian Aboriginal paintings so you can talk about this and show pictures to older students if you like. (Carol and Nancy)
- Monoprints: I was lucky and found some small pieces of glass that workmen were going to throw out. You can also use the inside (foil) of juice/wine boxes or aluminum foil. Paint a design with acrylic paint, put paper (white or coloured) on design, rub, and peel off paper. Dry in sun. Students should do at least five prints to get the hang of it. Older students can try using words but it takes them a while to realise that they have to write backwards. Demonstrate on board how to do this and tell them to copy exactly what you have written. They eventually get it. (Nancy)
- Lettering: Give the students words and have them make lettering that illustrates the word. For example, use twigs from outside to form the word “twig,” lines for “line,” colour for “colour,” thick and thin letters for “thick” and “thin,” etc. (Nancy)
- Leaf Prints: Let the students go outside and pick as many different leaves as they can (or do it yourself before class). Paint the more textured side of a leaf with acrylic or tempera paint and press it onto paper, rub, and lift leaf. Make patterns by reusing the same leaf or using many different ones. You can limit the palette or use many different colours. (Carol)
- Printmaking with Found Objects/Patterns: Give the students a piece of paper, paint, and as many found objects as you can (pasta, okra, erasers, tinsel, bottle caps, leaves, string … anything in large quantities), have them dip it into the paint, and make as many different marks on the paper as they can. (Nancy)
- Stamped Cards: You can use the cardboard boxes from your packages for this one. Have them cut out shapes and glue a little piece of cardboard to the back as a holder. You have your stamp! Have them fold pieces of paper in half and decorate the front of the cards. Be careful that they don’t stamp the inside. They can then write a message on the inside to give to a friend. You can also do negative stamps by having them put paint around the outside of the stamp, leaving the shape of the stamp blank. (Katharyn)
- Stencils: Hand out coloured paper and small pieces of card. Have the students cut out stencils and place on paper. Using paint, crayons, or coloured pencils, use the stencil to make patterns or designs on the paper. Continue until the paper is full. (Nancy)
- Posters: Tell the students that they work for Ghana’s tourist board and have been asked to make a poster that will attract tourists to Ghana. Discuss reasons why tourists might want to come and what they might want to see. I used history, culture, scenery, relaxation, wildlife, and people as categories. From these categories they had to choose specific things to illustrate, e.g., Cape Coast Castle for history; dancing/drumming or kente/batik for culture; Mole National Park for wildlife; etc. I emphasized that the lettering/wording was just as important as the illustration. Public service posters: wash your hands with soap, clean environment, eat healthy foods, road safety, etc. (Nancy)
- Creative Movement: Take the children outside and form a circle. Have a list of movements that you will do and they are to follow (walk, march, climb, skip, bend, twist, fly, etc.). Have students move to the center of the circle one at a time to do a movement that the others can follow. If they are stuck, have them do a dance movement. Lead them back to the classroom in a long snaking line. Good for when the students are particularly restless. (Nancy)
- Skits: If you’re interested in theatre, have the students make up skits to perform. You can use subjects such as HIV/AIDS and teen angst problems or anything you can think of. You can make simple props, costumes, and/or scenery as well. (Nancy)
- Dancing and Drumming: The students love to dance, and you can make drums as a class project. Some students have partial hearing but mostly they can feel the vibration of the drums, which are played very loudly. You can try to find a local person who would be willing to work with you in teaching dancing and drumming. (Kari)
Weaving and Stitching
- Sewing Basics: This project is great because it require few supplies, isn’t messy, and can stretch over several class periods. Basically what I did was buy plain white fabric, several colours of thread and enough needles for the entire class. I cut the fabric so that every student had a piece that was about 1/3 yard x 1 yard. The first class period we learned the basic running stitch and practiced on practice sheets (sewing on lines/shapes on the paper) and the next period, we sewed our names onto the fabric. A lot of the students will already know the basic running stitch and another, more decorative kind of stitch. This is a good thing – they will like feeling that they are already skilled at something. It’s also very possible to have one or two students teach the skill to the others who are not already familiar with it. Because the pieces of fabric are somehow large, there is plenty of space to practice many different sewing skills: different kinds of stitching, making a simple hem, sewing on a button, embroidery/French knots, making a pocket, sewing on a zipper, using fabric markers or paint (if you get it from America). My students also enjoyed sewing pictures onto their fabric – just letting them do whatever they want can yield some really beautiful results. Boys and girls like this project equally – the oldest boys in my P6 class made the some of the best final products. Some things to watch out for:
- 1. Some students will have eye problems and sewing may be difficult for them. Be more lenient with them in their work and don’t get frustrated with them.
- 2. Because the needles and thread are small, useful, and not identifiably yours, students will be tempted to steal them, especially if you have the colour of thread that is used on their school uniforms. To avoid this, count the number of needles you hand out and know all the colours of thread you have. You can also put an older student in charge of keeping track of things. They love to catch each other stealing.
- 3. Make sure they write on their fabric with pencil, not pen. This is also a really good project because they get to take it home and can use it as a sweat rag, etc. (Katharyn)
- Weaving: For younger children, use coloured paper (you can paint white paper if you don’t have coloured paper). I cut white and black paper in half to use for weaving so they can see the difference a background colour makes. Draw a line approximately 1” from a short edge, fold the paper in half, and cut up to the line from the folded edge. This way they won’t cut too far and ruin the paper but have tape on hand in case they do. The cuts can be straight or wavy. The children struggle with scissors so you can precut strips of coloured paper for weaving or let them do it themselves. For older children, you can make looms from cardboard and string and have them use any material you can find to weave with. I use yarn and ribbon from the market or grass, leaves, and sticks from outside (this can be a hard sell). If you’re good at weaving, try teaching simple kente designs. (Nancy)
- Knotting: Make friendship bracelets from embroidery floss. Start with four strands (the most popular colours will be Ghanaian flag colours: red, yellow, green, and black), knotted at one end, which I tape to their desks. Once they master the basic technique, they can work with more strands or add beads. I precut the strands into approximately 24” lengths and bundle them in groups of four to save time in class. Otherwise, they will fight over colours and get the floss in tangles. (Nancy)
- Plaiting/Braiding: I used long lengths of scraps I got from local seamstresses to plait into mats. First, plait three strands of fabric and then coil the plait and stitch it together on the bottom side to make a small circular mat. You can infuse a little American culture by explaining how pioneers made rugs from scraps to use on cold floors. Show pictures of snow. Bracelets: I used pipe cleaners for the younger students. They plaited three pipe cleaners together and then wrapped them around their wrists to make bracelets. (Nancy)
- Ojos de Dios: Use popsicle sticks or sticks from outside and yarn from the market. Another way to work with colour and textiles. (Carol)
- Batik: If your school has the equipment or you want to invest in some, have the students work on small pieces. I gave them a yard of calico, which they cut into three pieces of any size. On one, they did traditional stamping; on the second, they did tie-and-dye; and on the third, they did a freehand drawing with wax. They could use a large piece for a technique they were especially interested in or make the three pieces equal size. (Nancy)
Modeling and Casting
- Clay: Clay is one of the most successful projects that I’ve done. I found the clay in a streambed near my school, removed it with a hoe, and stored it in a Ghana Gucci bag. Before using it for class, my two small girls and I broke off hunks of it and beat it into a nicer consistency, removing grass/rocks/trash as we went. Finding a good place for a whole class to work with clay is necessary to the project being a success. At my school, I covered some tall tables (meant to be used for the woodworking and sewing BDT classes) with cloth and Latexfoam plastic. About six students could work around one table. For each class, I set up by placing chunks of clay at every place and putting bowls of water and various ‘tools’ (sticks, pieces of glass, bottle caps) on each table. I did two main projects with the clay – making pots using the coil method and slipping/scoring and making clay heads, hollowing out the middles. For each project, we had a class period where we just practiced (smashed up what we made at the end of class) and one where we kept what we made. In every case, the clay dried to the bone-dry stage very well, and it was simple to paint at this stage. To further preserve the unfired pieces, I covered them with Mod Podge (from America). It would also be very easy to fire the pieces in an open fire or barrel. Clay projects have many benefits: the clay is free and a locally sourced material, the kids already have some experience working with clay (making humans, cows, cars, etc., when they were little), they get to get up and leave their classroom, it involves hands-on learning (something they soooo need), it’s easy as a teacher because the kids are working for the vast majority of the time, and the students are so much more creative when working with clay than with other media. This last benefit is one of my favourite things about this project. When my students made their heads, every single one of them was vastly different. If I had asked them to draw a face, I know this would not have been the case. I think this is because, when it comes to drawing, they all have the same stock image in their mind of what things look like, but they don’t have that in a clay/3D sense. It’s cool to see the things they come up with. I thought my students’ clay heads looked cooler unpainted, but they wanted to paint them, so there you go. (Katharyn)
Construction/Assemblage and Paperwork
- Paper planes: This is a very easy, very fun lesson. Start by showing the kids how to make a basic paper airplane. Have them decorate them and then go outside to fly them. After just playing around for a while, have all the students stand in a line and throw the planes as far as they can. Have them stand by their landed planes and see whose goes the farthest. You can repeat this or have them make their own versions of paper airplanes and then repeat. They are creative in thinking of different kinds of planes. I did this with a P5 class with much success. It’s a laid back, fun lesson. Other classes who don’t have a teacher will want to come out and watch – don’t let them interfere with what your class is doing. Make sure to pay attention to which way the wind is blowing! (Sonya, Katharyn, and Nancy)
- “About Me” Books: This project can take up as many lessons as you need. Different pages I did with my classes were “My name is…,” “I am in class…,” “I live in...,” “My favorite food is…,” “I like to…,” all with corresponding pictures. To easily bind the books, you can staple them or have them sew up the spine. You can also go into further depth with binding techniques if working with older students. (Katharyn)
- Collage 1: I tell the students they are going to make “bugs.” First we discuss the parts of an insect (body, legs, antennae, wings, etc.), and then I hand out a sheet of paper for background, several smaller pieces of coloured paper, and glue. They are to tear shapes out of the coloured paper (no scissors or rulers allowed) to glue onto the background to make their own fantasy bugs. Anything goes, and no two will be alike even if you give them identical material. (Nancy from Dick Blick)
- Collage/Shapes: Give the children scraps of coloured paper and ask them to tear shapes and glue them onto a background sheet. For younger students. (Nancy)
- Easy Marbled Paper: You will need shallow trays, shaving foam, food colouring, paper (white or coloured), sticks, and rulers. Have students work in groups. Fill the tray with shaving foam and smooth out with a ruler. Drop dots of food colouring on the shaving foam and swirl around with a stick to make patterns. Place paper on top of foam and rub. Peel paper off, remove excess shaving foam with a ruler, and dry. You can use the pattern more than one time. If it gets muddy, start again. I use these papers for bookbinding but they can also be used for collages. (Nancy)
- Cardboard Figures: Pass out one small and one medium rectangle of cardboard plus two long skinny pieces. You will also need glue and scissors. Have the children make figures (people, animals, etc.) using the small rectangle as a head and the medium one as a body. The long pieces can be cut into arms, legs, tails, ears, etc. Have extra pieces in a basin that they can take if their imaginations dictate it. When the glue is dry, the students can paint them. Encourage whimsical designs for the figures and plenty of colour and patterns for the paint. (Carol and Nancy)
- Construction: Save everything (cardboard boxes, packing materials, bottles, toilet paper rolls, etc.)! Have the students work in small groups. Lay out the materials so they can choose what they want to use to build a 3-D construction. They are experimenting with the materials and form so let them build what they want. You can offer guidance on how to adhere things together, and let them know that the whole thing will be painted (emulsion house paint) when they finish so they don’t have to concern themselves with labels. (Carol)
- Papier Mâché: Use newspapers/recycled paper and cassava paste. For African masks, make a basic mould by bending a long piece of heavy board, cut into 1.5 inch-widths, into a shape and tape the ends together. Fill this with wadded-up newspaper to help hold the shape. Use a few strips of masking tape to hold the newspaper in place. Begin to cover this mould (top and sides only) with pieces of torn newspaper strips dipped in cassava paste. Do four or five layers, each running in a different direction. Can also build up areas for eyes, nose, and mouth with card and paper pulp. Let dry thoroughly. When dry, remove the wadded-up newspaper from the back of the mould and paint. Can also add feathers, yarn, beads, etc., or cut out eyes and mouth. Another project. Coat the inside (or outside) of a small bowl with Vaseline to use as a mould. Using cassava glue, cover the bowl with small strips of newspaper (comics work well), tissue paper, candy wrappers, or any kind of interesting paper you can find. Do at least four layers (10-12 if using tissue paper). You can also make a mash of small pieces of coloured paper that have been soaked in water, mixed with a little paste, and press into the mould. Let dry and remove from the mould (may have to use a knife to loosen). Can be painted or left as is. (Nancy)
- Form/Construction: This can be used as a mobile with balanced shapes or as a construction using 3-D forms. Give the students a length of string, several scraps of paper, scissors, and glue. Mobile. Have the students cut paper to different sizes and shapes. Glue on string to make a balanced hanging. 3-D Form. Demonstrate cutting a circle into a spiral, cutting a fringe and curling the fringe around a pencil, making pleats, etc. Anything to show turning a shape into a form. Glue to the string and hang. (Carol and Nancy)
- Party Hats: Use paper plates, if you can find them, or cut out 9” circles (trace around a plate) from heavy paper. Precut four lines across the diameter, starting and ending about 5/8” from edge so you have eight equal triangles. Let the children use crayons or paint to make designs and then decorate with glitter glue, sequins, stickers, or anything else you can think of. I cut shiny wrapping paper into small pieces when I ran out of sequins. Dry and wear. It forms a little crown. I had intended doing this with the nursery only but the older children wanted to make them as well. Good for special occasions: Christmas, celebrations, etc. (Nancy)
- Pipe Cleaner Figures: Demonstrate how you can manipulate pipe cleaners by bending, twisting, coiling, etc. Spiders: This takes one pipe cleaner and eight half pipe cleaners. Take the long pipe cleaner and spiral it in from both ends to the middle. Fold the two spirals together. This forms the body. Insert each of the eight shorter pieces around the edge of the spiral and twist to hold in place. This forms the eight legs. Bend the legs to look like a spider’s (you can bend little feet as well). If you have googly eyes, you can glue two of these to the body. People: Give each student 1-1/2 pipe cleaners and a pony bead. Have them bend the larger pipe cleaner into an upside down “V.” Slide the pony bead over the pointed end and down about ¾”. Open the loop that forms to make a roundish head. Wrap the short pipe cleaner around the first just below the bead. This forms the arms. Twist the ends of the first pipe cleaner an inch or two below the arms to form the body and legs. Bend the arms and legs to form joints and hands/feet. I demonstrate and have them follow along step by step for the first figure. Then I give them new pipe cleaners to see if they can do it on their own. Since pipe cleaners are new to the students, let them experiment and make other shapes (eyeglasses are popular). (Nancy)
- Paper Beads: Cut long, narrow triangles from colourful magazine pages and wind them up, starting with the wide end, around toothpicks or a stick from your broom. Glue the tip of the pointed end to the bead to hold it together. Remove from stick and let dry. When dry, coat the beads with varnish or clear nail polish. Let dry on toothpicks. String the beads onto elastic thread, using small glass beads to enhance the design. Tie the thread in a knot, put a dot of glue on the knot, and slip inside one of the paper beads to keep it hidden. By using elastic thread you can use as a necklace or a bracelet. You can also make earrings but findings are hard to come by. These can be sold to make money for buying art supplies but usually the children want to keep them for themselves. (Nancy)
- Puppets: Delve into your box of odds and ends and have the children make puppets. You can use popsicle sticks as a base and decorate them with bits of paper, fabric, yarn, and beads, etc. Make a theatre out of a cardboard box, which they can also decorate. Set up the theatre on the end of a table so the puppeteers can sit under it and hold their puppets up. Let them make up stories about their puppets. You’ll need someone to sign to the others. (Carol)
- Calabash: See lesson plan. (Joy)
How to Display Art
- Duct tape sometimes works, but if you are putting up art near windows, it will probably get blown down regardless of how much tape you use. As mentioned above, Scotch masking tape is a good bet. Another way of displaying that works well for me is to string up some clothesline or yarn and then scotch tape the art to the line. You can do just one line at the top or do another one at the bottom to make it extra secure. This works to cover any open space, but works especially well across high windows. Just tie the string to the metal fixtures of the window. Also, you can use tacks on wooden surfaces but do it high enough so that your students can’t reach it. They will take the tacks to put in their sandals. Also, it’s just a good idea to always display your art high up so that it won’t get stolen or destroyed. I take lots of photos of kids, artwork, my family, etc., and mount them on cardboard so they can pass them around the room.
Good Resources for Art Projects
In addition to the official Creative Arts textbooks and student workbooks, good resources include:
- Prince, Art is Fundamental
- Watt, The Usborne Book of Art Projects (crafty, U.K.)
- Nancy Beal, The Art of Teaching Art to Children (U.S.)
- Evans, How to Teach Art to Children (elements of art, Evan-Moor, U.S.)
- Jane Bull, Make It! (recycling, U.K.)
- Susan Milord, Adventures in Art (crafty projects, U.S.)
- You will do some workshops on Ghanaian arts and crafts during training. You can also take workshops on your own all over Ghana, e.g., kente weaving, batik, pottery, woodcarving, basketry, house painting designs, adinkra stamping, bead making, calabash, and screen printing. Some of these things are included on the syllabus, and you’ll be expected to teach them. Or you may just get really interested and want to make a personal study of one. One volunteer, who recently left, became a master kente weaver.
- Integrating Art with Other Disciplines: Talk to the classroom teachers and see what they will be teaching so you can plan something that will integrate with the lesson. This may be a hard concept for the teachers to understand. One of the teachers was doing a unit on pollination. I talked a little about pollination and had the children make flowers, bees, birds, and butterflies out of heavy paper and tissue paper, which we stuck to the wall, to reinforce the lesson. If you don’t have enough paper, you can have them draw on the blackboard with coloured chalk. You can also make clocks with moveable hands when the students are learning to tell time. Keep watching for lessons that you can integrate. (Nancy)
- Field Trips/Workshops: Take the students to an artisan’s workshop so that they can see people actually working and making a living from their crafts. Or invite a local artist to the school to talk about and demonstrate his work. (Nancy)
- Spelling Bee: Spelling bees are really great ways to expand your students’ vocabulary, improve their spelling skills, improve their self-esteem, and give you good practice finger spelling. They are familiar with the idea from seeing spelling bees on TV but have probably never participated in one. The first time that you have one, you’ll have to explain how it works, but after that, they will all understand. The first time I did one, I only gave them about 75 words and that was too few; the next time I gave them about 250 and that worked better. The first time, I did four separate bees – one each with PreJSS, JSS 1, JSS 2, and JSS 3. The second time I did it with all four classes together. Both worked well, it just depends on how large your classes are and what you want to do. I gave the lists to the students about four-to-six weeks in advance (it’s best to give them typed versions so they can clearly read them) and went over the signs for every word two or three times before the actual bee. This will be somehow tiring, but you have to do it for them to learn the signs. And it will help you practice. So give out the lists, review the signs a few times, and then have the spelling bee. The best way to organise this is to have everyone line up and have one student come forward. Then give them the signs and see if they can start to spell it. You can repeat the sign as many times as you need (be sure to do it exactly the same as you did in review) and give the students two tries to spell the word correctly. If on their second try, they spell the word wrong, they are out. When there are two students left and one student misspells a word, he is out. If the remaining student can spell correctly the word that the previous student got wrong and spell one more word correctly, he is the winner. If he gets either of these words wrong, the other student is back in and you continue as before. One thing to watch out for: cheating. It’s very easy for a student who is stuck on a word or a sign to look out into the watching crowd and get answers. To avoid this, designate some older students to be watchmen. If they see the student cheating, that student is out. For the winners of my spelling bees, I made them achievement certificates (from America, or you can find templates online) that I presented to them during morning assembly. You can also give some kind of prize – I gave one winner a book and another time, took the winners to the city to use the Internet and get good food. It really just depends on what you want to do. Just make sure you are consistent. Sometimes coming up with word lists are hard – I’ve included one of mine for you in the Appendix. (Katharyn)
- Review Games: If you want to review your students for your exams (or for their other exams), making a game of it is something they really enjoy. I wrote review questions on pieces of paper and then taped them to the backs of small pieces of construction paper and divided the classes up into four or five groups. One person from each group would come and pick a question. The group would try to answer the question together, and if they were correct, they got a point. If they were incorrect, the question went back into the pool. This is a very effective way of reviewing, and they really love it. It’s a completely different way of learning/reviewing than they have ever encountered before, so it’s really engaging. It works for all ages. My JSS 1 class wanted to play it again as soon as we were done playing it one time. (Katharyn)
- School Blog/Flikr Account: Making a blog and online photo account for your school is something you can do to get the word out about your school. Any kind of blog would work fine – I used wordpress. Some things you can do with it: introduce the school – the history of the school, bios of teachers, information on the student body, etc., do “Star Student” bios, have teachers or the headmaster write up things, write up stories about events that your school may have. With the picture account, anything you put up would be good. Try giving your camera to an older student to get the best pictures (see below). (Katharyn)
- Puzzles: Giving word search, mazes, etc., to students is a fun thing to do that keeps them occupied for hours and allows them to think in new ways. You can also use the backs of the sheets for future projects. You can easily find mazes of all difficulties online and you can make your own word searches at Discovery Education's Puzzle Maker. Be sure to explain how to do both word searches and mazes before you give them out. Older students and other teachers love these, too! (Joy)
- PEPFAR Poster Art Competition: Sponsored by the Peace Corps and open to students aged 10-20. Students from all over Ghana submit paintings on an HIV/AIDS topic (this year’s topic was “My friend with HIV is still my friend.”), and the best thirteen are published in a calendar. It’s a lot of work (some students have never worked with paint before or used large paper) and a lot of signing to explain the concept but one deaf student won in 2010. There are prizes but more importantly it builds self-confidence. (Nancy)
Unless you are very lucky, don’t expect your school to supply you with materials for teaching art. Sometimes you will be reimbursed and sometimes you won’t. You will have to be very creative. You can have your students make things to sell (e.g., jewelry) to pay for supplies.
- Newspaper. Can be used for very large drawings, paint palettes, papier mâché, table protection, etc. See if your school library has some you can recycle.
- Cardboard. Small random shapes can be used to construct fantasy people, animals, things. Make large constructions. Make looms for weaving. Use for drawing boards.
- Magazines. For collages and paper beads.
- Cassava Starch. Makes excellent paste (similar to wallpaper paste) for papier mâché or projects using large amounts of glue. Better than white glue for making paper chain decorations at Christmas. Buy in market. Cheap.
- Fabric. You can buy fabric in the market easily or ask seamstresses for scraps (free).
- Embroidery floss, yarn, and ribbon. For weaving and friendship bracelets. Can buy in market cheaply.
- Flour sacks. Use for canvas. Buy in market.
- Things from the U.S. Anything considered “crafty” you will have trouble finding in Ghana. Glitter glue, pipe cleaners, stickers, sequins, brass fasteners, Crayola/Roseart crayons/colour pencils/markers, Scotch masking tape, charcoal (can also use charcoal from coal pots), tempera paint, coloured paper, scissors (medium or small for little hands), jewelry findings, tissue paper, paint brushes, oil pastels, decent pencil sharpeners, Sunprint paper, Exacto knife and blades, popsicle sticks, vinyl lacing (gimp), Play-Doh or similar modeling material, Mod Podge
- Things in Ghana. Pencils, erasers, rulers, white glue, copier paper, heavy paper in limited colours (“card”), board, food colouring, watercolours, tape, cotton buds [Q-Tips], string, toothpicks, good acrylic paint (Accra), house paint (for murals), chalk
- Ghanaian Crafts. Wax, dyes, calico, and stamps for batik/tie-and-dye; adinkra stamps; beads
- Braille Paper. If your school has a blind unit, ask for their recycling. The paper used in braillewriters is stiff and can be used for 3-D projects, drawing and painting, or background for collages.
- Coke (Mineral) Bottles. Cut off the bottom half for individual water pots for painting or for mini trashcans (children will throw their trash on the floor). The top half can be used for funnels, and the tops/caps can be used for individual portions of glue.
- Paint Rags. Cut up old t-shirts, cheap dishtowels, or car washing cloths so each child will have one for messy projects. Keep a few larger pieces for cleaning up spilled water and paint.
- Melcom. A discount store that has very random supplies. Buy very cheap plastic plates (30 pesewa) for palettes and bowls (18 pesewa) for cassava paste, beads, crayons, or other small items.
- Learn to lower your expectations about pretty much anything. This sounds depressing, but it’s not. It will help keep you happy and in the right mindset. Go into your job with the idea that the other teachers at your school (the majority, not all) do not teach nearly as much or as well as American teachers. They will seem very lazy and/or apathetic to you. If you go in expecting this, you won’t be as surprised or upset as you would be otherwise. Also, you probably won’t be able to get everything you want to get done, done. The slower pace of life, the official lines through which things are done, and the difficulty of acquiring materials will make getting some things done impossible. It’s good to be motivated and get as much done as you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do everything. No one can.
- All deaf school Volunteers live on the campus of their schools. There are many benefits to this setup, but one of the best is that you live with neighbours. Other teachers and their families most likely live with you on campus. One of the best things you can do during your first three months at site is to get to know these people – not only the teachers, but also their wives, husbands, and children. These will be the people that you can go to for help with things, for company, to borrow things from, etc. It’s also just a good idea security-wise; the closer you are to your neighbours, the safer and more comfortable you will feel at home and the safer you will feel your house is when you travel. Neighbours are good, too, for sharing food with. When I make food, I give extras to my neighbours, and they generally really like it and are very thankful. It’s just good to have relationships with the people you live with. Even just going around to greet them for no reason is appreciated.
- It is really hard to learn all of your students’ Sign names, but try to learn at least some of them. You’ll feel bad if you have relationships with some of your students, and they find out that you don’t know their names. It’s okay to ask other teachers or other students. Again, just the act of trying is significant here.
- Make your living space your own. If you make it a place that is just what you want and need, you will be comfortable. Set boundaries about who can enter your house/rooms and when. Stick to these boundaries, and they will be respected. If not, you will have students knocking on your door at all times of the day and night.
- Setting boundaries in all areas of your relationships and all aspects of your life will help keep you sane and happy.
- Be aware that if you give something like a Band-Aid or piece of chalk to one student, all your students will be knocking on your door, asking for the same things. They’re not being greedy; they just have so little that anything you could give them would mean a lot. If you don’t have enough to give to all the students, reconsider giving something to one. If you do give out something, be able to explain why that one student got it or just say that whatever you’ve given out is finished.
- This is simple, but ASK QUESTIONS. About anything, everything you don’t understand. Why is today a holiday? Why is the mate on this tro annoyed? What does that sign mean? Just ask and people will tell you. Be specific and keep asking questions until you are satisfied with what you are told. People will appreciate it and feel that you are involved and interested.
- When it comes to matters of participating in Ghanaian culture or forming relationships with Ghanaians, if you are debating whether or not to do something, Just. Do. It. Go to festivals and funerals. Do the dances. If someone invites you over for dinner, go. The sooner you do things that are new to you, the sooner you will feel comfortable with them and the quicker you can progress in the process of feeling comfortable in Ghana. Being open to new things is integral to having a successful life in Ghana. If you just keep doing the same kinds of things you did in America, you will get bored and miss out on a lot.
- Learn to just take things as they come. This will get easier as time goes on, but it’s something that you can consciously try to do from the beginning. Yes, sometimes you will have to wait two hours for a tro to fill, and sometimes you will be planning on spending the day hanging out with your cat and a novel but then realise that your whole staff is going to a funeral in another village. These things happen, especially here. Just try to be cool with it and say, “Okay, whatever happens today, happens and that’s fine.”
- Befriend your students. It’s always good to joke around with them and have inside jokes. They will still respect you as an authority if you are their friend.
- It’s okay to need and take alone time. Sometimes you need to just go in your house, close the door, and be inaccessible. As long as you aren’t doing this everyday, all day, don’t feel bad about it. Everyone does it, and it’s necessary.
- On getting pictures of your students: if there is an older student that you trust, give your camera to him or her to take pictures. The students will be much more natural and relaxed if it is not you taking the pictures. It’s just the way it is. Plus, you’ll be giving that older student some hands-on camera experience.
- Always have water with you. The heat and humidity are enervating. You will have a hard time teaching or doing anything if you’re dehydrated.
Spelling Bee List
Africa African North America South America Europe Asia Australia China Japan
teacher professor school primary think wonder deaf hearing blind disability ability soon shy doctor nurse dentist office district
complete final commandment children parents church mosque traditional religion education
advance begin finish graduate competition question training practice memorisation resource
fufu potato vegetable fruit rectangle prefect monitor watchman mortar mango banana chocolate Koforidua
illness individual persevere suffer discipline integrity character illiterate crazy terrible disgusting despise vomit adore
frigid sweaty truck obese hungry population pollution search greedy cleanse sunlight darkness sacrifice exhibit station internet leaves grass plant genius where location
place dirty mosquito first second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth ninth health weight heavy believe progress understand spelling discuss letter communication quick encourage post office
decide create better best office husband wife fast culture aeroplane boat lorry farmer banker January February March April July August September October November December world listen keys gigantic miniature certificate document
spelling interesting mature minister enter forward infant reduce conflict minute prefer dislike happen far close weep strange pocket empty broken letter locked view itchy attempt advice alligator hippopotamus impossible possible insect swim murder shrink damage destroy authority soldier defend define disappoint depressed unusual disappear history discover discourage disrespect donate twin manufacture
marriage wedding ceremony hurry interpret pound million hilarious coconut mistake accident blame mixture morning afternoon evening night muscle bones skeleton brain intestines
interview international investigate island target technology television temperature thirsty through thousand tomorrow tonight toothbrush transfer
Art Vocabulary/How to Explain and Describe Art Things in ASL
ASL is a fantastic language for some things (telling stories, displaying obvious emotions, joking around) and not so fantastic for other things (describing particular emotions or abstract things). While English can be a very specific language, with individual words for everything, ASL is more limited in its vocabulary. Because of this, because there aren’t signs for specific art words, it’s sometimes difficult to explain an artistic idea to your students. This is one Volunteer’s (Nancy’s) experience with it: “It took me a long time to figure out that there are no art signs for teaching other than cut, paste, etc. It wasn’t until I was trying to explain the resist technique in batik that I realised that you have to approach the language in a whole different way. I worked with one of the better teachers and we came up with ‘enter colour can’t.’” And this is the best way to do it; if there is not a sign for what you are trying to teach, describe it in a different way. The following is a list of some art vocabulary words and ways that you can explain them in Sign. Just do the signs in the order that they appear.
- Texture – means feel, different different different, some soft like sleep, some soft not. (It’s good to have a variety of items with different textures to demonstrate.)
- Visual Texture – feel deceive deceive deceive, if look think maybe true but deceive, all feel same same.
- Actual Texture – feel true.
- Line – line, sometimes straight line, sometimes wavy line. (Using the sign for ‘line’ and adapting it to make it straight, wavy).
- Calligraphic Line – line, fat line, thin line (Using your thumb and first finger, indicate a line that gets fatter and then thinner. Also use the side of a stick of chalk to demo.)
- Continuous Line - line not stop, pencil up no, stay stay stay
- Primary Colours - first, colours can’t make, parent colours, children green orange purple
- Secondary Colours - second, colours can make, children colours, first parent colours mix make second children colours
- Two-Dimensional – flat can’t pick up (Have a student try to pick a square off the board)
- Three-Dimensional – flat not can pick up (Have a cube to contrast with square on the board)
- Open Shape - shape not closed, if fish inside, can escape (Draw open shape with little fish inside, show how they can swim out)
- Closed Shape - shape closed, fish inside escape can’t (Draw closed shape with fish inside, show how they can’t escape)
- Perspective – if I sit here look at that (chair, tree, whatever) and you sit over there, look at that, my see different, you see different (Another meaning of perspective can be explained using examples of a painting with perspective and one without: see painting here? Can enter? Yes, open, can enter, has perspective. See this picture? Can enter? No, closed, can’t enter, not have perspective.)
- Batik/Wax Resist – Wax put here, wait, when dry put in colour, because wax here, colour enter can’t. When colour dry, wax scrape off, colour not.
- Collage – one art, different different different things join
- Mosaic – one art, same thing small small (indicate the small tiles in a mosaic), same same same
- Papier Mâché – start have a thing cover, glue, water, mix, newspaper cut (indicate long strips), glue water here (indicate dipping strips in the glue water and then putting them around the mould)
- Mould – thing has shape like copy (show examples and how you would use them as a mould)
- Sculpture – Art can touch, walk around, look all over, three dimensional
- Theme – One idea, connect all
- Emotion in Art - when look art, feel maybe happy, sad, angry, whatever, all feel different correct
- Abstract - when look, what?, don’t know, what is that?, understand can’t (Examples: colours, lines, shapes, all mixed up. Show examples in art.)
- Representational - when look, what?, know, see, understand (Examples: people, trees, houses. Show examples in art.)