We can talk about El DÌa De Los Muertos right here. We don't need another
My 8th graders are making el Esqueleto in art and studying los dias de los
Muertos in Spanish class. Virtually all of us are native New Englanders, or
at least as native a New Englander as any white person can be. None of us
are bilingual and none of us are of Mexican descent. However, most of us
are really having fun learning a little about a culture beyond our small
New England village. We promise not to make judgements about the Mexican
people or their beliefs. We mean no disrespect and we hope our interest
won't offend anyone. Our intention is to merely widen our horizons by
learning a little bit more about different peoples. In the long run, we
hope that our expanded perspective will help heal our sick world. So, with
the political correctness police hopefully held at bay, I'd now love to
share what we're doing!
A few weeks ago we borrowed the Village Ambulance Corp's life sized human
skeleton replica, and did contour drawings of it. We drew the full figure,
then we drew the parts. We talked about the bones, although we didn't get
into the names except for the major ones. Our main interest was why the
human body looks the way it does. Lots of bones!
Then I showed them some of my anatomy books. I don't have them here, but
I'll email their names and authors tomorrow if you want. In one book is a
series of figure drawings from Ruben's figures. These drawings were then
drawn as if in xray, showing how the skeleton would look in those
positions. (a really cool exercise for advanced students, by the way)
Then we talked about los dias de los Muertos. In art it was mostly just an
interesting review, because the Spanish teacher really does a lot with it,
and the students are enthusiastic. I love learning new things about it, too
Then we adjourned to the gym floor. Each student was given a huge piece of
cardboard from a refrigerator sized box. They got on the cardboard and
assumed an action pose, which a partner traced. Then the fun began! Using
the life sized skeleton replica, and illustrations from the artist's
anatomy reference books, they drew their skeletons in their action pose,
as if seen by xray.
Then they painted the skeletons with big lolly foam brushes and some latex
paint I had left over from a painting job that was (get this...) Bone
White! During this part, I was able to sit back and watch them work. They
were so absorbed in the project there was virtually no fooling around and
what little conversation they has was centered around how their skeletons
were coming and where they were headed!
Now, most of the 8th graders have begun to cut out their skeletons and
dress them up with acrylic paint, gloss medium, and mixed media such as old
clothes, raffia, jewelry, and fabrics. We have lots of el esqueletos
including a skateboard el esqueletos, two cheerleader los esqueletas,
soccer el esqueletos, hip hop el esqueletos, biker el esqueletos, artist
el esqueletas, and a gymnast el esqueletos. They are awsome, and will look
really fine around the school on los dias de los Muertos!
Please pardon my poor Spanish. I've never studied it and I'm always making
a fool of myself. When I miss-speak it in class the students laugh and
begin to debate about how to correct me. I like that. We all learn.
So, what are you teaching for El DÌa De Los Muertos with your students?
Mark Alexander, 1-8 Art
Lee H. Kellogg School
47 Main Street
Falls Village, Connecticut 06031
"The object of education is to
prepare the young to
throughout their lives."
At 1:56 PM 10/15/97, bstoyer.21 wrote:
>To Whom it May Concern;
>I am an art teacher in Denver at a bilingual middle school.
>The majority of my students are Mexican and speak Spanish
>as well as English.
>I am interested in participating in chat rooms with other
>educators. It would be beneficial to share successful
>projects with other art teachers.
>Now I am teaching about El DÌa De Los Muertos with my
>students. Perhaps you could organize a chat room for that
>Brooke J. Stoyer