Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Lesson Plans

Re: Totem Poles

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Kenneth L. Poos (klpoos)
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 20:48:46 -0500

Debbie Crane,
What grade level do you teach? I am an Elementary Art teacher and 3rd
graders would not have an easy time carving out a real totem pole, thats
why I said they are only third graders.
Well, I think some of you were getting too"deep" on the subject of
totem poles, but that is my opinion.
We are NOT trying to minimalize cultures to a crafts thing. We show
slides too, talk about the culture and history and have a hands on
activity where the children interpret, from the information, and create
their own African mask, totem pole, kachina,etc. What is wrong with
this??? They are learning in the process. Third graders can not do the
same things as 6th graders as they don't have the experience, age,
maturity, and coordination. When I teach Chinese Painting to the 6th
grades, we learn about the background history, see slides, talk about
the brush strokes, discuss the differences between Chinese painting and
the art done in Europe at about the same time. We look at the lines,
shapes, how the paintings make us feel,etc. I demonstrate how to use a
bamboo brush to achieve a variety of effects and show some different
techniques.We don't use inksticks or inkstones as they are too expensive
on our budget but we use black watercolor paint. The students get a
feeling of what it is like to use a bamooo brush and we try to paint
flowers, trees, fish,etc. like the Chinese paintings that we have seen
on the slides. They may not look exactly like the REAL ones but they
have had the experience and can get the idea of what it must have been
for the artist to accomplish this painting. They learn that it takes
alot of time and patience and get a feeling for the culture; that its
not easy to use a bamboo brush, and HOW did they do that, its
beautiful,etc. After 6th grade they may not study Chinese Painting and
the culture but they got a little of it in 6th grade with me.
Yes, you CAN make an African mask. Not like the real ones, but you can
interpret the colors, symbols, shapes and design your OWN African mask.
When you do this you learn alot about the culture- why they used certain
colors, what the shapes stand , what symbols they used. You have to do
alot of thinking and planning, reading, to learn about this culture. You
have to look at pictures, slides,videos,etc.
We do RESPECT other cultures- don't you get it!!! that is what we are
trying to instill in the children, a love and respect for other
When your class studies the ancient culture of Egypt, do they just look
at slides, pictures and videos?? What else do you do in Art with the
study of ancient Egypt?? We make life size Mummies, after a study of the
culture, and history. They learn so much more with a hands on activity.
The mummies may not be made from real gold, but in the process and by
studying the history and culture of ancient Egypt children learn alot.
Sandra Poos
Art teacher-Cahokia Dist. #187
Cahokia, Ill.