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Lesson Plans

re:African masks

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Kerin Allen (
Tue, 22 Sep 1998 14:27:19 -0700

I was asked to do an African mask workshop for 3rd graders at a local
elementary school. I really loathe the paper bag kind of mask so I
looked for a more creative solution. I wanted the students to transfer
African elements onto their own identity so
I opted to do plaster/gauze strip masks directly on their little faces.
(This is the craft version of the plaster cast strips used for broken
bones). During the first session, the kids learned the art of
mask-making then made them on each other. They really enjoyed seeing
their own faces in white plaster. When the masks were dry (takes about
24 - 48 hours), we discussed African mask designs (visuals are a must!)
and symbols. Following this, the students painted their masks using
their designs mixed with some African designs they found interesting.
(Fascinating to see their translation!) They were finished off with
raffia hot glued (by two wonderful parents) to each mask in whatever
style the kids wanted. (We put the hot glue inside the mask and folded
the raffia up and over the edge to fall like hair or stick straight out
like a lion's mane.) The results were fabulous! The kids put them on
and danced around the room to African music.

Hope this was helpful.
Kerin Allen