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Elementary [1st-5th] Lesson Plan

2nd grade- Zomo the trickster and African Masks

Created on October 10, 2013 by Michelle

this is a lesson plan that includes literacy standards. Our class is moving from Picasso to African masks. Before we start the new lesson, we take a look at a West African folk tale and determine the moral of the story. We also talk about the illustrations to find geometric shapes and elements that we will recreate in our own masks.

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4 sessions; 30 minutes per session

TSW identify the moral in the story of Zomo: a West African Trickster Tale.
TSW identify the shapes in West African design.
TSW apply West African design to a background and mask.

12x18 paper
8.5x 11 or so black paper
Oil pastels separated into neutrals
Tempera cakes
Pencils, sharpies brushes
3DO’s and glue

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

Set: TTW show an example of completed Picasso portraits. TTW explain that Picasso was inspired by African masks and show examples of African masks so that students can explain if they see the connection. Why? Why not?

Activities: TTW explain that we are going to take inspiration from West African culture for our next project. We are going to be reading a book that tells a West African folk tale or myth. While we are reading the story we are going to look at the illustrations to see if we can figure out what makes the style of pictures unique, just like we picked the similarities in all of those Picasso portraits. We are going to be paying close attention to the shapes the illustrator uses so that we can use the same types of shapes in our project.
TTW read the story- TTW ask discussion questions at the end. What do you think this story is supposed to teach us/what is the moral of the story? Zomo was clever but how is being clever different from being wise? Would Zomo have been better off being patient to gain wisdom? Is it sometimes better to be clever rather than big or strong? Etc.
TTW also review the types of shapes that we found in the book ( geometric) and show an example of the project that we will be starting the following week.
Day 2: review what culture are we gaining inspiration from?
What shapes do we normally find in West African Culture?
TTW explain that today we will be making the background for our mask by making a border with simple lines and geometric shapes. TTW demo starting with corner squares- TSW add a geometric shape of choice in square.
TCW then connect the squares with zig zag or wavey lines- this will create the border of the page. It needs to be big enough to almost fill the page. The leftover shape in the center is where the mask will go. TCW outline in sharpie and fill in each shape with bright colored tempera. No neutral colors ( remind them which are neutral- we learned about neutral colors during our Jim Dine hearts last year)
Day 3: review- what culture are we gaining inspiration from?
Pass out paper and instruct students to use chalk to draw an oval or egg shape that fills the page. This will be our mask.
TTW then demo how to break the map into shapes.

TTW explain that we will be using oil pastels to blend neutral colors. Remind students that neutral colors are the colors like brown black gray white etc and that oil pastels are a little messy- we don’t need to get them on our clothes so roll up sleeves etc.
TTW demo how to fill each shape with neutral colors so that they go from dark to light. Add black on one side, blend one of the browns over it, then add white on top of the brown at the opposite side of the black. Repeat this in every shape with different colors of brown tan gray gold but always with black first and white last on opposite side.
Day 4:
Complete shading and use 3D O’s and glue to attach mask in the center of the background.
Review story, neutral colors geometric shapes at the end of class.

TSW identify the moral in the story of Zomo: a West African Trickster Tale.
TCW discuss the lessons they learned and what lesson the scky god was meaning to teach Zomo day one after the book is read aloud by teacher.
TSW identify the shapes in West African design.
TCW answer questions and point out examples on the board when asked which shapes they found in the book illustrations- TCW give examples of geometric shape
TSW apply West African design to a background and mask.
TCW use geometric shapes and bright colors to create a background for an African mask. TCW create an African mask that is divided into simple geometric shapes and neutral colors (like wooden masks in presentation)


Visual Arts Standard 1:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

[K-4] Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories
[K-4] Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner

Visual Arts Standard 4:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

[K-4] Students know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationships to various cultures
[K-4] Students identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places

Visual Arts Standard 5:
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

[K-4] Students describe how people's experiences influence the development of specific artworks

Visual Arts Standard 6:
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

[K-4] Students understand and use similarities and differences between characteristics of the visual arts and other arts disciplines

Pablo Picasso

African Art, Cubism

Color/Value, Shape

Tempera, Pastel

English/Language Arts, Multicultural Studies