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Arts & Activities - Page 18

can hear you all thinking, “What, another Day of the Dead project?” But, since many of us present Day-of-the-Dead projects to every grade level, one can never have too many choices. This is absolutely one of my favorite lessons. It’s easy enough for almost any grade level—I do it with my second-graders—yet can be detailed enough to keep eighth-graders interested. It uses a limited number of easy-to-acquire supplies, which is great for tight budgets. It can also be easily broken down into manageable steps for shorter classes, and takes less than two hours to finish, which is important, as the Day of the Dead comes so early in the school year. The following procedures are based on a 30-minute class period. DAY 1 Introduce or review the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), focusing on the use of calacas (whimsical skeletons) to remember the deceased in a fun and loving way. Give each student a skeleton handout. While cutting out all of their skeleton’s parts, students should be thinking about an action pose for their calacas, such as riding a bicycle, bending, reaching, dancing, playing a musical instrument and more. The skeleton parts are then glued into place to create their poses. It helps to have a large jointed skeleton available to show students how the bones fit together and how they will bend; paper skeletons work fine in this respect. I also read Dem Bones by Bob Barner, which helps reinforce bone placement. It usually takes my students about 30 minutes to completely cut out and glue their skeletons together. The skeletons are placed on the drying rack for later use. To download additional day of the dead–related articles that have appeared in Arts & Activities, go to and click on this button. 18 I > Andrew, grade 2. Lilly, grade 2. > • • • • • • • • • • lEaRNINg OBJECTIVES Elementary students will . understand the relationship of calacas to the day of the dead. create an environment by cutting a variety of lines from paper strips. cut out skeleton parts and assemble them into an action pose. depict a skeleton in a whimsical, not scary, manner. create clothing and accessories for skeletons from construction paper. use scissors and glue with control. MaTERIalS handout of skeleton parts 12" x 18" construction paper 3" x 12" construction paper strips in a variety of colors Construction paper scraps • • • Scissors Pencils Dem Bones, by Bob Barner (Chronicle Books; 1996) DAY 2 Create a background by cutting a variety of lines from 3" x 12" colored strips. Glue the lines on the paper from the top down, overlapping slightly. Other objects can be cut from scrap construction paper to make more complex environments that include buildings, trees, flowers, cars and clouds. These can be tucked into the strips. DAY 3 Dress the skeletons and create appropriate acces- sories. Show students how to lay their skeletons on top of construction paper scraps and trace around them, tracoctober 2012 • 80 YEARS x

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