"For the first 15 years of his life, Amos Fortune was At-mun, prince of a tribe of Africans. It was his belief that, as a future king, he was born to serve his people. But At-mun’s life is turned upside down when he and many of his people are captured and brought to the United States to be sold as slaves." This is how my lesson began.
While reading the book Amos Fortune Free Man by Elizabeth Yates, I thought we would tie in an art project. Since the opening chapters of the book take place in Africa, masks seemed to fit the bill. There are of course hundreds of ways one could make masks with everything from plaster to paper mach ace, but I didn't want the process to be too complicated and certainly not too messy. Especially when I am starting a new year and working with new students who I don't quite know their level of ability nor their interest and commitment to a project. With this project we stayed with the basics: paper, glue, crayons, and markers.
To start the project I provided each student a mask color page I made from one I found in a Google search. There are many styles but for this project I choose just one masks for all the students. I instructed them to choose five crayon colors and three marker colors they thought went together. They could only use the eight for coloring.
I find asking the students to use limited colors encourages them to think about the patterning and placement of colors. The students actually did a very nice job!
Now to add to the simple color page coloring, students were next asked to cut the mask out and plan for using construction paper complimentary to their colors to add to the mask around it after attaching the mask to construction paper. I wanted the masks to have a more 3-D effect, so they were asked to attach the mask allowing it to stand slightly off the paper.
The masks were really only glued down on the left and right sides, not at the top or bottom. Construction paper was slipped under these areas and glued down. In the end, the masks created a wonderful display in the hall and added nicely to our reading of the book.