Tuesday, November 8, 2011

3rd Grade Day of the Dead Calaveras

 Third graders just finished a project about Day of the Dead. I'm trying to have at least a couple of new projects per grade level this year and this is one of those new projects. I've got to say that I was really pleased with how this one turned out. 

We started out by discussing the Mexican celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Students compared and contrasted it with our holiday of Halloween. There are some similarities, but Day of the Dead is much more involved. Essentially, it involves honoring, celebrating, and remembering friends and family members who have died. 

The calavera (skull) is one of the major symbols of Day of the Dead. Each third grade student drew a large calavera that included many patterns inside. They worked to make their drawings symmetrical as well. I hate to use markers, so these were colored with colored pencils. The kids were so impressed with how bright they could color with the pencils when they pressed down a little harder than usual. They then cut out the skulls and glued them on a piece of construction paper with a simple "frame" made of strips of paper. We kept the background simple in order to make the skull stand out as the star of the work.

In addition to the usual lesson plan link below, I'm putting up the artist statement I have the students complete after they finish their work. They just tape it on the back of their art and I use it to more accurately assess their knowledge. 

Download the lesson plan!!!

Download the artist statement I use for grading this project!


Claychik said...

Hey these are great. I do these with my 4th and 5th graders. I will try these with my 3rd graders next year. I also do plaster skull casts in flexible ice cube tray molds and buy a few more every year when they go on sale after Halloween. We paint them and the kids love it and they get really involved in the history of Day of the Dead. We don't have a lot of materials to use, so this is as close to sugar skulls as we can get.

Zachary Sigler said...

This is a fantastic activity for third graders. I do this on the day of the Halloween parade and party, to compare and contrast world cultures.

Zachary Sigler said...

This is a fantastic activity. I do this with my third graders on the day of the Halloween parade and party to compare and contrast world cultures.

Thanks for sharing.