From the Teacher
I can't thank you enough for supporting our Native American weaving and ceramics projects. Our classroom budgets were frozen recently due to state financial problems resulting in budget cuts to education, so your generous donation was essential for me to be able to do these lessons with my students.
Your donation of yarn and glaze made a big impact in my classroom. Learning about Native American art and viewing photos is interesting, but actually working in clay and creating a weaving of their own taught my students so much more about the process. It gave them a real appreciation of how Native Americans created pottery and the processes involved. We looked at photos of Pueblo potter Maria Martinez's pottery, including photos of her at work, and the students learned that she brought back the black on black pottery her ancestors had created. They had a much greater appreciation of her work when they could create their own pot and see what was involved first hand. Second graders learned the process of making a pinch pot. Third graders used the slab method to create a bowl or platter. They textured the pieces to create pattern or a symmetrical design. This brought in things they had been learning about in math. They learned ceramics vocabulary words. Students were fascinated with seeing how their pots changed with firing. Glazing the pieces was another popular activity, and again, students were fascinated by how the glaze changed with firing.
The weaving project was very popular with students, too. They picked up terms like loom, warp, weft and rya knots and learned about the whole weaving process. After students started their weavings, I showed a PowerPoint with photos of Navajo weavings, including photos of Native Americans working at their looms. When students saw how large the rugs were and noticed the intricate designs, they had a real appreciation of the work involved, because they had been working so hard on their own weavings. A hands-on experience is so much richer and has so much more relevance for the students. You made that hands-on experience happen.
The students absolutely loved both the ceramics and the weaving projects. I heard students say that the slab bowl or pinch pot or weaving was their favorite project of the last several years. As they came in the art room students cheered when they saw the clay and glaze. I also heard, "I can hardly wait to get back to work on my weaving." Students loved the variety of yarn and glaze colors I was able to offer thanks to your generosity. Thank you so much for your generous donation. My students and I really appreciate it.
From the Students