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All lesson plans © Debi West, Ed.S, NBCT
January 2008

Kindergarten: Egyptian Headdresses
and Cartouches



• 9" x 12" Bristol board
• Permanent pens
• Oil pastels
• Watercolor paint
• Brushes
• Scissors
• Egyptian headdress handout (create from research)
• Plastic jewels
• Raffia

• Clay (size of a small tennis ball)
• Clay tools
• Watercolor paint
• Brushes
• Oil pastel
• Egyptian hieroglyph sheet (create from research)
• Pencils
• Raffia

Learning Objectives
Kindergarten students will ...
• learn about the continent of Africa, specifically the country of Egypt.
• learn about this unique and ancient culture, creating both Egyptian-inspired headdresses and cartouches.
• talk about a few of the elements of art, color, shape, line and texture.
• learn about cool and warm colors.

1. Students see examples of Egyptian headdresses and Egyptian cartouches.
2. Students learn about how the Ancient Egyptians were the first to create a written language using shapes and symbols to create words.
3. Students think about various shapes and lines as they create their own version of a headdress. The teacher models this, showing the students how to use the entire piece of paper to create a headdress to go over the face.
4. Students outline their headdresses with permanent pens and then add hieroglyphs, either spelling out their names, which is difficult for this age group, or finding shapes that interest them.
5. Students cut around their lines and the teacher helps them cut out their eyeholes.
6. Students go over their black lines using either a warm or cool palette of oil pastels.
7. Students do a watercolor wash over their entire headdress using a cool color palette to create the feel of an Ancient Egyptian headdress.
8. Once dry, students add sequins or plastic jewels to their work.
9. Students mat their work and hang it in the African Art installation!

At the end of this lesson, students have the opportunity to create a quick one-day clay cartouche. This is a great first lesson in clay as students learn to wedge the clay and form the shape of a simple cartouche using their hands as their tools. They then use their pencils to etch in several hieroglyph symbols and add a hole to the top so they are able to wear these once fired. Upon firing the greenware, students paint them using watercolors and add a touch of rubbed oil pastel, creating an aged effect. Tie with a piece of raffia and enjoy!


Grade 1: Moroccan Bean Masks


• 9" x 12" black Bristol board
• 9" x 12" white copier paper
• Scissors
• Pencils
• Feathers
• Assortment of beans
• Glue
• Visuals of bean masks
• Raffia

Learning Objectives
First-grade students will ...
• learn about the art of the Moroccan Africans, specifically their bean masks.
• learn about form, shape and symmetry.

1. Students see examples of actual bean masks and draw a few thumbnails of their own on white paper.
2. Students draw a picture of a mask on black paper, making sure to create eyeholes and facial features.
3. Students cut out their mask and the teacher helps them cut out the eyeholes.
4. Students begin to lay their beans out on paper, using symmetry to guide them.
5. Once checked by the teacher, students glue down their beans using a lot of glue, as opposed to the dot of glue they are accustomed to.
6. This process takes about three class periods. Once the masks are dry, students can add feathers and raffia symmetrically to embellish their art.
7. The masks are matted and exhibited in the African art installation.


Grade 2: Ndebele-Inspired Clay Bowls


• Burlap squares
• Clay
• Clay tools
• Watercolor
• Brushes
• Oil pastels
• Raffia
• Ndebele art visuals and artifacts

Learning Objectives
Second-grade students will ...
• learn about the continent of Africa, specifically the country of South Africa where the Ndebele tribe resides.
• be inspired by the clay artwork they create.
• become socially aware of the art of sculpture.

1. Students see examples of different types Ndebele artworks, specifically their clay work.
2. Students are given a piece of clay and taught how to wedge the clay on their burlap.
3. Students form a simple pinch pot out of the clay, using their hands as tools.
4. Students add patterns and designs into their clay bowls using an assortment of clay tools. They also add one or two holes to tie on some raffia for added embellishment and texture.
5. Students add their initials to the bottom of the pot.
6. As pots are drying, students draw a large pot onto a piece of drawing paper, coloring with oil pastel and watercolor wash. This drawing should mirror the clay pot they sculpted.
7. Once fired, students paint their pots using a watercolor wash and then rubbing oil pastel on top.
8. Students then add feather and raffia to their piece for embellishment.
9. Students exhibit these on a table with their drawing in the African art exhibit.

At the end of this lesson, students write a story about their sculpture, specifically where it was made in “South Africa” and who has used it in the past!

Grade 3: Zulu-Inspired Batik Shields and Masks

• 9" x 12" brown construction paper
• Scissors
• Oil pastels
• Black tempera paint
• Brushes
• Water vat
• Paper towels
• Hole punch
• Raffia, beads and feathers
• Zulu art images and artifacts

Learning Objectives
Third-grade students will ...
• learn about the continent Africa, specifically the country of South Africa and the Zulu tribe.
• learn about the art of making weapons and shields, pieces of sacred artworks.
• learn about the art of batik, and use the elements of art such as line, shape, color and form.

1. Students learn about the art of the Zulu tribe in South Africa.
2. Students look at several types of authentic fabric and paper batik art.
3. Students draw a shape onto their construction paper creating either a mask or a shield. Surprisingly, 90 percent of my students chose to draw a shield!
4. Students fill in their art using brightly colored oil pastels, pressing down hard so as to not see any paper through the coloring.
5. Students watch the teacher model how to crumble up the art and then un-crumble it and paint black tempera over the oil pastel, completely covering the piece.
6. Once the students have done this, they then put the paper into the water vat, where they quickly wash the black paint away or the paper will tear. I had them use paper towels to wipe their art down.
7. Students waited for these to dry and matted them. They hole-punched their masks/shields in several symmetrical places and added feathers, raffia and beads.
8. Students then hung their art in the African Art installation.

Students were so excited with this project, from the making of a shield to the batik process! A great extension I did with my art club was use fabric, glue and watered-down acrylic to make a true batik. Students drew masks lightly onto the white muslin fabric and then went around their lines using white glue. Once dry, they painted in their negative spaces with watered-down acrylic paint. These were then put into a warm water bath where the glue washes away, thus creating a simple batik. These can then be sewn into pillows, quilts or simple wall hangings ... WOW!

Grade 4: Ndebele Hand Print Art
Lesson plan is featured in the January 2008 issue of
Arts & Activities magazine.

Click here to download a PDF copy of this project.
(This article will download to your computer as a PDF file)
Click Here To Download A Reproducible “Line Family”
Reference Sheet.

(This article will download to your computer as a PDF file)
Grade 5: Kalahari Safari Collaborative Painting and Collages
• 18" x 20" white drawing paper
• 20" x 24" large construction paper
• 18" x 20" black construction paper
• Brushes
• Watercolors
• Scissors
• Glue
• Safari images
• Salt
• Burlap
• Pencils

Learning Objectives
Fifth-grade students will ...
• learn about the continent of Africa, specifically the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa.
• work together to create a unified piece of artwork.
•create a silhouette of a desert scene, thinking about the outline of animals, trees, etc.
• learn about watercolor techniques.

1. Students learn about the Kalahari Desert and see photographs of silhouette-themed desert images.
2. Students learn to work together as a table group, using various animal images and desert images.
3. Students first watercolor their background paper using various watercolor techniques, such as wet on wet, wet on dry, salt, burlap printing, etc.
4. Once complete, students begin to lay out their black paper, working together to sketch a silhouette drawing of various animals, trees and bushes to create a desert image in black.
5. This is cut out carefully and the teacher cuts very small areas with an X-ACTO® knife.
6. Students then glue this down to the watercolored background, creating a most amazing silhouette painting using collage as the medium.
7. These images become part of the African art installation and make a powerful statement as to the beauty of the land.


Students write poetry based on their collaborative pieces as this correlates with their language arts classroom unit on poetry. To have students write about their art only enhances the final product of both art and poem!



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