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Africa is a land of beauty. This beauty is the heartbeat of Africa. It can be witnessed in its landscape, wildlife and jungles. It is evident that Africans also appreciate the beautiful. This beauty can be seen in the sun-baked homes on their angular streets to the intricately woven baskets. The rich fabrics of cotton and silk, the detailed designed of the kente cloths, and the embroidered hats and tie-dyed dresses all give witness to the beauty and grace of the African experience. ____The people enjoy the artistic expressions of Africa. Traditional art is used to reflect the ways of the community. Skilled artisans create beautiful objects that help the community to practice its rituals and religions. The history, philosophy, and traditions of the community are communicated from one generation to the next through oral history and its art. ____The kingdoms of Africa were once rich in natural resources and material goods. The Kings and Queens, who ruled the kingdoms of Africa, traded merchandise of gold, salt, iron, ivory, and other substances with people from the Arab world. These powerful kingdoms had highly developed civilizations. They created great works of art, developed a form of writing called hieroglyphics, and built wonderful buildings. Africa had universities and libraries long before their European counterparts. African standards were used to define beauty and the kingdoms prospered. ____The following lesson is designed to assess the children's background knowledge of Africa and gain insight into their initial feelings about the land and its people.
Lesson Plan #1
- • To assess the children's background knowledge of Africa
- • To provide information about Africa and its people
- • Book, Afro-Bets First Book About Africa by Veronica Freeman Ellis
- • Chart Paper
- • Markers and Crayons
- • Due to the large amount of information contained in this book, I will present this book in parts over several days.
- • Make a KWL chart by dividing a large sheet of chart paper into three columns. Label the first column, What I Know, the second column W(What I Want to Find Out, and the third column, What I Learned.
- • Assess the children's background knowledge of Africa and list this in the first column, What I Know.
- • Establish a purpose for reading by asking the children what they would like to learn about Africa. Record these questions in the second column under the caption, What I Want to Learn.
- • Read and discuss the book, Afro-Bets First Book about Africa with the children. Record what the children have learned in the final column.
- • Post the chart in a visible area for future use.
- • To describe the Bible Quilt using parts of speech
- • To speculate what might be happening in the quilt
- • Picture of Mrs. Harriet Power's Bible Quilt
- • Paper
- • Marker
- • Copy of worksheet below
- • Divide the class into small groups of 4 or 5 students
- • Provide each group with a picture of Harriet's quilt
- • Ask the children to choose a square from quilt to analyze.
- • Have the group complete the worksheet above and be prepared to share their answers with the class.
- • To examine a young slave girl's plan to map the route to freedom via the Underground Railroad on a quilt as a guide for herself and other slaves.
- • To develop a symbolic map
- • To increase vocabulary
- • To decode hidden messages
- • Storybook: Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
- • Construction Paper
- • Scissors
- • Glue
- • Chart Paper
- • Markers and/or crayons
- • Make a KWL chart by divining a large sheet of chart paper into three columns. Label The first column K(what I know), the second column W (what I want to find out) and the third column L (what I learned)
- • Assess the children's prior knowledge about the Underground Railroad and record it in the first column. Accept all responses as valid.
- • Record in the second column, what the children hope to learn by studying this topic.
- • Read and discuss the story, Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt with the children.
- • As the children learn new information, add this to the KWL chart under the appropriate column. Post the chart in a visible area for future use.
- • To make a coded map
- • Large sheet of construction paper 18"x 24"
- • Crayons/markers
- • Various art materials: scraps of fabric, paper, etc.
- • Glue
Preparation for the Lesson
- • Send a letter home with the children informing the parents that their child will be making a coded map of their neighborhood
- • Explain that the only acceptable place for words is in the map key. The remainder of the map is to be done in symbols. Those symbols are to be identified in the map key.
- • Have the children complete the following survey prior to beginning the map. Keep this for future use.
- • Have the parent choose a starting point at least three to four blocks from the child's street and help the child complete the following survey listing those items to be used on the map. The items listed should be constants (things that happen on a daily basis).
- • To share a story about an important cloth item
- • To tell a story
- • Pieces of fabric (brought in by the children)
- • Cutout of human form
- • Glue
- • Read the story, The Patchwork Quilt by Tony Johnson to the children
- • Allow the children to bring in pieces of fabric from home
- • Have the students share the real story/stories behind the fabric pieces
- • Provide the students with a cutout of the human form
- • Children can glue the fabric pieces to the form thus creating their own story quilt.
- • To analyze a story quilt using the elements of storytelling
Picture of the quilt, Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
- • Divide the class into small groups of 4/5 students
- • Provide each group with a copy of the quilt: #4 The Sunflowers Quilting Bee at Arles
- • Allow the children time to view and discuss the quilt in their groups
- • Have the group complete the following worksheet.
- • To share the life of an African-American child growing up an urban environment
- • To compare the tar beach to an real beach setting using the Venn diagram
- • To tell their story through a quilt
- • Book: Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
- • Large sheet of chart paper
- • Markers
- • Show the children the cover of the book
- • Allow the children make predictions about the story
- • Record those predictions next to the child's name
- • Read the story
- • Using the Venn diagram compare the tar beach of the child in the story to a real beach setting
- • Allow the children to show their picture and to share their story with the class.
- • Mount the picture on construction paper leaving enough borders for the children to write their story on.
- • Tape the story squares together to create a class quilt.
- • Allow the children to name the quilt.
BenBerry, Cuesta, Always There: The African-American Presence in American Quilts. The Kentucky Quilt Project, 1992. This book gives a profile of the African American quilt making in America.
Britton, Crystal A., African-American Art. New York, 1996. The essence of African American and the Black aesthetics are reflected in this broad selection of African American artists.
Editors of Time Life Books, African-American Voices of Triumph. Virginia; Time Life Books, 1994. This book tells of the many diverse contributions made by African-Americans on American culture.
Felder, Cain Hope, Stony the Road We Trod. African-American Biblical Interpretation, Minnesota; Fortress Press, 1976. This book presents a Biblical account of Black people.
McElroy, Guy C., Facing History: The Black Image in American Art 1710-1940. Bedford Arts, 1990. This book provides a comprehensive study of how American artists portrayed African-Americans from the colonial period to the middle of the twentieth century.
Piersen, William D., Black Legacy: America's Hidden Heritage. U.S.A., University of Massachusetts Press, 1993. This powerful book explores the unacknowledged influence of African traditions on American life.
Tobin, Jacqueline L., Hidden in Plain View. New York; Doubleday, 1999. This book tells Ozella McDaniel Williams' family story of African textile steeped in coded messages that provided a link between the Underground Railroad and slave-made quilts.
Adams, Marie Jeanne. The Harriet Powers Pictorial Quilts. Mississippi; Afro-American Folk Arts and Crafts, University Press, 1981. This book tells the story of Harriet Powers, an African-American slave and quilt maker and discusses her masterpiece, Bible Quilt.
Ellis, Veronica Freeman, Afro-Bets First Book About Africa. New Jersey; Just Us Books, 1989. This book tells the exciting story about Africa and its beauty.
Flournoy, Valerie, The Patchwork Quilt. New York; Dial Books for Young Readers. This book shows how quilts are used to preserve precious memories of a family's past.
Greenwood, Barbara, The Last Safe House: A Story of The Underground Railroad, New York; Scholastic; 1998. This book tells about the plight of an African-American family from slavery to freedom along the Underground Railroad.
Hopkinson, Deborah, Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. New York; Alfred A. Knopf, inc. 1993. This book tells how a slave girl hid the route to the Underground Railroad on the squares of her quilt.
Rappaport, Doreen, Freedom River. New York; Hyperion Books, 2000. This book tells the story of John Parker and how he helped an African-American family escape to freedom along the Underground Railroad.
Ringgold, Faith, Tar Beach. New York; Random House Co., 1992. This book tells about Faith life growing up in Harlem and of the family times spent on the cooling off on the roof of their apartment building.
Ringgold, Faith, The Invisible Princess. New York; Random House Co., 1999. This story tells of an African-American Princess who longs for a world of peace and love.
Ringgold, Faith, Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky. Crown Publishers, 1992. This book tells the story of the African-Americans long journey from slavery to freedom.
Turner, Robyn Montana, Faith Ringgold. New York Little, Brown & Company, 1993. This book celebrates the life and accomplishments of the African-American artist, Faith Ringgold.
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