Monday, January 31, 2011

Wampum finale!


I promised to explain how we finish the wampum belts. Ugh. Perhaps I should mention: it REALLY helps if kids know how to tie knots! (Evidently they don't. And if I'd looked at their shoelaces and realize they can barely tie bows, I shouldn't have gotten my expectations so high.)
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Anyhow, I've been so busy helping tie knots that I never got any photos of the process. But I'll explain it as easily as I can. We cut the warp string that goes across the back of the loom, right across the middle, to take the weaving off the loon. Then we use square knots to tie these strings together in pairs, close to the last row of beads on each end. Then we gather the strings together on each end and tie them together in an overhand knot. The kids in the photos are holding them up at this knot. OH! You have to make SURE they remember to tie off the weft string at the end of the weaving. One boy didn't do this, and brought his weaving back to me with beads plopping out everywhere. Of course I had to fix it. Argghh...
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Anyhoo - when this is all done, to make them into headbands or belts or whatever, I showed the kids how to put 3 or 4 (long) strings on their needle and pull them through the last row of beads. Knot them together and do the same on the other end of the weaving. These long strings can then be tied together around the head or waist or whatever.
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I'm sure there's probably better ways to do this, but frankly the kids are so excited to stick them around their heads and necks that I devised this way as the quickest solution. If you have any better ideas/solutions that you discover when you try this project please let me know. And if you have any secrets to teaching the kids to tie viable knots, well, I'd REALLY like to know them.
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SO, as the kids are finishing their weavings, some of the fastest workers asked "can I make another one?". Here's what I answered: "Yes, but YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. I will NOT UNTANGLE you. I will NOT TIE ON MORE STRING if you run out. I will NOT TIE A SINGLE KNOT for you. I WILL provide the beads, the looms, and the string, and beyond that you are ON YOUR OWN.
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I'll let you all know how they do!

7 comments:

  1. Bravo for endurance and patience (as well as the super results)! Remember life before Velcro?? My theory is that kids used to know how to tie bows and untie knots because they had to navigate their own shoes without velcro!!

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  2. Whaha! Reading all this with a big smile on my face. Kids that can't tie a knot, it is so recognizable. I'm often wondering about the many simple things kids can not anymore. How come? To much screentime in a day?

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  3. I am ordering beads right now! I loved them when you posted at first… and ADORE them now! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I LOVE IT!!! It's so nice to know that as a teacher- you are not alone. I read that bottom part and could hear those words coming out of my mouth!
    One thing that I miss out on teaching only a few elementary and all high school is the cross-curricular fun projects that I "could" be doing. I would love to do more of it at the high school level, but so few of the kids take all the same classes. I helped a bit last year with a co-taught Medieval Fair put on by 10 grade English/History classes, but then I become a supply closet (uggh!)

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  5. Thank you so much for posting this project! My 10 year old had a great time making one with paper beads.

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  7. Here is the link to Dr. Takeshi Yamada's wampum art website page for you and your students. The culture, and art of wampum with 4,000 years of history. http://takeshiyamada.weebly.com/wampum-jewelries--artworks.html

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