Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A new batch of Wampum Belts!


It's annual wampum belt time, and my 4th graders have been absolutely SAILING through this project. I posted last year with some specific instructions here.

This year we took a little time practicing knot tying before we began, and it definitely helped. Everyone has been weaving successfully this year; my only real challenges are the chronic absentees (parents, WHY do you need to take your kids on vacation just before or after a school vacation?) and my boy with CP. Last year I was challenged by how to get him through the papier-mache project. He's got very little use of his right hand, and is blind in one eye, and is all boy. He doesn't like to have special accommodations, but he is getting tangled on every row and I'm the only one who seems to be able to untangle him. His buddies are too busy on their own weavings to stop and help. I wish I could come up with a way to make it easier for him.

Here's some work-in-progress. The drawing on graph paper is the 1st step.


Everyone wants to tie them on their heads, but for some reason this is the only photo of the kids wearing them that isn't inserting sideways. The final photo is an extra belt made by my fastest worker. Most kids are finishing their first effort, but she already has 2 complete!

!

20 comments:

  1. As much as I LOVE looking at these types of projects, I know I would never attempt it because of my "instructionphobia". If something has more than three steps, in writing, my brain says,"Whoa!", entering danger zone! That's why I can't crochet, knit or God forbid, Origami!(It's my Kryptonite......)Anywho, Phyl, they are fabulous and I commend you for being so adventurous!

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  2. Pat, I can't do origami either (I think they purposely leave steps out of the instructions), and I don't crochet. And any knitting is a scarf. A real simple scarf. But I gotta tell ya, this weaving process is, as the kids say, 'Easy-Peasy, lemon squeezy'. EVERYBODY "got" it and there are very few 'oopsies'. My "ask 3 before you ask me" rule definitely helps, because some kids catch on really quickly and love to help others.

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  3. Wow! I am in awe. I saw the belts demoed at my state conference a few years back, but never attempted. Thanks for a super-detailed set of postings.

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  4. I always thought this project would be way too hard for me to attempt with the kids but this years group is really trying so hard! I think my fifth graders would enjoy it. The are well behaved and engaged and even the ones who don't speak the language get translations from other students and are make some spectacular work. I do love this job! Especially after a good nights rest.

    I like having other kids help others too. When it comes to this technical stuff, I think it's great. I used to be worried that it wouldn't be their own work but now I think as long as the design is their's we need all the help we can get!

    Another great Wampum belt post Phyl:)

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  5. @ Rina - I first saw this project at my state conference I think 3 or 4 years ago, at a wonderful workshop by a young teacher. I practically assaulted her in the elevator after the workshop for some detailed specifics!

    @ Erica - I have very few non-English students, but I have had wonderful experiences with 2 new students who didn't know a word of English and weaving projects. One was a boy from Denmark and we were doing a straw-weaving, and the other was a newly adopted girl from China on her first day of American school when we were starting the wampums. In both situations, they watched demos intently, and followed without needing the words at all. Both were marvelously successful at weaving!!!

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  6. Thanks for this lesson...I simplified it for my second graders because I didn't think that they would be capable to weave...check it out on my blog!

    http://wesbmsart.blogspot.com/2012/02/grade-2-wampum-belts.html

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  7. Phyl, woud you happen to have that awesome worksheet/handout of the graph available? I am starting these soon with my 4th graders! Love your site :)

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    1. Amanda, so sorry, but I do not have the worksheet - I left them all with my replacement when I retired a year ago, and she was wonderfully successful with the wampum belt lesson in her first year in my old job! I can ask her for a copy (she's a friend) and scan to send to you, but I don't know how quickly that can happen. She's a hard-to-reach gal.

      Or, simply, do as I did: I made the handout by cutting and pasting the graph cut from a sheet of 1/4" graph paper (in other words, the graph on the handouts used 4 squares to an inch) onto a sheet of plain white copy paper. The graph for the wampum belt was 5 squares high by 30 squares wide. Some kids added or subtracted one row so they could have a single central row. I believe the handout had 3 or 4 of the graphs on it, so kids could try out various design ideas before settling on their choice. Many kids used more than one sheet before deciding! Also, listed on the top of the sheet was a list of available color beads. I know traditional wampum belts are not so colorful, but the kids had fun using all the colors.

      I hope this helps - let me know if I can help any further!

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    2. My graph is now posted in the Documents Weblinks tab at the top of the blog.

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    3. I can't seem to find all of the directions for this project and I am obsessed! Please share!!!

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    4. Michelle, The instructions can be found in a series of posts on this blog. I'll give you all the links here:

      Part 1- http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2011/01/wampum-weaving-how-to-do-it.html

      The planning graph- http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2016/02/as-per-your-requests-wampum-weaving.html

      Part 2- http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2011/01/so-many-questions-wampum-belts-part-2.html

      Part 3 (finishing)- http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2011/01/wampum-finale.html

      There are other posts about the wampum belts as well. You can search "wampum belts" in the search bar on the right of the blog, or you can search for "wampum belts" in the "cloud" of labels on the bottom of the blog.

      I hope you stop back and read this comment - I didn't know how to contact you otherwise.

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  8. I made one by looking at yours in the photos! Thanks for the quick response. If anyone needs it, I'd be happy to e-mail it out. :)

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    1. Thanks, Amanda! good luck with the belts. Make sure you try it out first so you know where the kids might be challenged! It's easy once you get the hang of it.

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    2. I would love a copy! Going to try this with my 4th graders.
      ksnyder@cdaschools.org

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    3. Katie, sorry but I do not seem to have the handout. It's real easy to make though!

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  9. Bonjour Phyl,
    Thanks a lot for all your invaluable instructions on the Wampum belts. I'm starting them this week with my grade 6 class.

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    1. Bonjour! Let me know how it goes!

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  10. I love you website/blog!
    I have two question:
    Is it hard to make a wampum belt?
    How many days/weeks does it take to make it?

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    1. OOH for some reason I didn't see your questions until just now. It is not hard, once you learn the process. The kids do really well with it if you are clear with your instructions and patient with repeating when necessary. The amount of time it takes varies greatly from kid to kid. Since I am now retired, it is hard for me to answer this question. But I can tell you that some kids sailed through it, and others plodded along. The hardest part is making sure that everyone can tie their own knots to finish the belts!

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