Weaving and Community at New Sullivan Elementary

 In Curriculum Examples

Early in the COVID-19 school shutdowns, one second grade class at New Sullivan Elementary made the shift from in-person to online learning, while continuing to explore weaving and community- specifically how weaving could be used to share students’ own experience with the community around them- in the classroom and at their own homes during the shutdown. Teacher Leticia Pineda and CAPE Teaching Artist Shenequa Brooks, and their second grade students began their project with a big idea:

The process of weaving can be a tool for students to share their personal experiences.

Like all CAPE teaching teams, Leticia and Shenequa considered the needs and interests of their students and themselves, and they arrived at a single inquiry question to guide their planning and work together:

How can the history and craft of weaving visually communicate students’ personal experiences to the community around them?

To introduce students to different types of woven cloth, weaving vocabulary, and Ghanaian culture, Shenequa began the project by describing her own art practice and sharing sample weavings she created in Ghana.

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From there, the students began exploring shape, color, line, and patterns by sketching and then weaving paper and, finally, fabric.

Though the school shutdowns in March interfered with bigger plans for this project, including student-led curation of a final exhibition, the students were able to continue experimenting with patterns, sketching, and weaving at home and to discuss their work with their peers, teacher, and teaching artist.

This is one of many CAPE projects that continued throughout the closure of school buildings in Spring 2020. This school year, though classes remain entirely online, we have sustained and even expanded our program offerings for in-school and after-school classrooms. Continue exploring our blog to discover other projects that are pushing ahead safely.

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