Kente Cloth

Kente Cloth lesson plan

Instead of weaving over and under, draw it with Crayola® Washable Markers! Bold and colorful textile patterns from Ghana look almost real with this amazing marker technology.

  • 1.

    During a unit of study of African countries, invite students to research the country of Ghana. Organize a variety of text and electronic resources for students to view during this investigation. Students may work in small groups during this activity and may select a specific aspect of the country to learn about. When research is complete, students groups organize their learning into a presentation format in preparation for sharing with classmates.

  • 2.

    To accompany presentations, students in each group will create an original Kente cloth. The Kente cloth, traditionally made by the people of Ghana, is both beautiful and meaningful. It is made by weaving long strips that contain symbolic patterns. There is a pattern to illustrate joy, a pattern for royalty, a pattern for newborn babies—nearly every important event in a person’s life can be expressed in Kente cloth patterns. When several strips of fabric are woven, they are cut into even lengths, and then stitched together to create wide sheets of cloth. The fabric is used to create flowing garments.

  • 3.

    To create their own replica Kente cloth drawings, students begin by using Crayola Scissors to cut several long, narrow strips of paper.

  • 4.

    Use Crayola Washable Markers to color each strip a different color. Students select a different color marker and create repeated patterns to their strips. Encourage children to vary the colors and patterns used on each strip. Duplicate authentic patterns or create personal symbols.

  • 5.

    Cut the long strips into several shorter sections. Tape them together on the back. Use a third color of Washable Markers to create "stitches" that visually connect the strips to each other on the front of the drawings.

  • 6.

    Allow time for students groups to present their learning about Ghana to classmates. While doing so, students that are presenting will post their Kente cloths as background to their presentations.

Standards

  • LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of grade level text's complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • LA: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.
  • SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of culture.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.
  • VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.
  • VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: The Spider Weaver: A Legend Of Kente Cloth by Margaret Musgrove; Ghana by Lyn Larson; Kente Colors by Debbi Chocolate
  • Students brainstorm with classmates symbols of the most significant events that have occurred to-date in their lives. Each student creates cloth strips that illustrate these symbols. Students create original poems to accompany their Kente cloths and explain the meaning of their artwork.
  • Students investigate other cultures in which weaving is central to the heritage of their people. What raw materials are used for the fabric? Why dyes are used? What similarities can you identify in traditional designs?