Feathery Faces

Feathery Faces lesson plan

Join in the fun of Mardi Gras! Have a ball making these elaborate, decorative masks. Display them for Halloween and other occasions, too.

  • 1.

    Mardi Gras began many hundreds of years ago in France to welcome and celebrate spring. This holiday is usually celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

  • 2.

    Students research Mardi Gras and find out how it is celebrated in countries around the world. Some of the most famous celebrations are in New Orleans, Galveston, and Shreveport in the United States; Quebec City, Canada; as well as in Italy and Switzerland.

  • 3.

    Most Mardi Gras events include a parade with grand floats, costumes, masks, balls, and special food such as moon pies and King Cakes. Men and women dress in formal clothing or costumes. They also wear elaborate masks in styles that reflect local traditions.

  • 4.

    Students make a decorative mask similar to those worn at Mardi Gras. First crumple newspaper to make a face-shaped armature. Hold the newspaper in place with masking tape.

  • 5.

    To make your own distinctive mask, knead color from Crayola® Washable Markers into white Crayola Model Magic. Cover the armature with the modeling compound. Shape the face to include a nose, ears, and hair.

  • 6.

    Embellish the mask with colored Model Magic.

  • 7.

    Embed chenille stems or other decorative craft items into the mask. Air-dry at least overnight.

  • 8.

    Use Crayola School Glue if needed to hold the decorations in place. Air-dry the glue.

  • 9.

    Display the masks to celebrate Mardi Gras!

Standards

  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions 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.
  • 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: Describe a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: A Mardi Gras Dictionary by Beverly Vidrine; Gaston Goes to Mardi Gras by James Rice; Timothy Hubble and the King Cake Party by Anita Pietro; Good Night New Orleans by Adam Gamble
  • Working in small groups or teams of two, students research the history of Marti Gras. Students organize their research into an electronic presentation to share with classmates.
  • Students investigate other cultures that make use of masks during celebrations. Organize research into an electronic format and upload to a classroom computer for sharing with classmates.