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Guatemalan Worry Doll Desk Decorators

Use ordinary wooden clothespins to create original versions of Guatemalan worry dolls. These minipeople hold important papers or perch on pencil cups!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Students research people’s lives and livelihoods in Guatemala. Locate the country on a world map. Students compare and contrast how life in Guatemala is alike/different from where they live. Gather pictures or examples of tiny worry dolls. Children are usually the ones who create these worry dolls, using tiny scraps left from beautiful cloth weavings that are classic art forms in that area of Central America. Here is one way to make replicas of these worry dolls.
    2. The clothespin’s round ball end is the doll’s head and the two tines are legs. With a Crayola Marker barrel, roll colorful, thin Model Magic™ slabs for clothing. With Crayola Scissors, cut out a tiny shirt with a V or scoop neck. Place it on the top of the clothespin.
    3. Roll a long coil for arms. Attach arms behind the clip and wrap them around to the front. Add small balls for hands.
    4. For pants, cover the bottom part of the clothespin. With a craft stick or scissors, carefully remove compound between the legs. Add small oval balls to each leg for feet.
    5. Add the face and hair last. Use Model Magic to make great eyes, noses, and mouths with tiny dots. For fun hair, press a ball of modeling compound through a garlic press. Cut off the strings. Attach them to the head. Add additional details with Crayola Glitter Glue. Air-dry the dolls for 3 days before using.
    6. Why not make several of these dolls? While traditional worry dolls were put in a little pouch under a pillow before bed, these fun replicas can hold papers, perch on a pencil cup, or just hang on a desk!
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding word s.

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    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: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of culture.

    SS: Examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Guatemala: A Question and Answer Book by Mary Englar; Abuela's Weave by Omar S. Castaneda; Guatemala: Picture Book by Planet Collection; The Most Beautiful Place in the World by Ann Cameron

    Encourage students to create several dolls with varying styles and types of culturally authentic clothes. Display in the classroom by hanging the dolls on a string against a wall, a window, or bulletin board.

    Students compose their personal worries, writing on 3x5 index cards. Students keep these worry cards in an envelope stored in their desks. At a time when they are worried about something, students take advantage of their worry dolls and place a personal worry card in their doll. Examples might include: "I am worried about our math test"; "Today is the play. I hope I don't forget my lines!"; My piano recital is tonight! I hope I've practiced enough."


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