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Signs of the Times

Use Crayola® MiniStampers and Markers to create patterned designs similar to traditional Ashanti Adinkra cloth.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Students research information about African Adinkra cloth, in which cultural symbols are stamped on rectangular pieces of fabric with multiple, linear outlines on all borders. Adinkra cloth designs symbolize concepts, proverbs, events, people, and familiar objects in Ashanti culture. These rectangles are sewn together with bright threads to make garments and robes worn for ceremonial events.
    2. Provide students with Crayola Scissors and a piece of white or light construction paper. Cut the paper to a 6- by 9-inch (16 by 23 cm). Students use a Crayola Fine Tip Washable Marker and ruler to make three or four borderlines on the outside of the paper.
    3. Students use Crayola MiniStampers and markers to portray popular, contemporary designs. Encourage the selection of designs with personal meaning. Fill the rectangle with creative patterns. Add thin marker lines to enhance the pattern.
    4. With markers on the back of the paper, students write an explanation of the personal significance of design choices. Assist students with writing, as needed.
    5. Use Crayola School Glue to attach everyone's rectangles together on colorful ribbons. Display the class "Signs of the Times," which are similar to Adinkra cloth in concepts and designs.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    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.

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    MATH: Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch.

    MATH: Understand that shapes in different categories (e.g., rhombuses, rectangles, and others) may share attributes (e.g., having four sides), and that the shared attributes can define a larger category (e.g., quadrilaterals). Recognize rhombuses, rectangles, and squares as examples of quadrilaterals, and draw examples of quadrilaterals that do not belong to any of these subcategories.

    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: Demonstrate an ability to use correctly vocabulary associated with time such as past, present, future, and long ago; read and construct simple timelines; identify examples of change; and recognize examples of cause and effect relationships.

    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 resource includes: The Talking Cloth by Rhonda Mitchell; The Adinkra dictionary: A visual primer on the language of Adinkra by W. Bruce Willis

    Students work in small groups, perhaps with the assistance of an adult, to find out more about the daily lives, music, foods, and other aspect of the Ashanti people. Compare and contrast the Ashanti today to hundreds of years ago. Be prepared to report on research in an organized format to classmates.

    Students draw a map of Africa, outlining each of the countries that make up the continent. Locate the areas where the indigenous people create Adinkra cloths. How did this practice come about? How is it practiced today?

    Organize student Adinkra cloths into a patchwork quilt format for display on a classroom or school bulletin board. Ask a student group to compose a summary paragraph describing the significance of this artwork to the African culture.

    In place of a quilt, ask students to compose a 1-2 sentence explanation of how they designed their Adinkra cloth and attach those explanations to the back of their artwork. Organize student work into a booklet format. Display in the classroom or a public spot in the school. Digital photographs of each student can be added to personalize the booklet.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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