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Wonderful Wearables

History and culture head for the fashion runway as students study fabric and clothing from other times and places.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Teachers can prepare the paper by placing it under water and crumpling it twice. Flatten and dry it. Use a hair dryer to speed the drying process if necessary. Iron dry paper on low heat (adults only).
    2. Students brush Crayola® Watercolors all over the prepared paper, spreading wet, juicy color onto paper that has been dampened with water. Dry, then have an adult iron the paper again.
    3. Fold, gather, manipulate or cut the paper into basic costume shapes. As needed, younger children can develop costume shapes laying large paper dolls on the back of the treated paper, then cut or manipulate paper to fit.
    4. Costume pieces such as flaps and capes might be cut out and glued to basic shapes on one side only so they can open to reveal design details beneath.
    5. Embellish basic costume shapes, then arrange and glue them to a mat or foam board background or over a simple form made from a padded paper towel tube or mailing tube glued to a base. Outer shape layers might be glued on later.
    6. Suggestions for embellishment: Use Crayola Colored Pencils to add design elements. Paint on a thin layer of Premier Tempera in metallic colors for shimmering effects. Add white tempera dots with a pencil tip. Paint other (crumpled or non-crumpled) papers with Crayola Washable Kid's Paints. Dry these, cut shapes from them and glue them to the basic costume shapes.
  • 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 informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    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: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal their physical environment and social conditions.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Clothes in Many Cultures (Life Around the World) by Heather Adamson; Shoes, Shoes, Shoes (Mulberry Books) by Ann Morris; Clothing and Jewelry (Discovering World Cultures) by Fiona MacDonald; Clothes Pb (Around the World) by Godfrey Hall

    Invite a local clothing store owner to visit with the class and share his experience with fashion trends. Prior to the visit, students compose questions for the guest. Afterwards, students post learning to a class blog.

    Encourage students to use recycled grocery bags to make larger, wearable replicas of costumes. Have students cut the bags at seems, then cut pieces and combine to create various articles of clothing. Use paint or markers to design bags to look like fabric of the period or culture under study.

    Invite students to investigate African textiles and create Wonderful Wearables to display in a classroom exhibit dedicated to the weaving and dyeing traditions of West African cultures. Students investigate the place of cloth in culture as art, for communication, and/or for religious symbolism.


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