Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Mural as a Class Project: Miwok Village Life

Mural of Miwok Village by Third Grade Students
Most students in third grade learn about Native Americans.  In my brother’s third grade class in Novato, California, located in Marin County just north of San Francisco, the children learned about the Miwoks, a tribe indigenous to their area. Their studies culminated in books that each child wrote and illustrated, telling about the life of a traditional Miwok family. (I had a chance to see the books in progress on a class visit.) The students also made a mural depicting Miwok life.  Everyone in the class participated in painting the background of the mural, using brushes and sponges to create the local hills and landscape.  Then each student drew animals, birds, people, chopas (dwellings) and other elements and glued them to the background.  The result is a beautiful and detailed depiction of a Miwok village. By working together the students created a piece of art much more complex than each could have done alone and enjoyed the satisfaction of a joint project.

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