There are so many different ways to create a mask in your classroom, but this project is among one of my favorites. I enjoy it because students have freedom to choose their own designs. This particular project is known throughout my school and students look forward to reaching 5th grade so they can finally create their own! I've heard more than once on the first day of class, "We're making masks this year, right???"
I've adapted this project many times over the years due to the spaces I've worked in and the student climate. Recently, I've been using pre-made pulp masks to save on time (this project can take quite a few weeks depending on how challenging you create the lesson).
Although this particular project was made with pre-made masks, I've also created this project with plaster wraps and mask molds. It's another step your student can take in making their masks from scratch if you have the time.
-Black tracing markers
-9 x 12 colored frame paper
-pulp paper mache masks (found in Nasco or Triarco)
-Cups for water
-Accessories (beads, gems, feathers, cord, etc.)
-Glitter pens (your choice)
-Hot glue gun (your choice, depending on the classes you teach)
This unit lesson takes approximately 5-6 weeks to complete. Each class period was approx. 40 minutes in length, meeting once a week.
Day 1: I share a Powerpoint I created of many masks from different cultures to help inspire students for their designs. Afterwards, I begin the demonstration by showing what materials are available for creating the mask drawing over the template. Students are encouraged to decide on their own design, and to help students who can't think of ideas, I provide a folder of different mask images to help spark the light bulbs in their heads.
(Please note: I do not know how to share a pre-made Powerpoint on here. I've tried many times, but I can't seem to figure it out. Once I do, it will be up!)
(Another note: I found mask images on Google. Very easy to create your own printouts copy/paste in Microsoft Word. You can also have students research on their own if you have the time and technology!)
Day 2: Students will be encouraged to complete their drawing designs, frame them with colored paper, then start their rough sketch on the masks.
Day 3-4: Students will continue to draw and paint their designs onto the masks.
Day 5: Once masks have finished, students can use hot glue guns (at designated stations in the room) to glue on accessories. I encourage students to find their own accessories if they have something specific in mind. When I was on a cart and in smaller rooms, I did not create a station and instead asked the students to hand me their accessories, which I glued on during plan time or after school.
Day 6: Wrap up accessories and artist statements. At our school, we have chromebooks! I have the students bring the chromebooks into the art room and enter in their artist statements straight to Artsonia. The students reflect on their designs, the process, and how they felt about creating their artwork.
"My mask design was inspired by how I am half Polish and American. I like this project because it was fun."
"My mask design was inspired by tigers. I liked it because I could create what I want to be"
"My mask design was inspired by my native country which is America, and the bald eagle, our country's symbol. I liked this project, although it got a little messy. I do like working with paint though. I liked this project because we got to pick something representative that we would like. This shows our creativity."
"My mask design was inspired by my thoughts and favorite things. I like this project because my favorite designs are zigzags and rainbows."