Kente paper weaving

grade 2, fiber arts, curriculum connection: social studies - by Instructional Services Dept, Fairfax County Public Schools

1. Provide a concrete visual reference == Directed Looking

Display the reproduction or actual sample and ask:
  • When you look at this image, what is the first thing you notice?
  • What shapes and patterns do you see?
  • What do you think it is used for?
  • Where do you think it came from?
  • How do you think it was made?

2. Provide background information == Direct Teaching and Storytelling

  • Kente cloth is made in Ghana, a country on the west coast of Africa. Kente cloth is known as the cloth of kings. The term "kente" has its roots in the word "kenten" which means basket. The first kente weavers used raffia to weave cloths that looked like "kenten" (a basket) and thus referred to as "kenten ntoma," meaning "basket cloth."
  • See below to add additional historical background
  • Kente is woven by men on narrow looms. The strip is woven 2 1/2" to 4 1/2" wide, but is often a continuous strip as long as 200 feet or the length of a football field. When the strip is finished, it is cut into equal pieces and sewn together

3. Generate ideas == Graphic Organizer/Word Splash

  • Provide an overhead or poster of the different Akan symbols and guide students in a discussion of their meanings
  • Encourage students to think of their own symbols and create meanings for them
  • Encourage students to draw each symbol on the board, helping to create a class constructed dictionary of contemporary symbols

4. Introduce terms == Video or Book

  • Use word splash to introduce terminology in video or book
  • Watch video or read book to students while they look at loom diagram

5. Review

  • Review process of paper weaving. Provide a large laminated railroad board loom for review. Allow students to come up and weave through a strip of paper. Repeat "over and under" phrases while children are weaving. Show how narrow strips of paper can be glued to loom and weft paper strips to make weaving look more like Kente cloth. Show how warp strips can be cut in curved or zig-zag lines
  • Review symbolic meaning of the colors associated with Kente cloth
  • Ask students to think about three colors to choose for their Kente paper weaving

6. Give steps in directions == Demonstrate

  • Choose a background color for the loom
  • Fold it in half "the hamburger way"
  • Use a ruler to draw a straight line along the OPEN edge of the folded paper, approximately 1 1/2" from the top
  • Mark 2" spacing on fold along draw line
  • Connect dots to make lines for cutting warp
  • Decide on the colors for the weft strips
  • Explain that the students can make a pattern using these colors
  • Advise students to prepare multilayered weft strips in advance of weaving. To prepare weft strips students can:
    • glue 1/2" strip in the middle of a 2" strip
    • glue 1" strip to one edge of a 2"strip
    • glue different colored 1/2" strips to edges of 2" strip

7. Guided work session == Direct Instruction

Ask students to work along with you as you review the steps in directions:
  • Select loom colors
  • Make loom together
  • Select and prepare weft strips
  • Weave pattern of weft strips over and under. Students may use a one, two or three member pattern
  • Additional narrow strips can be woven over and under warp and weft strip

8. Students Work

  • Select one symbol idea from board list
  • Develop stylized design for symbol
  • Draw on construction paper
  • Cutout design
  • Line all weft strips even with edge of loom and glue down on both sides of weaving to prevent strips form sliding out
  • Glue stylized symbol to weaving

9. Closure == Writing

  • Ask students to write about their patterns, color choices, and symbols
  • Direct students to write name and code on weaving and writing