Days of the Dead

Timeframe: Up to 3- 45 minute sessions

Grade Level: 3rd

Materials: black construction paper, white tag board, oil pastels, black permanent markers, yellow construction paper, scissors, glue, construction paper crayons, paint, glitter glue

Here's what we did:

I read several books about the Days of the Dead to students. We discussed how the Days of the Dead are happy days meant for remembering and celebrating. Some connections that these books helped students to make are that the Days of the Dead are more like Memorial Day than Halloween, that Days of the Dead artwork can be seen everywhere including the mall, and that the Days of the Dead are not scary. My favorite is that the Days of the Dead artwork can represent animals as well as humans.

Students identified a person to honor with their artwork. They brainstormed ideas for how to best represent this person, then began drawing their skulls. They drew symbols to represent their brainstorming. They included flowers because flowers are very common in Days of the Dead artwork. They drew the symbols and some flowers in the margins of the white tag board containing their skulls. They painted their skulls with white and off white tempera mixed with pearlescent mixing medium. After drying, they traced the skull and flowers with a black permanent marker. Then, they used the construction paper crayons to draw flowers on the yellow construction paper. They also used the oil pastels to add a variety of colors and patterns to the skull and tag board flowers. After everything was dry, they cut it out and assembled it to a piece of black construction paper as a collage.