Friday, March 9, 2012

Kente Weaving and Anansi the Spider: 1st grade

The mischievous and wise Anansi
 First graders have begun their unit on African art

Royal kente, pic from Smithsonian
 with an African folklore tale of Anansi the Spider, a spider who seems to know everything and loves to play the trickster.  The book in the picture has great illustrations, but it does not tell the kente story - that is a different Anansi book that I don't own... yet! The story can be found online here.  An old Ashanti story tells the origins of weaving - two brothers set out on a hunting trip and are amazed at a beautiful spider web in the wilderness, of course woven by Anansi, who teaches the brothers how to weave and they in turn teach their community. Kente cloths were first woven only for royalty, but are now available for everyone to wear. They are often woven with the colors of their flag.                                                       
When beginning this unit, I asked students what they already knew about Africa, and most shared answers about the beautiful wild animals who live there.  To celebrate this, we included some animal print paper strips - thanks to Artolazzi  for the idea, it really added a nice layer of interest and texture.  After weaving, we illustrated our paper kente with an illustration of Anansi, happily dangling from our woven cloths.


  1. I have to share with you that I listen to Raffi (a children's folk singer) sing "Anansi, he was a spider" every morning with my baby Stella. It is a cute song and my favorite Raffi song. These are really great especially like the Anansi hanging off the weaving.

  2. These are great ! I would always read my first graders this story! LOve the weaving to go with it!

  3. I love this book, and this project is awesome.


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