Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ancient Egyptian Bling




Last year was my first school year teaching 6th grade learning support.  With that came a brand-new social studies curriculum for me to learn.  I am a total history nerd and I feel like I know more about American and some European history than the average citizen.

6th grade social studies, though?  Ancient. Civilizations.

Mesopotamia.  Ancient Egypt.  Ancient India.  Ancient China.

I'm not going to lie....I had to Google where Mesopotamia was back in September.  Ah yes, the Fertile Crescent!

I spent the year reading ahead of what the kids were learning.  I made flash cards, posters, and performed puppet shows (not really) to immerse myself in learning.

I also started getting a TON of Jeopardy questions correct.  Like....a lot, okay?

Mid-year we began our study of Ancient Egypt, which would ultimately culminate in a huge celebration run by the amazing and dynamic 6th grade social studies teacher, Mrs. Jodi Nack.

For years, Jodi has had the entire 6th grade pull together "Egypt Day", which showcases a live wax museum style set-up done by the kids, complete with a costumed presentation of a person, god/goddess or artifact from Ancient Egypt that they learned about, choreographed dances and cartouches painted with care displaying important personal information as well as Egyptian symbols.

As a learning support teacher, I'm always looking for ways to get involved across the subjects. Since I'm a sucker for any DIY project, I decided to set up an "Egyptian Jewelry" making table in my classroom and invite the kids to come in during indoor recess (we're talking back in bitter-cold January, here!) to make necklaces and bracelets based on pictures of actual Egyptian jewelry.  Here's the flyer I put up to "advertise" as well as the "inspiration board" I printed out to help the kids get started:

Egyptian Jewelry Flyer

So, supplies.... From the pictures, I was obviously going for a look that involved beading safety pins and then stringing them together. For that, I bought:

- a few hundred safety pins both in silver and gold from Amazon

- I hit up Michael's craft store and bought this gigantic bucket of assorted, tiny beads, little scoopers for picking up the beads, and cording.  It was entirely too much.  I can't find it on Michael's website now, but if I were to do it again, I'd scale down and get this one: Colored Bead Assortment

- a pack of assorted elastic cording like this one: cording

- plastic, Ziploc sandwich bags for the kids to keep their supplies in

- paper bowls and plastic spoons for working with beads without them going EVERYWHERE

That's basically it!  If you really want to get into the Egyptian symbols, there are plenty of beads for sale on Amazon such as the Eye of Horus, lotus flower, and scarab beetle.  Just search by those key words.

The flyer was e-mailed home to parents and I asked for $5 per student.  That $5 entitled them to make as much jewelry as they wanted to in school, and it ended up covering the cost of supplies that I bought.

I'd say that probably 20 kids out of the 70 or so kids in 6th grade ended up making at least one piece of jewelry to go with their Egypt Day costumes.

It ended up being a fun, indoor activity that not only created conversation and laughter, but left the kids with a cool, handmade item to wear with their costumes!  Here are a couple of up-close pictures of pieces that the kids made.....