Every year I do Mardi Gras with my fifth graders. We start with an explanation of what Mardi Gras is - brief history, what takes place (filtering out some of the activities of course), parades, parties, Beads, the meaning of the King Cake, music etc. Then I show some examples of masks. Using oak tag we cut the basic mask shape then glue on lots of glitter and sequins in green, gold and purple Mardi Gras colors. Next time we glue on feathers, paint dowels for the sticks. Lastly, wrap curling ribbon around the sticks and "curl" the ends and hot glue on a large "jewel" and the stick.
The last art class before Mardi Gras we have a party - New Orleans music, a King Cake with a plastic "baby" inside and crown the king or queen of Mardi Gras (whoever gets the piece with the baby inside).
French Culture - Mardi Gras
I also pass out doubloons and beads - I buy them at Accent Annex online - pretty cheap. I also decorate the room with various things I have collected for this - foil umbrella glitzy wall figures, craw fish whatever. You could also make doubloons out of clay, etch design, fire and paint metallic. Another thing I have wanted to do is to make small "floats"and use say, Barbie and Ken dolls as the king and queen but I only see my students once a week and there has never been any time left for that.
From Jeryl: We read the book African Animal ABC and they drew the animals on a square of muslin with q-tips and melted Crayons ( I have crayon melters). White cotton fabrics work best. You can also use real cheap brushes (available in quantity from Sax - they come in a clear plastic canister) Then we crumpled them dropped them in a pail of dye. I used a different color for each class. I had some service learning students from the high school iron them between newspaper. I pinned them to a big piece of burlap so it looked like a quilt to display them. Note from Judy: muffin pan on top of a warming plate can be used to melt crayons - be careful they don't get too hot (remove from heat if they start to smoke). Have proper ventilation when melting wax... and stress safety around cords.
From Jeryl's World's Fair: Each grade did a different continent in their studies and I matched it in art. Fifth grade did castles because they were Europe. I did a power point with lots of castles to look at and we used some pages from Jay Conley, Sharpies and water color. Kindergarten did Australia and I read them some cute Koala books and we did dry brush to make the texture. It was amazing how well they understood it. They painted along with me. We also did bark painting. (crumpled paper bags dipped in water-painted with good old South Carolina red mud and then q-tips dipped in white tempera. They drew their animals first with Sharpies.