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Behind the Mask

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Keywords: Creative Writing, Personal Culture, World Culture. Maskmaking
Subject(s): Art, Photography, Civics, Spelling, Technology, Geography, Grammar, Special Needs, Writing, History, Speech and Language, Reading, English/Language Arts
Grades P-K through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Pompano Beach High School, Pompano Beach, FL
Planned By: Sandy Melillo
Original Author: Sandy Melillo, Pompano Beach
After reading the African novel THINGS FALL APART the many allusions to tribal masks is a great segue to the common use of masks throughout history to represent cultures, celebrations, and passed on figures. Students engage in a class discussion of both what these masks represent and what they hide. As students reflect upon their own personal culture they are asked to create their own mask that represents them. Dividing into 6 groups they are required to research tribal, cultural, celebration, and death masks throughout history and write a reflection upon their discoveries to share with the class as a PowerPoint or visual presentation of pictures.Then they will be asked to create their own personal mask out of materials of their choosing. The instructor will give a demonstration of how to create a plaster bandage "death mask" and students may create their own from these materials or use creativity to make their own. The mask will represent their "outside" persona and culture. This mask making process will be recorded using android cameras and recorders. Finally, students will write a poem to place on the inside of the mask to reflect on the person the mask reveals and the person the mask hides. These will be composed on the androids and printed out on with the wireless printer, cut to shape, and put inside the finished mask. All masks will be displayed throughout the room, photographed for the school website and available for others to view. The instructor will collate the photos and videos that the students have uploaded into a shared Google dropbox and create a presentation for the entire class so that they can reflect upon the entire process.
Actually the best masks usually are the creative results of combining available household items, so decorative materials such as paint, stickers, feathers, and sequins may be added to materials.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This projects easily lend itself to helping all students define themselves within their personal and world culture, so it is not limited to a single curricula, grade, or achievement level.
This is a natural for a classroom, school, or digital presentation of this project to be shared with others within or beyond the school. It is perfect for a digital, cultural blog.
Materials: Point and Shoot, Hard Drives, Printers, Flash/USB Drives, Tripods, Batteries, Reading, Literacy, Writing, Speech and Language, Hardware Devices
Other Items: 2 android tablets with keyboards, $89 each, total of $178.00
1 wireless printer, $79.99 each, total of $79.99
1 toner black, $45 each, total of $45.00
1 toner color, $63 each, total of $63.00
5 plaster bandages, $5 each, total of $25.00
5 fabric, $2 each, total of $10.00
25 mask shells, $10 each, total of $250.00
2 office suite pro for androids, $14 each, total of $28.00
2 reams printer paper, $4 each, total of $8.00