Friday, November 21, 2014

Lesson Plan: Islamic Stained Glass Windows


Remember clear transparency film we used on old overhead projectors? Send out an email to your colleagues and say that you need a few sheets. I’ve done this at my past three schools and have received dozens of boxes of the stuff in return! Us teachers, we are such hoarders! While no one knew what to do with the outdated material, they were loath to throw it away. . .

And, I’ve been finding incredible uses for the stuff!

My current favorite is this project (inspired by some visiting pre-service Art teachers) about Islamic Art and Architecture.




Here’s how the kids and I threw this party down.

*1. (Day One)
We studied the art and architecture of Islam using this PowerPoint I made. The presentation asks students to compare and contrast with other varieties of architecture and to hypothesize the reasons for geometric design and usage of stained glass. We focused on the Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque (sometimes called the Pink Mosque) in Shiraz, Iran as it is noted for ah-mazing stained glass.

*2. (Day One)
Together, we drew a geometric design that emphasizes the infinite power of Allah through intricacy of design and usage of circles and squares.  We used compasses and protractors to measure out our angles and circles. We did this together because it is pretty tough. . .But, I felt –and do feel- that it is important for them to understand the math behind this art.

*3 (Day Two)
We went to the computer lab. We discussed divine geometry and I showed them this awesome, online, free application that helps you draw complex geometric shapes based on divine geometry (http://app.geokone.net/) . Students “played” and then printed their designs.

*4 (Day Three)
We used transparency film, tape, and colored sharpies to trace and color our design. Pro tip: use colored sharpies first AND then use black sharpies to avoid “yucking-out” your light-colored markers!


*5 (Day Four)
We continued coloring on our transparency film. I introduced the final step, which was to create a frame for your glass. I modeled this, provided students with a Islamic-design-sheet for inspiration, and gave them white prismacolor colored pencils to create their designs.


*6 (Day Five)
We continued on our films and frames. Students hot-glued their film to their frames (use low temp glue guns or else your plastic will melt; you could use regular glue but I wanted to finish on the 5th day). Originally, I was going to give the students foam tape to build and allow them to build up space between a white sheet of paper and their frame in order to create shadows. . .But, we tried it and it looked lame.  Instead, the kids asked if they could hang them in the window, “like they did at that Pink Mosque!” We did and it was about 100x’s more awesome than my idea. Kids are amaze-balls like that! 







Here is some unexpected awesomeness from this project
-OMG kids love colored sharpies. They were SO respectful with them, and were SO eager to create using them. I love sharpies too!

-Hanging the work in the window created an instant-critique experience for the students. The early finishers sat and talked about their artwork for over ten minutes (!). I know! I timed them!!

-The artwork is really an experience. The other students LOVE it too. And, it is exciting to look at it.

Enjoy! And, if you teach this lesson . . . Share your pics with me!!

@artfulartsyamy






10 comments:

  1. Absolutely stunning!
    Donna Staten

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  2. Gorgeous project! Thanks for sharing all your resources.

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  3. Hey Amy! Big thanks for sharing this experience! Made me really glad to see these works by children :) I posted about this on my blog too, used some of your pictures, hope you don't mind. Keep up the creativity!

    Sakari, developer of GeoKone.NET

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  4. Boo - I think my comment just got eaten up. Let's try again. Are you willing to share your worksheet with the designs? I am in the middle of this project with 4th graders. They are excited about it and so am I.


    erica 873 at gmail dot com THANKS

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  5. Hi, This looks wonderful! I can't wait to use it, thank you so much for sharing. Just one correction,
    you state in your power point that the Muslim God is Allah. I would rephrase that to say, "God" in Arabic is "Allah." Arabs who are Christian use the word "Allah" to refer to God as well. It is simply the Arabic translation of the word "God"; Muslims do not have a different God than the Jews or Christians, He is the same God (the God of Adam, Abraham, Moses, etc.)

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  6. I love this project idea, and I can't wait to try it with my 7/8 graders, but I was wondering where you found the islamic-design sheet listed in step 5. Thanks for the help!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I had the same question about the Islamic patterns.

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  7. Hi Amy!
    I am an art teacher wanting to do this lesson with my 2nd graders and I am having trouble with the website yall used to make your geometric handouts to trace. Do you have any that you would be willing to send me?
    -Mary

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  8. Just stumbled on to your blog and I really appreciate not only your sharing of your lesson plans, but also offering specific support materials and how things went. I have been working on offering more of a TAB studio environment, though I'm honestly worried about 1.) how to do it, & 2.) The experience going well and my beasties not wasting materials! I'll try out some of your more limited TAB plans to baby step myself to see if this a good fit for me and my middlers. Again, thanks for your cool art ideas!

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  9. Just a thought...could swap the white colored pencils out for metallic sharpies. My kids love, love, love them and they really pop on the black 😊

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