Mr Weis’ Classroom Blog

February 23, 2009

Calabash squashes, Chad, cats, and a new art project

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 7:00 pm


On Friday we began a new series of art lessons based on Chadian calabash engraving.  A calabash is a large squash that can be harvested for food, decoration or utilitarian uses.  In the country of Chad, the squashes are left to mature to large sizes, dried out and then decorated through a process of carving and burning.  The designs on the squash are mostly geometric, but can also incorporate figures and animals from stories.

We started out by reading the book Calabash Cat by James Rumford.  The book is filled with illustrations that mimic the styles found on calabash engravings.  After giving special attention to the different patterns and values created in the illustrations in the book, we practiced drawing different line patterns that are common in the geometric designs engraved on calabash.


Taking inspiration from the book, students began illustrating their own calabash animals today.  They started with a bold outline and then began incorporating different patterns and symbols into their illustrations.  When we finish the illustrations, you can look forward to seeing them on the blog.  There are some really neat pieces in the works!

In other news, we spend some time rewinding and reteaching a method for reading and analyzing newspaper articles.  Students read articles from a variety of sections and then worked in groups to draw out and share important information.  Tonight for homework, they will fill out a new note-taking sheet that we will use with our next current events activity.


  1. Language Arts: Literature Circle Groups Reading and job sheet –  Wringer, Library Card, and Dark is Rising,
  2. Other: Current Events – Newspaper article read and fill out Newspaper Article Notes sheet.

Mr. Weis


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