Weaving was one of the classes in college that made me realize that I wanted to be an art teacher.
Weaving was the first class where everything made sense. It was the first class I had ever had that I didn't struggle to understand processes, concepts, or anything else. In my entire school career it was the first class I had where I felt smart. I have some learning disabilities that make retaining oral information difficult for me - so most classes are tough and lectures were a nightmare. Weaving was the first class where everything was explained with examples and showing/doing it -- it totally made sense to me. It was in my weaving class where I realized that other kids who learn just like me are actually smart and they need a space to feel smart - where it doesn't matter if letters move, or you can't read fast, or if numbers just don't make sense. Art is for everyone, but especially for those kids who aren't 'smart' based on their state test scores.
I could go on -- but back to our weavings.
So, for as much as I LOVE weaving - I have never woven with students. The idea seemed overwhelming to me. I struggled with how to organize the materials and be available to help students as they had questions and needed assessment.
At last I decided to jump in and see how it went.
It went WAY BETTER than I expected.
Kids are born weavers.
Kids that I expected to struggle with weaving because the struggled with other art skills -- SOARED and kids that I expected to breeze through it struggled a bit. Why? I am not completely sure. I think it has something to do with the combination of fine motor skills, ability to recognize patterns, willingness to correct mistakes, and other crazy brain functions I can only pretend to know about.
For the Kinders and 1st grade kids I made very simple looms. I provided students with their "warp thread" precut and attached at the top. I gave them strips of paper they needed to weave over, under, over, under until they filled their paper. We then either glued down the flaps or I taped the flaps on the back. Students LOVED seeing their weavings get longer - many even made patterns with the paper they picked.
For the 3rd graders - I had them make their warp threads. We spent a class with rules and pencils to make sure their warp threads were even and in the right spaces. A few students had to redo theirs when they quit and did it halfway trying to take the easy way out -- instead they had to do twice as much work. Once their loom was done I left them pick which design they wanted from some patterns. I showed them how to read the pattern one line at a time, then weave it -- next line and so on. Many students caught on after a couple of lines, a few students needed some extra help. They did GREAT!
4th graders made their own looms as well, but instead of weaving a pre-made pattern, I had them create their own. Each student got a sheet of paper with 3 grids on it. Students colored in full squares to make their designs. Once all three designs were complete, students picked their favorite to weave. Again, I showed students how to read their patterns one row at a time - off they went.
Now, after our first rounds of weaving I have decided that I love doing paper weavings with the younger kids and yarn weaving with the older kids. While the grid weavings are neat - they were frustrating for many students because the paper moves around a lot, causing their patterns to distort. I had students glue them down in the end - but it was hard to glue flat without warping their weaving. Although, I have to admit that the students had very little issue with the grid weaving concept because of Minecraft. I had TONS of creepers woven.