Great Mini-Grant Programs

Mapping Our Community – Arpillera Style

Helen Geglio, Teacher
McKinley Primary Center
South Bend, Indiana

What is a community? This was the question that third-graders in Indiana considered as they worked on an interdisciplinary class project based on Peruvian arpilleras, cloth scenes of everyday life embellished with small, three-dimensional details. Each of three classes collaborated on a large mural, and the three murals are displayed in the school library.

The students observed and identified the people, places and things that were important in their community. Then they designed their mural on a canvas panel, and sketched, painted, made figures and used handmade paper, decorative details and plenty of glue. To “map” their community, the children came together as a community, sharing ideas, tasks and resources to create a lasting work of art.