Pennsylvania Dutch Stockings


Just about every year I taught a unit on colonial America in November, I always continued the unit in December, using a holiday theme to study decorative arts of the period.  Here is a little project that creates a Christmas stocking which can actually hold things, if you want it to.  I hope you and your kiddos will have fun using the art style of the Pennsylvania Dutch!

The German settlers of Pennsylvania were the first American colonists to create a unique style of art, called Pennsylvania Dutch.  (They weren’t Dutch!  The English in those days referred to everyone who spoke German as Dutch—they didn’t really understand what the word Deustch meant!)  This folk art style has become an important genre in art history.  It’s composed of simplified, natural designs created in bright colors, and arranged symmetrically.  It not only creates a beautiful product, but it presents an opportunity for several good geometry lessons involving symmetry, flips, and rotations.

penn-dutch-stocking-stitcheThe designs created in this art style “speak” a message.  Each design and color had a meaning that was well-known to the community.  The art work was painted on walls, furniture, and plates, embroidered on clothing, and sewn into quilt blocks.  Each piece was a special prayer or blessing.

Students read and follow directions to create their own unique stocking which conveys a meaning.  A worksheet helps them plan out their message, and two sets of directions instruct them in creating a paper and paste stocking made of construction paper.

There are 2 reading levels included:  Grades 2-3 and Grades 4-6

directions-1-smThe directions are contained on worksheets for individual use, and also as posters (11X17) for use with the whole class.  Use whichever set works best for you.

You’ll have a room full of colorful messages for students to decode until vacation!

Two pages of tracers are included for the stocking and the designs.

You can download the freebies here.

Have a very Merry Christmas, everyone!

This entry was posted in Art Themes, Christmas, Colonial America, Holidays, How To..., Integrated Instruction, Social Studies Themes, Thematic Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

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