Nutcracker Fantasy

By Feranda, Mary | School Arts, December 1999 | Go to article overview

Nutcracker Fantasy


Feranda, Mary, School Arts


Nutcrackers and the holiday season have been associated with each other ever since the story "The Nutcracker" was created. My personal admiration and collective spirit inspired me to introduce the little soldiers to my students over the holiday season. In this lesson I planned to teach: culturally oriented folk art from Germany, geography, parts of the body as well as proportion, clothing design and patterns (the students designed the nutcrackers' uniform), symmetry, use of multimedia and templates to create duplicate shapes.

In preparation, I secured a copy of the video, Nutcracker Fantasy, a wonderful claymation story and borrowed the book, Nutcracker Fantasy, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. I also brought in several inexpensive nutcrackers from my personal collection and created nutcracker-shaped templates, approximately 6 x 15" (15 x 38 cm), that the students could use to trace basic outer shape. Other items I prepared ahead of time were: 12 x 26" (30.5 x 66 cm) white drawing paper, pencils, erasers, markers and crayons.

The first day I introduced the nutcrackers discussing their cultural origins and art forms. Then we looked at the book and illustrations. For the second class, I placed a nutcracker on each team table and allowed students to handle them very carefully.

Using Templates

I demonstrated how to use a template by pressing down firmly with one hand while tracing with a pencil along the edges. I had students inspect the uniform of their nutcrackers for details such as color, design, buttons, belts, and placement of body parts on the real nutcracker as compared to the traced nutcracker shape on their paper. …

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