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Ms. Cohen from Bronx NY is requesting Supplies through DonorsChoose, the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.

Merging Minds & Memories Via Masks

My students need marvelous African Masks, Painting Supplies and Mask Making Kits to help them comprehend the hearts and minds and memories of colonial-era Africans.

  • $234 goal

This project expired on February 8, 2011.

Hooray! This project is fully funded

My Students

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their face. But what if their face is covered? What if people wear a mask that hides their true emotions, feelings, memories? This is the conundrum I want my students to consider as we read Chinua Achebe's seminal novel, Things Fall Apart.

For my students, the idea of wearing a mask is not a new one.

The majority of them live in the rough neighborhoods of inner city Bronx, NY, and in order to navigate their dangerous environments they must necessarily wear "masks" of toughness, stoicism, and sometimes even anger. The majority of my students come from Hispanic, low-income, single-parent households. And often their parents are unavailable to soften their children's masks because they're working day and night just to make ends meet.

My Project

As we are reading through Achebe's novel about colonialism in Africa, I want my students to associate their own difficulties of living in an inner city with those being faced by the novel's protagonist Okonkwo by creating masks that display both their own experiences and those of Okonkwo. The "masks" that my students often assume are eerily similar to those being worn by Okonkwo and his tribe - hardness, virility, stoicism, and strength. While making their masks, I want my students to express the outer facade that these masks portray to the world, and to understand the circumstances that created this hard exterior. Simultaneously, I also want my students to understand both their own and Okonkwo's vulnerability, humanity, and underlying pain at having to assume these mask in the first place.

Please help fund this project of merging minds and memories via mask-making!

As my students create masks for Okonkwo (and ultimately for themselves), they will come to see that life in colonial Africa is not so different from their own. Moreover, they will realize that sometimes wearing a mask isn't necessary in order to survive; sometimes taking the mask off and exposing the truth beneath is just as important as donning the mask in the first place...

Ms. Cohen
Grades 9-12
Nearly all students from low‑income households

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2 donors2 donors have given to this project.

This project will reach 100 students.

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
CRAFT COLLAGE BOX/C0LLAGE KIT • Blick Art Materials $18.05 2 $36.10
HANDY ART WASH FNGR/BLK 16OZ JAR • Blick Art Materials $3.04 2 $6.08
HANDY ART WASH FNGR/BLU 16OZ JAR • Blick Art Materials $3.04 2 $6.08
HANDY ART WASH FNGR/GLD 16OZ JAR • Blick Art Materials $3.04 2 $6.08
HANDY ART WASH FNGR/GRN 16OZ JAR • Blick Art Materials $3.04 2 $6.08
HANDY ART WASH FNGR/ORG 16OZ JAR • Blick Art Materials $3.04 2 $6.08
HANDY ART WASH FNGR/RED 16OZ JAR • Blick Art Materials $3.04 2 $6.08
HANDY ART WASH FNGR/SLVR 16OZ JAR • Blick Art Materials $3.04 2 $6.08
HANDY ART WASH FNGR/VLT 16OZ JAR • Blick Art Materials $3.04 2 $6.08
HANDY ART WASH FNGR/WHT 16OZ JAR • Blick Art Materials $3.04 2 $6.08
HANDY ART WASH FNGR/YLW 16OZ JAR • Blick Art Materials $3.04 2 $6.08
AFRICAN MASKS/BLANK MASKS 20PK • Blick Art Materials $8.34 6 $50.04
Item Shipping/Handling Charges • Blick Art Materials $13.95 1 $13.95

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Project Activity

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