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Volume 4 Number 4

No matter how many hundred of millions of dollars are spent, school reform initiatives will continue to produce unsatisfying results until we unflinchingly address the critical problem of teacher quality.
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    About Classroom Crafts...

    If you have a craft project that would be of particular interest to fellow teachers, please consider sending it to

    Classroom Crafts
    by The Teachers.Net Community

    Islamic Foil Art

    by Amenah Tehrani,
    Muslim Community School, Potomac Maryland USA

    Can be adapted in many ways and for all grade levels

    Materials Required:

    Stiff cardboard, marker, glue, heavy duty foil (Reynolds foil best) black shoe polish and steel wool

    Activity Time: Three periods to complete

    In my art classes I try to take art crafts and weave them into the cultural aspects of my Muslim students but this will work for any student and on any level.

    Books on Islamic Calligraphy are available in libraries or book stores or go to or search under Islamic calligraphy.

    First class:
    Students bring the cardboard and marker to class along with the idea of the type of Islamic calligraphy they may have in mind. They look through books and online to print script. They trace the idea using carbon paper if needed onto the middle of the cardboard and use a black marker to outline it.

    There should be spaces between connected sentences but I encourage students to write just one word or even their name in Arabic. They take the Elmer's white glue (not colored or gel glue) and outline, in even flowing lines, as though they are redrawing the line of the calligraphy.

    They lay their cardboard somewhere safe and flat to dry.

    Second class:
    Students take their dried cardboard and examine it, then touch up any spots if necessary. Some of my students opt to help someone else and take it home to retouch up and cover it with the foil. If the outlines are good they tear off and cover with a piece of heavy duty foil (dull side down), cut bigger than their cardboard by placing the foil over their cardboard and taping it to securely to the back of the cardboard.

    Then students use their fingertips carefully to press around their writing to reveal the design. A rounded toothpick or end of a paintbrush works for those tight spots. They should be careful not to press too hard and tear their foil.

    Third class:
    Today the magic will happen and they will see their calligraphy. Students place the cardboard on newspaper and take the black shoe polish and smear it all over the foil and let it dry. Repeat. Next, they take the steel wool and start to rub around their design. The silver will come through, and the amount they take off or don't take off is up to them.

    My students really liked this project and the results varied depended on how carefully they performed each step.

    Note: This activity is posted in the Teachers.Net Lessons Bank at

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