Thursday, 3 July 2014

Beading Club Summer

Each summer term I run a Beading Club at the school where my daughter is Year 6 teacher. I love this-firstly to teach alongside my daughter is a dream I had many years ago when she asked me to get her a Playmobil classroom 'just like Mummy's'. (I have since wished I could move the students in my classes about just like the plastic 'students' on more than one occasion!) I did not think she would go down the teaching route in the end but she was not put off by seeing us both in it and although these days it is a very challenging job, she loves it.

I am no beading expert by any means, but love to dabble in this from time to time. When  asked to run the club, I worked out a short programme of sessions which would be progressive and build a few skills (teachers!!) rather than just a beading free for all with the usual kits they may have done anyway. I looked into the history of beads, where the oldest came from, what they were made of etc. and planned a first session using  pony beads, which they would be familiar with. For skills we would meet simple knots, look at  use of the colour wheel etc.  The focus was on looking at how early beads were used in an abacus for counting, so I browsed various tutorials on making an 'abacus bracelet' -this link shows one with a little bit of history. The ones I looked at gave me ideas but I needed to modify them in order to offer something the children (9- 11 year olds) could manage, and in the time slot given.  I eventually settled on a simple design using flat suede cord with 3 sets of three beads.

Here's a little tutorial:

Directions: directions given are based on the wrist of an average 9-11 year old. For larger/smaller sizes increase/decrease measurements. For example for myself I increased the 5cm/10cm measurements by  1-2cm.

You need: 
Approximately 1 metre flat suede cord
9 pony beads

1. Cut approximately 1 metre of flat suede cord and choose 9 pony beads, blending or contrasting colours in groups of 3.
2. Starting at the left side, measure approximately 20cm. 
3. Make a simple knot in cord.

4. Threading from the right side, add on first three beads. Leave a space then knot again. (space should measure about 5cm between knots.

5. Measure a further 10cm -make another knot . There are no beads in this section.

6. Repeat step 4, threading on the three beads you would like to appear in the middle of the design. 

7. Repeat Step 5.
8. Thread on final three beads, knot again after 5cm. 

9. You will have a longer piece left at right side-trim to 20cm.

Design is now finished! Wrap bracelet around wrist three times,  leaving 20cm lengths underneath. Knot or tie a in a bow beneath wrist (a crafty friend is useful here). The three sets of beads should lie on top of wrist with knots at sides. Beads will slide, as on an abacus.  

The children discovered a simple pattern to remembering measurements between knots:

20cm (ends), 5cm (beads), 10cm (gaps)

Whole bracelet from left-right: 20cm-5cm-10cm-5cm-10cm-5cm-20cm

-Craft linked with numeracy-defiinitely ticks the boxes!

They were planning lots of variations on number of beads, sections etc. -and to persuade their mums to make a visit to Hobbycraft!

Abacus bracelets can be used for counting rows of knitting or crochet, but the children here liked the idea of using them to cheat at Maths!

The children loved creating the bracelets - do you know any children who would like this project? Great for summer holidays or for adding to your rainy day crafty project bank!  

More little beading projects beckon with the same group during July -they are a joy to work with. Much more fun than the plastic pupils!