Celebrate the importance of the xoloitzcuintli dog--and other special animals--in ancient Mesoamerica! Plus,...view quick tip
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Introduce the Dog Effigy with the following questions and information.
- If you were to meet this dog while walking on the street, what would you think about this dog?
- Do you have a dog at home? How is this dog different from your dog or a dog you know?
- This dog is also known as Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-eats-kweent-lee) and is a ceramic representation of this Mexican hairless dog. The Aztec people of central Mexico, a vibrant culture and community that lived between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, believed Xolo (pronounced show-low) helped many people’s souls travel safely to the underworld after their physical bodies died on Earth. Xolo was their guide, companion, and protector through the underworld.
- Do you have a special animal that helps you feel safe and protected?
Prepare a space where the students can make their softies, their own comfort object. Pre-cut fabric and felt into circles and triangles for students to make a face and ears for their softie. Thread large needles (plastic or metal with big eyes) for students to use who want to sew.
Start with a wool sock. Fill your sock with rice or batting. Invite the students to include a special message or small object inside the softie before sealing the sock. Tie the sock in a knot at the end or use a running stitch to sew the opening of the sock closed.
Ask students to choose felt and fabric scraps to make the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and tail for their animal. They can hot glue or sew the felt on the wool sock.
Encourage students to use their softie like a stuffed animal and even share their thoughts and worries with this softie before bedtime.
- If you want to make a reusable hot or cold softie to use for bedtime or to soothe, make sure to fill your softie with rice and do not use hot glue, synthetic fabric, or buttons. Place the softie in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to make warm or keep in the freezer.
- Read Cuauhtémoc: Shapes and Formas written by Patty Rodríguez and Ariana Stein and illustrated by Citlali Reyes. This is a bilingual book inspired by the last Aztec emperor of Tenochtitlan that teaches shapes from forms in Aztec culture.
- Ask students how Xoloitzcuintli helped the Aztec people and evaluate their responses.
- Ask students to identify the attributes of their animal that they made.
Rice or Batting
Sewing Needle with a Big Eye
Thread or Yarn
Hot Glue Gun
The Lizard and the Sun by Alma Flor Ada
Musicians of the Sun by Gerald McDermott