Hello friends! I hope you are all having a great winter. If it’s December, January or February, you can’t go wrong with a snowflake lesson.
Here is my Snowflake Bentley lesson. It’s based on the work of photographer and tinkerer Willson Bentley. Bentley was the first person to photograph individual snowflakes on a microscopic level. Thanks to Bentley, we know that each snowflake is unique and six-sided.
I’m using my new favorite tool, the Smore (www.smore.com) to share it with you. Enjoy!!!
Our fifth graders just created these fabulous monster silhouettes. They learned how contour, organic shape and negative space contribute to an interesting design.
black construction paper
Illustrations from ‘Monster Mash’ by Mimi Maxwell
We began by looking at the illustrations in the book Monster Mash by Mimi Maxwell. The monsters are all in silhouette. We discussed organic (free form) vs. geometric shape. We also noticed the most interesting monsters had pointed or swirling body parts. Many had cut-outs (aka negative space).
Fifth grade monster silhouettes.
Fifth grade monster silhouette. Allow 90 minutes.
Create the monsters
Students did a couple of thumbnail sketches, then drew their monsters on black paper. Remind your students to design large monsters with interesting body parts and cut-outs. The most common problem is when a student draws a tiny, perfect monster that is too small to cut out.
I received the book Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger as a gift from a parent. This beautiful book (it won the Caldecott Honor in 2013) is filled with all things green. It is the perfect tie-in to a color mixing lesson.
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Honor.
I read Green to my second grade art students. They loved it – the book is full of die-cut holes and the kids enjoyed peeking through them. Can you see the die-cut holes in this video?
white sulfite drawing paper (or other paper that will hold up to painting)
paper placemats (we used 12″x18″ construction paper)
tempera paint: blue and/or turquoise, yellow, black and white
black construction paper for mounting
colored construction paper (to create jungle animal collage)
Second graders used blue, turquoise, yellow, black and white tempera to mix shades of green.
After reading the book, we got to work creating our own jungle. Students began by drawing a variety of leaves on their paper. They added veins and stems. They placed their white paper onto the construction paper placemats. Next, they scooped up a small amount of yellow paint onto their paper plates. They added dots of blue paint and mixed to create green, then painted a leaf.
The students experimented – adding white to create tints and black to create shades. Students were excited to create army green and blue-green. Seriously – they called each other over when they created cool new colors. They loved color mixing so much we had to do it a second session.
We did not use water for this project. The goal was to mix a wide variety of greens. If necessary, they brushed excess paint onto their placemats.
Create a jungle collage
After the paints dried, we mounted the paintings on black construction paper. Students cut leaves out of their painted paper plates and used them to decorate the corners or create a border. Then they constructed jungle animals from colored paper and glued them on top of the paintings.
This was a very successful lesson plan! The students enjoyed color mixing so much we could have done it for weeks.
p.s. the project would be nice as an Henri Rousseau lesson plan.
I just spent four wonderful days at NAEA 14, here in my hometown of San Diego. I attended a ton of sessions, including a pre-conference tour and a hands-on workshop. Here’s a peek at what I saw and learned.
Friday, March 28: Pre-Conference Tour of Art Program and Murals and Zamorano Fine Arts Academy Art teacher/art ed blogger Don Masse led this tour of his public elementary school’s remarkable art program. Zamarano Fine Arts Academy employs five (!) visual art educators for 1400 (!) students from transitional kindergarten-grade 5. The school has a clay program, photography, fashion design, and much more. Don’s 5th graders create an annual ‘legacy’ mural…in addition, we saw many other outdoor artworks, including painted windows. See lots more of Don’s contemporary-art inspired projects at his blog, shite brite zamorano.
Monday, March 31 Shadow Puppets workshop with Grace Hulse
I have wanted to teach a shadow puppet unit for years, but never really knew how. Grace Hulse’s workshop was a great intro. Her Baltimore second graders put on a shadow puppet play every year.
We cut black tagboard into interesting animal shapes. Ms. Hulse encouraged us to create openings in the puppets using craft knives and decorative punches. We taped lace doilies or colored vellum over the openings to add interest. We could create articulated limbs with small brads.
We also learned about inexpensive materials to make a small theater.