I’m doing shadow puppets with my 5th grade students this fall. The preliminary lesson focuses on creating interesting silhouettes in black paper and simply gluing them down to a piece of white paper.
This was a big hit back with the 5th graders back in 2014. This time around, I’m planning my lessons using the online tool smore.com. I’ve shared my monster silhouette smore ‘flyer’ below.
From a lesson planning perspective, smore.com flyers rock the house. I can quickly assemble a lesson with text, video and photos and project it. I can email it, tweet it and share through my K6art facebook page. I can share it with students who were out and need to make up the lesson.
Check it out:
I learned about the shadow puppet process (and this exact lesson) from master art teacher Grace Hulse at the 2014 NAEA conference. At the very same conference, I learned about smore.com as a means to organize all the resources in my lesson plans.
I will be posting many future lessons organized with the smore.com tool. Let me know if you find them useful.
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.
Helen Shirk is a San Diego artist and Professor of Art known for her metalwork and jewelry. I recently had the pleasure of viewing necklaces from Shirk’s Traces series on exhibit at San Diego’s Mingei International Museum. Even better – I got to participate in a Shirk-inspired paper jewelry activity taught by the Museum’s Education Department. The art project is so much fun – I just have to share their lesson!
‘Crimson Glory’ necklace by Helen Shirk, 2011. Steel, oxidized silver and china paint.
We had two options for our silhouette necklace project: 1) a quick, 30-minute project using paper punches or 2) an hour-long project using real traced leaves. Both options focus on organic shapes and repetition.
Materials for both projects
black construction paper
Project 1: 30-minute Punched Paper Silhouette Necklace
We punched paper shapes from black and colored papers, then glued them to a background and added yarn to form a necklace. Click here and here for the lesson plan, written by the excellent Education Department of the Mingei International Museum.
Shirk-inspired necklace made with craft punches and card stock. Teacher example.
Here is my Shirk inspired design!
Project 2: Traced Silhouette Necklace
Additional material: natural materials such as leaves, twigs and flowers.
Special Notice for San Diego Teachers and Parents:
Teachers: Do you want to take your class to the Mingei Museum? The Mingei provides free admission for all K-12th grade tours as long as they’re scheduled in advance.
Parents: The Mingei is free to San Diego county residents and military the third Tuesday of the month. Monthly Family Sundays offer admission and fun activities for just $5/family. Go to www.mingei.org for more details.