For our 1st Grade African Unit lesson, students studied the lion and created these magnificent mixed-media collages. To begin, we read What the Animals Were Waiting For by Johnathan London, which tells the story of the dramatic cycles of life on the Masai Mara range in Africa. Many different African animals are depicted in rich, oil painted illustrations. On our document camera, we zoomed in on the lion illustration so we could see how the artist carefully blended monochromatic earth tones to give texture and depth to the fur. We also studied real lion photographs to become familiar with their features. Students then were ready to draw their lion faces, blending and mixing earth tones using oil pastels for the fur.
The next class, we reviewed photos of crazy lion manes and students folded strips of earth toned paper to create a wild mane around their drawings. Lastly, students used texture rubbing plates to create interest in the background. They sure brightened up the halls!
Inspired by these awesome lions on Artsonia.
We recently held our all school Spring Art Show for students and their families. I displayed our latest projects plus a sampling of the wonderful artwork created throughout the year. Every child had at least one piece of artwork on display. The PTA and many of my awesome colleagues helped with an Ice Cream Social that night as well, which really seemed to bring in tons of families. My principal has been really trying to get our families more involved in the school and it was great to see such a huge turnout for our art night. Enjoy some more photos from the big night!
Here is another literature inspired art lesson–a 1st grade flower collage inspired by Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed. Students first created the background collage using various types of blue tissue and crepe paper. Next, they experimented with color mixing, creating painted textured papers in the style often found in Carle’s illustrations. The following class the students created these vibrant, simple flowers using their painted papers. For a final flourish, seeds were glued to the center just like in the story. Looks like spring!
1st grade students read two books to get us ready for our rainy day collages: Rain Rain Rivers by Uri Shulevitz and vintage children’s book The Wet Walk by Carol Woodard. Students used their pattern skills to create designs for their U-shaped umbrellas using a black crayon. Bleeding tissue paper was placed over their umbrellas and painted over with water to create a watercolor effect.
The next class, students cut out their umbrellas and made a handle. We assembled our umbrellas upside down to catch the rain! For the finishing touch, students painted raindrops using shiny, metallic paint. A great project for the start of spring!
Last spring my 1st graders had the chance to learn about the importance of cherry blossoms in Japanese culture. They viewed a National Geographic video telling the history of the cherry trees and saw how picnics are still held during the short blooming season to honor the beauty and wonder of the pink and white blossoms. Students also had the chance to see a Powerpoint showing examples of both painted and printed cherry blossoms. We talked about the shape of the branches and flowers to get them ready for their own prints.
Students used recycled cardboard to print the branches and a q-tip for the blossoms. They all turned out so unique and cheery.
My 1st grade students began this lesson by reading Good-Night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins. We zoomed in on my document camera to take a closer look at the patterns Hutchins uses to illustrate her owl. Students were eager to share some of their own pattern ideas as they had been learning about patterns in their classroom. They practiced drawing their owls using a step-by-step drawing sheet I had created.
Sidenote: The use of these drawing sheets have worked wonders in helping my kiddos find success in art. Previously during drawing lessons, my students would become frustrated when it came time for them to draw on their own. I would clearly demonstrate beforehand, but many students would forgot by the time they started drawing. Since most of my students have not had any art experience outside of school, they need extra encouragement and guidance. I was amazed the first time I used these how confident my students became while drawing. The best part is that each student’s drawing always has its own unique look even though they had the same directions.
Back to the project–after drawing their owls with a black crayon, they filled them in with different patterns and painted over them with brown, earthy owl colors. The next class, students drew stars on their blue papers for nighttime and made a bright, collage full moon for the sky. They also created a texture rubbing on brown paper and cut it into a branch shape. Lastly, their owls were cut out and glued onto the branch. They sure loved making their owls!
Continuing our school celebration of Black History Month last year, my 1st grade students created Faith Ringgold story quilts. We started off the lesson by watching a Reading Rainbow video of Tar Beach which also showed and explained a real “tar beach” in New York City to help my students better understand. We searched for shapes in the buildings and determined they were mostly made up of rectangles and squares. We noticed how the pages in the book were outlined with quilt squares as well, which we learned are created from fabric that have stories of their own to tell. Our school librarian was getting rid of boxes of colorful book jacket covers, so I cut those into squares for our story quilt border. After creating the border, students made a cityscape collage. Lastly, they imagined themselves flying and soaring on an adventure, then drew themselves to add to their collage. All individual collages were added together to create one large quilt for each class. I love the cape and bumblebee below.
One of my favorite quotes about Tar Beach by a student (after looking curiously at the board games pictured on a table on the roof in the story): “What are those for??”
Me: “Those are games to play for fun when the families hang out up there.”
Student: “What?! How do they get their tv up there?!”
Inspired by this Artsonia project.