Fall is such an inspiring time of year and I love to incorporate the changing leaves into art lessons whenever possible. I am currently working on this lesson with my third graders this year; these examples were created by the students at the bilingual school I previously taught at.
We start out the lesson by viewing examples of real leaves that students bring in. I also like to show them Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins and Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert for additional examples and inspiration. We study the contours of the leaves, noting how some have wavy, zig zag, or curvy lines. Some are symmetrical while others aren’t. We talk about their shapes and the patterns the veins make.
After sketching out ideas, students draw one large leaf on black paper then outline with white glue. The next class, we view some close-up leaf paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and study the real leaves again, noticing how the colors blend softly together. Students use warm colors for the leaf and cool colors for the outside to create a bold contrast.
Each student’s leaf turned out so bright and colorful and the student’s loved how the lesson connected to the current season. They were so excited to share both their found leaves and their beautiful artistic representations!
Students last year created these Jim Dine inspired heart prints exploring texture and printmaking techniques. We viewed examples of Dine’s well-known heart paintings, studying the many colors and paint techniques he used. We colored a background for our prints using construction paper crayons, though if I taught this lesson again a solid color would help the prints to stand out more. We read A Zeal of Zebras by Woop Studios to get some ideas for the texture to add to our foam hearts. Students then printed their designed hearts onto their backgrounds. For a finishing touch, students used a recycled toilet paper tube bent into a heart shape to print a frame for their heart designs. Printmaking is such a magical process for young students!
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.
School is finally out, so that means I will have more time to share some spectacular art projects here. I plan on updating at least weekly so keep checking back for more!
My Kindergarteners worked on these fantastic leopards during our African Art unit. Every year, we have a schoolwide Black History program to celebrate the contributions and heritage of African Americans in our world and community. In art class, I choose a relevant theme for each grade level to study and draw inspiration from for an art project. This year, I focused on the rich traditional art forms found in Africa as well as some of the most well-known animals native to the continent. My students absolutely loved learning about the animals.
For Kindergarten, we continued our exploration of simple shapes to create a triangle leopard. We read Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema to start off the lesson. We viewed photos of real leopards and learned some interesting facts. Students then were given a step-by-step drawing sheet to help guide them along. They added all the details with crayons then painted blue watercolor over to create a resist effect. Lastly, green leaves were added to help their leopards appear to be hiding in the trees. They all turned out so great!
Inspired by these tigers found on We Heart Art.
This was the first version of The Grouchy Ladybug lesson I did with my Kinders, way back when I first started teaching! After reading the story, students use different shades of green tissue paper for the background. They viewed examples of ladybug’s anatomy, then used construction paper crayons to color the shapes and designs. They made sure to count all six legs. After creating the body, students cut out two red wings and attached them to their ladybugs. The last step was using foam stamps to print their black spots (this was some type of round, foam weatherstripping gap filler my husband helped me find at Menards).
I love how each ladybug seems to be in a different stage of flight or rest.
This is a great May lesson to explore texture and read one of my Kindergarteners’ favorite stories: The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. Students find this story so amusing and love the part when the great big whale smacks the ladybug back to his leaf. It’s a good lesson on being kind and friendly instead of mad and grumpy.
After reading the story, students continued their knowledge of texture as they completed a crayon rubbing over texture plates to prepare their papers for their grass and dirt. Then, they used their cutting skills to cut a bumpy line for their dirt and strips of green for the grass which they glued to their backgrounds.
The next class, we went over the parts of the ladybug, noticing how they all have different patterns of black spots. Students created however many ladybugs they wanted and glued them to their grass and sky. They made sure to add six legs and some tiny antennae to finish off their bugs. They turned out great!
Check back later for the printmaking version of this lesson!
Inspired by this project found 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!