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!
We have been busy settling into the new school year and have just begun focusing on our fall-themed projects. The next month I will be posting some spectacular and colorful art projects created in the past autumn seasons. The leaves here in Wisconsin have just started to change so what perfect timing!
This was a lesson third grade students worked diligently on last fall. We started the lesson by observing a real pumpkin and making a list of adjectives to describe it. Students noticed that the pumpkin was shaped like a sphere with curved lines that started at the stem. These lines also gave the pumpkin a bumpy texture. We practiced drawing the pumpkin from life, making sure to carefully observe each detail in order to create the most realistic pumpkin. Once confident, students drew another large pumpkin on their final papers. They then drew two diagonal lines to create a background.
The next class, students again observed the pumpkin and came up with a list of colors they noticed. We practiced mixing new colors out of yellow, orange, white, and brown paint. This was by far the most joyful part of the project as students were amazed at all the new color combinations they were able to create. They blended colors for the pumpkin then also had to mix 4 different tints for the background.
Lastly, students used their knowledge of line to create bold patterns for their backgrounds using black paint. The simple outlines and patterns also helped to emphasize their lovely pumpkins as well as all the great new color combinations created.
Inspired by this lovely pumpkin project.
It sure has been awhile since I have updated but here I am! I transferred to a new elementary art position this summer and have been busy these first few weeks of school settling in. I will share more about that adventure soon! For now, I want to continue with my posts from last school year. There are so many wonderful creations to show.
My second grade students created giraffes for their African Art project. We studied some interesting facts about the giraffe through a NatGeo video. Did you know giraffes can crush a lion’s skull with their long legs? Or that their feet are the size of dinner plates? How about that they only sleep for about 20 minutes a day and eat 75 pounds of food daily?? Fascinating stuff. After studying the patterns and details of giraffe faces up close, students began their sketches.
After tracing pencil lines with a Sharpie, students used crayons and earth toned watercolors to give their giraffes a resist texture. For the background, we studied the traditional Adrinka symbols and viewed this video. Students had handouts to reference and created a pattern using their favorite symbols. They look great together!
The student above wanted to draw a baby giraffe too.
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.
My 4th Grade students focused on the zebra for their African Unit lesson. To start off the project, we viewed many photographs and read some facts about the zebra from the San Diego Zoo website. They were fascinated to find out that their stripes help to confuse predators while in a large group. We also had to go on a fact-finding mission to answer the age-old question: “White with black stripes or black with white stripes??”. Turns out both are true!
Armed with this background information, students jumped right into their practice drawings, using a guide to give them confidence. It’s kind of funny that they all ended up facing the same direction, but each one does have their own personality! Students were so connected throughout the project and took great pride in their final drawings.
Lastly, we studied the characteristics of the zebra habitat, the savannah. We studied many photos of the landscape, noticing how there are many layers and textures found in a savannah. In order to give the illusion of depth, students cut different colors of paper to create grass, hills, and mountains. Beforehand, students used rubbing plates to create textures on their papers to create more interest. The final projects are so striking.
Inspired by these colorful zebra projects found on MaryMaking.
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.