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.
Here is the continuation of our reptile unit I meant to share before our Spring Art Show took over my life! My 2nd Graders were fascinated by all they learned about chameleons and their enthusiasm definitely carried over into this project. I created a Powerpoint of lizard facts and photos so they could discover the many colors and patterns found on these amazing creatures. The red and blue lizard was one of their favorites–they called it the “Spiderman” lizard!
Students then used this inspiration to design a colorful, patterned lizard on black paper using construction paper crayons for vibrancy. Last year students designed a tissue paper collage leaf that gave a nice, thick base for their creations. The previous year we just used regular construction paper and their sculptures weren’t quite as sturdy. They loved discovering how to bend and fold their 2-D drawing into a 3-D lizard. It really allowed their friendly lizards to come to life!
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!
I’ve mentioned this before, but I really do make an effort to incorporate literature whenever possible into my art curriculum. As a kid of a teacher mom, some of my fondest summer memories are visiting the public library to check out stacks of books every couple of weeks. I loved getting lost in the stories, studying the illustrations that sometimes accompanied the book, or creating the settings and details in my imagination.
As an art teacher in a high poverty school, it’s an important job to promote and encourage a love of reading for our students. I have to admit I am still drawn to children’s books and have a passion for sharing their words and illustrations in my classroom. Introducing a lesson with a book helps to calm my students down and get them excited to start their own inspired projects. In my five years of teaching art, I have built my entire curriculum around quality works of literature. I can connect other subject areas like science, social studies, and art history. It’s the perfect starting point for many lessons and I am on a continuous hunt for more amazing books. Here is my Pinterest board where I keep track of my favorites. I am going to share some more of my favorite literature based lessons this week.
First up, Eric Carle-inspired Seahorses!
My 2nd grade students read Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle (one of my favorite illustrators to use in the art room!) to start out the lesson. They were fascinated to discover how many sea creature Dads take care of their babies. We also viewed some videos of seahorses swimming as well as many photographs to see how they were shaped. We used bleeding tissue paper the first day to prepare our papers in the style of Carle. Students also painted a wavy background using cool ocean colors. The next class, students cut out their prepared papers into a seahorse shape. You can see some added babies as well. They added floating seaweed to the background then glued their seahorses on top. I think they all turned out so fantastically!
Stay tuned for more beautiful literature-based art.
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 year my 4th graders created these texture collage polar bears inspired by this artwork by artist Ryan Fowler. I liked the variation in texture on his polar bear print and wanted to give my students a chance to explore different collage and painting techniques. After viewing Fowler’s artwork and a Powerpoint with interesting polar bear facts and photos of both the bears and their habitat, students got to work creating their textured papers. On a light blue piece of construction paper, students brushed a glue mixture over ripped and crumpled pieces of white tissue paper to create a rough texture.
The second class, students used a brayer to roll white paint over their textured paper. On a second sheet of turquoise paper, they rolled blue, purple, and light blue paint for the background, to represent the cool colors found in the polar bear habitat. I encouraged them to go with the process of rolling paint, allowing some of the paper to show through to create variation. This especially helped bring out the texture on the prepared light blue paper. Lastly, we reviewed Fowler’s print and discussed how to create a simplified, stylized polar bear. Each one seemed to have a personality as the students added the details. They turned out great!