Last year my 3rd graders created winter landscapes inspired by Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon. This quiet, simple story filled with descriptive language and metaphors, as well as the muted watercolor illustrations, alludes to the stillness of a winter’s night and the magical feeling a child gets when going on a special adventure for the first time. The story always gives me goosebumps. We watched the video version of the book as an introduction for the lesson.
Afterwards, students created a watercolor wash for the background, using the cool winter colors found in the story. After painting, salt was sprinkled over the paper to create additional texture. The next class, students viewed photos of winter tree silhouettes and used recycled cardboard to print a winter tree and snow. Q-tips were used to create falling snow and the owls sitting on the branches. We used white tempera paint but I would recommend acrylic if available as it would be more opaque. Each student’s winter landscape looked as quiet and peaceful as the story.
Inspired by this project found on Kids Artists.
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!
This Kindergarten project from last year went along the same lines as my PreK’s winter mural. Again we read the book Little Tree by e.e. cummings, which has lovely watercolor illustrations. Students used soft, cool colors to paint a winter sky using a watercolor wash technique. Everyone was so quiet and focused as they painted their papers. Their favorite part was sprinkling on a little salt to give it a sparkly, unique texture. The next class students learned how to cut two triangles from one square shape. After they had a pile of triangles going, they glued on rectangle trunks to their watercolor paintings and built their trees on top. They ripped some white tissue paper pieces for a snowy texture. The last class, we read Snow by Cinthia Rylant, a book with descriptive, poetic verses of all the different types of snow. Students printed snow flakes using a q-tip onto their turquoise papers, the perfect frame for their peaceful winter landscapes. Notice the tiny, cozy cabin one of my kiddos added to hers.
Last winter my preK students worked on these fabulous snowy day tree collages to use their cutting, gluing, printing, and listening skills. We read three great winter books throughout this project to inspire our artworks: It’s Winter by Linda Glaser, Winter Trees by Carole Gerber, and Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams & Jean Stoick.
Students first used pine branches to stamp snowflakes onto their blue papers using white paint. The next class, we studied pictures of evergreen trees in the books and noticed how they had sharp, pointy edges similar to a zig zag. They used green and white crayons to give texture to their two green paper squares, then were amazed to find you can create two triangle shapes just by cutting a square on the diagonal! This part was a little tricky for some of the kids, but their assistant and I helped them to draw a line for a cutting guide if they needed. Lastly they glued down a brown rectangle for the trunk and arranged their snowy green triangles on top of each other to create their evergreen trees. Beautiful!
For this Kindergarten lesson, I introduced it pretty much the same as this Charley Harper inspired cardinal project my 2nd graders just did. The birds were simplified a bit differently, and the Kinders had to use their folding, cutting, and direction-following skills to turn their circles into a cardinal in flight. We viewed photos of actual birch bark, noticing how the texture was made up of many lines and was black and white in color. They used recycled cardboard pieces to print their birch texture paper. After cutting their paper into strips to create a forest, assembling their birds, and adding some snow dots, their bright and cheery cardinals were finished.
These are right outside the art room and I love looking at them each day! My little ones really worked hard on these.
Inspired by this project found on ARTASTIC! and an awesome art project seen at our annual district art show from my art teacher friend Julia’s talented kiddos.
4th grade students also viewed a youtube video showing real snowflake crystals up close. We looked closely to see what types of designs and shapes we could find in the snowflakes. Students noticed that a true snow crystal has six points and is fairly symmetrical. We talked about positive and negative space. Using the inspiration from the video and our class discussion, they designed their own symmetrical snowflakes on a half sheet of paper, making sure to save each part they cut out. The tricky part was arranging their papers to create a mirror image snowflake, using both the positive and negative shape. You can see what was accomplished with extra effort and enthusiasm!
Inspired by this project on Artsonia.
My first grade students viewed some youtube videos showing real ice crystal images. They had to be convinced they truly were real because they just couldn’t believe a tiny snowflake looked like that up close. So many “oohs!” and “ahhs!”. We printed our radial design snowflakes using cardboard and old marker caps. The next class we read the classic The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats to inspire our mitten collage. Students used colors, shapes, and designs found in the story to create a colorful pattern on their mittens out of paper scraps.
Inspired by this art project at North Art Alert.