Tag Archives: 1st grade


11 Jul


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.




31 Mar


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!


26 Mar


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.



3 Mar


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!


19 Feb


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.



14 Feb



My first grade students studied the beautiful heart paintings of Jim Dine. We zoomed in on the paintings to observe how many of his works were created using a painterly style with lots of colors. Students had a blast painting and mixing tints of warm and cool colors on their papers, making sure to let their brushstrokes show. The second day, hearts were cut out and students used the positive and negative parts of each painting to create a large heart collage. They sure brighten the hallways!

Inspired by this exhibit from Artsonia.