November 27, 2013

self-portraits catching snow

I've seen lots of  portraits catching snowflakes on Pinterest.
I did a version of this last year with first grade.
But I tweaked it and love this lesson even more this year.

Students get a 9 x 12 piece of white construction paper and a circle tracer.
Student trace the circle with pencil.
We add a nose, mouth, shoulders, and scarf.
Then we outline everything in black crayon.

Students get black, blue, purple, and their skin color.
A great time to talk about diversity in the classroom and how each of us are different, unique, and special just the way we are.
At the end of day one I read them //Snow// by Cynthia Rylant. 
It even has a fabulous picture in it of a child catching snowflakes on their tongue.

Day Two.
We utilize thick sharpies to outline everything we did in black crayon.
Plus we outline the design we did on our shirts.

We cut out our portrait and glued it to light blue construction paper.
We used construction paper crayons to add patterns to the scarf and shirt.
We also used the crayons to add hair, teeth, tongue, and snowflakes.

I smile every time I walk by these in the hallway.

November 24, 2013

fall leaf printing

It is winter here and the leaves are toast.
But maybe you don't live in one of the lovely places on this earth that turns to a frigid tundra for a third of the year.
Lucky you.

Since technically it is still fall,
you will probably fall in love with this fantastic project that I saw over at // Deep Space Sparkle //.
(check there for full instructions)


I had so many compliments when these got hung up in the hallways.
And the kids loved making them.

It's a one day project with first grade.

Thank to Deep Space Sparkle for the inspiration...

November 2, 2013

contour line pumpkins

Last year I taught a lesson to my 5th graders that looked at contour lines.
Such a hard concept to learn.
But a worthwhile one.

Day 1
We looked at a PowerPoint about contour lines and watched
// this video //

Then we started drawing pumpkins on watercolor paper.
Students were encouraged to draw lightly.
I taught the students some tricks to make the pumpkins look three-dimensional.

For instance:
1) Don't just stick a stem on the top. Make a dip that looks like a smile a little below the top and have your stem emerge from that dip.
2) Add some contour line the look like they are heading down the back of the pumpkin.
3) Add your vertical contour lines on the front.

After the pumpkins were drawn we used black glue to outline everything.

Last year we used white glue and I made the students outline the glue with a fine point sharpie.
The results were so-so.
Simply put, it was just too hard for their motor-skill level.
So if you want to bump up the difficulty of this project for middle school, I would go that route.

Day 2
I got out the // liquid watercolors // for my students to use.
The each received: red, yellow, orange, blue, green, and brown.
The students spent the class practicing their color blending.
The results were stunning.