Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In Like a Lion...

First and Second Graders welcome March with big cats!
I don't repeat too many lessons.  I like to mix it up.  But this art lesson is so much fun I just couldn't resist.  So this year, March came in like a lion, leopard, a jaguar, a cheetah and a whole lot of tigers.
My young elementary students had a little bit of experience going into this project because we had done some cat drawings earlier in the year.  So for this project, kids dug right in with brush and black paint.  We started with a brainstorm about "big cats".  We collected a lot of ideas about animals that fit this category and kids decided on which cat they wanted to paint.  The cats were then created as a guided painting ala Mona Brooks.  We decided where the eyes should be and placed a dot and a circle or oval for each of the eyes, then added the nose.  Next came a circle or oval for the muzzle and the upside down "y" shaped mouth.  We outlined the head and added the ears.  Then our outlining took different paths.  Kids were shown how to make the mane of the lion or stripes for a tiger, or leopard's spots.  We added a body, whiskers and any finishing touches on day one.

On day two color blending and chalk pastel techniques were introduced and practiced as kids added color to their creatures.  Kids use one finger to blend their colors and work one small section at a time.  They are taught to use their finger "like a crayon" as they move their colors around inside the lines.  My kids are given a tissue to clean their finger if they need to, but I don't have them use it on the paper at this age because I find it leads to a lot of excessive uncontrolled blending.  They are also given a piece of copy paper to use as a cover sheet and encouraged to use it to keep their fingers and sleeves clean and to avoid unwanted smudging.
Oops, somebody has forgotten to use their cover sheet.  That's okay, just need to go around and give my young friends a friendly reminder.  Any stray smudges can be cleaned up later with an eraser.
These cats have so much expression.  What's not to love?

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