I have found that first graders are very conscious of the craftsmanship of their art. Many get hard on themselves for not being able to do a project as "good" as my samples, to which I remind them that I have been practicing much longer than they have and if they keep practicing they will keep improving. To help them gain confidence at the beginning of the year, I start with this pointillism project. It's great because it teaches them to try new things, art history (George Seurat), and a new art technique (pointillism).
~Use dots to create a successful work of art.
~Understand that artists use dots to create an image (pointillism).
10" X 10" white tissue paper
12" X 12" colored paper
Sponges and water
Glue (for mounting finished pieces)
Pointillism: Technique of using dots to create an image.
Symmetry/Symmetrical: The same on both sides; a mirror image.
We start by reading The Dot by Peter Reynolds, about a girl that didn't think she was good at art. Her art teacher told her to "make a dot and see where it takes you." By the end of the book, she has her own art show! We talk about the importance of trying new things and practicing-I stress that "practice makes better"- not necessarily perfect.
Next, I show the students my examples and tell them that it's not as hard as it looks and if they pay attention to the instructions, they will have a wonderful work of art. Next, I demonstrate the project. First, they fold a 10" X 10" piece of white tissue paper in half twice to create a smaller square. Using a sponge with the tissue on top of a piece of newspaper they should get the tissue wet, so they can see through it but not have a puddle on it.
Finally, they use markers and only dots to create a pattern on the smaller square. I stress that if they want a line they have to make the line with dots, not by drawing a line. I demonstrate how to make shapes with dots instead of drawing them. Lastly, they bring their papers up to me to open them up. I lay them on the newspaper with the artist's name on it until it is dry and then mount them on 12" X 12" colored paper.
ASSESSMENT: In addition to circulating the classroom, watching for comprehension and guiding students to find success, I assess the completed works of art for the use of dots, craftsmanship, and creativity. When assessing for the use of dots, remember that the water can sometimes blend the dots together; especially if the student didn't finish in one class period and had to re-wet the project the following class.