Friday, April 9, 2010

In the Tall Tall Grass

After reading "In the Tall Tall Grass" by Denise Fleming, my first grade students made these adorable collage images for the art show. We started by drawing a self portrait cartoon using guided drawing. I asked them to draw a large U for their face, and rainbows with curved lines below them for the eyes. They added two rainbows inside the eye shape for the pupils. A simple C shape created the nose. Next, we reviewed the many critters that were in the book that they could put in their picture. I asked them to imagine they were crawling through the grass and came upon the critter they chose. How would they feel? Happy? Amazed? Scared? Then I demonstrated some of those expressions on the board and asked them to create a face that displayed emotion. They colored these with colored pencil, very dark.

Next class, they drew the caterpillar. I gave them a smaller piece of paper and asked them to fill the page, so they wouldn't end up too small. I asked them to draw a teardrop shape for the head and showed them how to draw the body. They could create their own colors and patterns for their caterpillar.

The third class we designed the "critter" that would accompany the caterpillar and self portrait. I made up drawing sheets that helped the kids draw each of the critters step by step and demonstrated how to follow the sheets to create their desired critter. They also colored these with colored pencil.

We were finally ready to start putting it all together! First they needed to choose what time of day they wanted it to portray. Some of the critters required a certain time; such as fireflies or bats, and others didn't matter as much. I put out yellow (for daytime), light blue (for "dinner time") and dark blue (evening) paper for the kids. They sponge painted 3-5 blades of grass first, then I had them paint Art Paste under and over pieces of tissue paper for another 3-5 blades of grass (a 50/50 glue/water mixture would also work, I just like the ease of Art Paste). I showed them how to glue a section of the tissue and then fold it over, creating grass like in the book. I instructed them to glue their face and critters whenever it made sense for their picture. For example, if they wanted the critter hiding in the grass, they should glue it down after painting the grass but before using the Art Paste. If they wanted the critters very easy to find, they should glue them last.

The final step was to add "extras." I showed them how to make 3D flowers by wrapping a strip of tissue paper around three fingers and folding the end over. I told them it was just like "folding a sock or a cuff on your sleeve." Next, they wrapped Twisteez wire around a sharpened stick to get a spiral for the pistols. I told them they could use zero, one, two, or three pistols in each flower. They added glue in the middle of the tissue paper, put the wires in, and twisted the bottom of the tissue paper. They could have as many flowers as they wanted. I also showed them how to use the Art Paste to add a long tongue on a frog, or sponge paint yellow at the bottom of a firefly to make it look like it was glowing.

They turned out adorable, and I can really see each child's personality come through in their image-which is my favorite part about teaching art!

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