1st Grade: Warm & Cool Collages


For the past few years, I’ve taught a “warm place” and “cool place” collage lesson as a warm up (ha!) to an expressive self-portrait lesson. I use it as a pre-assessment to gage student’s cutting and gluing skills. When I first started teaching this lesson, students created two collages on this handout.


While the handout helped students easily identify warm and cool colors, the worksheet didn’t foster much creativity or expressiveness. So I did away with the worksheet and had students create two small collages–one of a warm place and one of a cool place. Students choose one type of place to create first and I split them up by colors (3 tables of warm colors and 3 tables of cool colors).


The prompt helped students think more creatively, and they loved sitting in different seats, but I realized that students knew the warm and cool colors after creating just one collage and it was difficult to manage the space when students were at different spots in the creative process (some were working on their first collage while others were starting their second and moving to a new seat).

So I decided to increase the size and let them focus on one idea.


Since I started using sketchbooks with my first graders this year, I wondered if sketching their idea first would help students plan their shapes and colors better. Take a look at the results…


How do you use sketchbooks in your classroom?


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