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Second graders had so much fun experimenting with different ways to print leaves. First, students went outside to create texture rubbings around school. Students made rubbings of bricks, the sidewalk, grass, trees, benches and more! Then, students collected 2 leaves and brought them inside to create a second layer of crayon rubbing.

On the second day of this lesson, students learned how to paint with watercolors over the crayon rubbings they had made. Students were also given the option of creating rubbings on tracing paper. On day three, students learned how to print leaves using ink. Students loved experimenting with the different techniques. Students’ finished prints needed to include at least two layers or techniques.

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As part of a fall drawing unit, I want to share three drawing prompts I use with 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. I love teaching these lessons in the beginning of the year! It’s a great way to build students’ drawing skills, practice routines and build students’ drawing skills from year to year.

 

 

1st Grade Apples Drawings: I put one fake apple on each table before students arrive. On the first day, I walk through a few steps of how students might approach the drawing and give them a few tips along the way (like sketching lightly before pressing harder). After drawing for about 5-10 minutes, I do another short demo explaining how to blend colors. Then students have the rest of class and another two classes to finish their drawing.

 

 

2nd Grade Pumpkin Drawings: This lesson is similar to the first grade lesson. Before students arrive, I put one mini pumpkin on each table. On the first day, I walk through a few steps of how students might approach the drawing and give them a few tips along the way (sketch lightly before pressing harder). After drawing for about 5-10 minutes, I do another short demo explaining how to blend colors. Then students have another two classes to finish drawing their pumpkin and creating a background from observation or memory. This lesson usually falls around Halloween, and students love adding spider webs, ghosts, vampires, and other Halloween-themed ideas to their picture.

 

 

 

 

 

3rd Grade Leaf Drawings: Third graders have been talking about how scientists and artists are similar. For this unit, students chose a colorful autumn leaf to observe carefully. Students made sketches of their leaf and labeled it with observations and questions they had. After reading the book My Name is Georgia and learning about how Georgia O’Keeffe made paintings large, so that viewers, “[would] be surprised into taking time to look at it,” students enlarged their scientific sketch onto a new piece of paper. Ms. Nemes taught students how to blend colors using colored pencils or mix colors using watercolors. Then, students colored or painted their drawing and created a background to unify their image.

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One of the things that makes New England so special is fall. I love the harvest season and have been working on a vertically aligned drawing curriculum using elements of fall to teach observation skills to Kindergarteners-4th graders. (The entire curriculum is still a work in process.) As part of this curriculum, fourth graders observe and paint local leaves.

For homework, students were assigned to collect and bring in a leaf that had 3-4 colors in it. Students found the most beautiful leaves!  When students came to class, I showed them a PowerPoint about Georgia O’Keeffe and the leaf paintings that she created on her trips to Lake George. Then students had to observe their own leave and write down some of the facts they noticed about it–including colors, shapes and types of margins and veins. Students also planned their composition (square or vertical) by sketching their leaf. After class, I pressed each student’s leaf under a stack of magazines for two days and then laminated them. (I used stickies to mark each group of leaves so that I didn’t get them mixed up!) Next, they enlarged their leaf onto a 12″x12″ or 6″x12″ piece of drawing paper and then traced their lines with a thin Sharpie.

After carefully drawing their leaf, students began painting. I reminded them to reference the color wheel they made prior to the assignment and to try and match the size of their brush to the space they were trying to paint (small brushes for small spaces and larger brushes for larger spaces).

Students worked so hard on these paintings! I love the variety of ways students chose to paint their backgrounds.

Kindergarteners have been working on their Shape and Texture Books for a few weeks. On the first day of this lesson, students learned how to create a crayon rubbing by: bending a piece of wire, putting it under a piece of paper, and rubbing with the flat side of a crayon. Next, students went on a texture scavenger hunt and “collected” textures around school–on the stairs, on the wall, and outside! When students came back inside, they practiced their cutting skills by cutting out each shape (and saving it in a baggie for later).

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On the third day, students used fall colors to print colorful leaves. (I collected the leaves ahead of time.) For this step, students shared printmaking materials with a partner. Each partner chose one color and when students inked their rollers, the colors blended together, creating a “rainbow roll.” The excitement was contagious and students printed leaves on their paper multiple times.

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The next class, I told students that all of their experiments would be turned into a one-page book! To make the cutting a little easier, I folded each student’s paper and drew a line on the back so they knew where to cut.

After opening up the paper, students arranged and glued their texture shapes (from day two) and pieces of pre-cut textures (like ribbon, bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, foam shapes, and more…) onto each page.

Finally, students created a cover for their book. On the front of the cover, students wrote “Shape and Texture Book.” I wrote the words on the white board next to the rug area, and students copied the letters. (Because this project had a lot of steps, I only had about 5-6 students on the rug at one time.) Then, students traced their letters with a thin Sharpie and decorated the cover with pictures/designs.  When all the parts of the book were complete, a teacher helped fold the pages together and staple the book together.

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Students had so much fun making these and they are excited to take them home and share them!

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Inspired by this post, I wrote a short letter explaining the whole process and attached it to the book with a rubber band.

Check out these links for instructions/handouts on how to make a one-page book.

8-Page Mini Book

How to Make an 8-Page Zine

Off-Cuts Zine Workshop

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After “meeting” Georgia O’Keeffe and her work, fourth graders began drawing their leaves from observation today. Students were challenged to zoom in, draw their leaves larger-than-life, and make their drawing touch the edges of the paper.

(I collaborated with a 4th grade teacher to tie this painting lesson into science, and when I google Georgia O’Keeffe paintings was surprised to discover that in addition to her famous flower paintings, Georgia also painted 29 pictures of leaves! Connections are just waiting to be discovered.)