I had a pretty successful art lesson today with 20 second and third graders. We did pattern cats. In an earlier post you may have seen the "pattern turtles" that I've done with younger kids. This is basically the same lesson except with cats. I needed to change it a bit since 2 years ago I had already done the cats with 2 or 3 of the kids. So we used oil pastels and watercolor instead of the usual markers. I really like the outcome with the paint instead of markers. It also shows them how resists work since you can paint right over the oil pastels and keep the colors intact.
I started doing these cats 2 years ago and it is a pretty big hit so I'm continuing to do them. This group of kids seemed to want to put scars on their cat's faces. When Wesley's group did this 2 years ago, flames were all the rage. Of course, it's the boys that go off on these crazy ideas. There were also "Terminator Cats". And the girls always want to put hearts all over theirs.
First, I do the simple directed cat drawing with them - they are to use pencil. There's always a few who aren't happy with theirs and need to erase. Then they outline in black oil pastel. I then showed them how to section off the cat a bit, and talked about the patterns. You have to make sure to say "designs" more than patterns, because the math curriculum talks a lot about patterns and the kids think about "AB" patterns, etc. Then they fill with some designs - stripes, dots, swirls, etc. They should be told not to color in completely with the pastels since there is always at least one that will do this. Finally, they were to paint with watercolor. I tried to emphasize using different colors because we wanted to make very imaginative, colorful cats. There is usually at least one who wants to do a realistic cat. They don't want to do these cats you might see in a dream. I think it's good for them to stretch the imagination. And they can also see that not all art is just like real life.
So this was a successful day... no tears, no frustrations, little help from me. And I was playfully called "King Kong" by one little energetic, wild, second grade boy. Is that a compliment?!