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Fish and Sea Life

Foil Turtle and Fish Collage

Foil Turtle and Fish Collage

By on Apr 8, 2016 | 25 comments

This lesson was inspired by a lesson in The Usborne Book of Art Projects. It was a huge hit with my third grade class. The lesson in the book focused on fish but I thought a sea turtle would look lovely swimming in the glittery waters. Here’s How: Creating the Background There are a couple of ways to make the water background for the sea turtle and fish. One method is to use liquid or tray watercolors and table salt to make a traditional speckled background as shown above or you could use Mod-Podge and glitter liquid watercolor paints. To make a watercolor and salt background,  use 6″ x 9″ pieces of 90 lb watercolor paper and regular watercolor paints.  Wet the paper with a sponge or large brush, then mix blue and green watercolors onto the wet watercolor paper (wet-on-wet technique). Salting the surface will give the “ocean” a sparkly quality. I had some of the Mod-Podge glittery paints left over from the Fancy Fish Lesson, so I though I may as well use it up before it hardened and became unusable. The students brushed the leftover “glittery paint” onto a piece of blue or lavender drawing paper. The results were shimmery and ocean perfect. To make the glitter paint, combine a few table spoons of glitter liquid watercolors with about a ¼ cup of gloss Mod-Podge. Stir and use like regular paint. Drawing the Sea Turtle and Fish CLICK TO DOWNLOAD How to Draw a Sea Turtle Set the ocean paper aside and demonstrate how to draw some fish and sea turtles.  The idea is to keep the drawing very simple because the drawing will be created on tin foil. It may be helpful to do a practice drawing on a piece of paper cut to the same size of the tin foil. Use the drawing guide or show pictures of sea turtles and fish and allow the children to identify the basic shapes and colors from photographs. Coloring and Texture You’ll need some heavy weight tin foil (regular tin foil is fine), and some texture boards.  To make a texture board, cut heavy board (tag board, etc) into 9″ x 6″ rectangles.  Cut up old mesh vegetable bags and tape to cardboard. I made about 25 and had a...

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Jelly Fish Art project

Jelly Fish Art project

By on Jun 20, 2015 | 31 comments

One of the prettiest projects my third graders created this year happened during the very last days of school. I get rather desperate for ideas and organization towards the end of the school year so I had to scramble for a fast, two session project. I came across a jellyfish painting on my Watercolor Pinterest Board and it was love at first sight. My third graders LOVED this project. And I did too. I had all the supplies on hand (just barely) and stretched this relatively quick lesson into a 2-session project.   Here’s What We Did: 1. Each child painted a 12″ x 18″ piece of white paper (I like Tru-Ray drawing paper) with either a gradient of blue or red paint. I was a bit of a control freak here as I wanted to make the prep easy. I squeezed white, red, purple and black paint into 3 muffin-style palettes and blue, white, purple and black into two muffin-style palettes. Depending on where the child sat, he would either create blue or red gradient paper. That’s right. No choice. Feel free to allow a child to choose though. I did this as a matter of simplicity and quite frankly,  laziness. I’m not ashamed. Starting at the top of the vertical paper, the kids painted a strip of white paint. Without cleaning their brush, they dipped their paint brush into a little bit of red paint. They applied the paint below the white strip and blended. They continued on, dipping their brush into more red, then adding purple (this gives the paint the bright pink/fuchsia color and then finally black. We worked slowly and carefully with this step. I wanted it to last the entire 40-minutes. 2. After the child finished painting his gradient, they added white paint for bubbles. To do this, give each table group some white paint that has been watered down some. In order to splatter well, the paint needs to be the consistency of cream. 3. After the background paper has dried, it’s time to draw a jelly. – Use white soft chalk pastel and draw a curved line for the top of the jellyfish body. – Add a wiggle line across the bottom of the jelly for his...

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Sea Turtles Drawing & Painting Lesson

Sea Turtles Drawing & Painting Lesson

By on Mar 2, 2015 | 3 comments

This sea turtle art project was inspired by this Under-the-Sea Chalk Lesson. To keep the project manageable for first graders, I used just one sea creature–turtles– but switched up mediums. My first graders used oil pastels and cake/puck tempera paints to create these beautiful sea turtles. Download this Sea Turtle Drawing Handout. This is what you’ll need: 12″ x 18″ white sulfite paper Cake or Puck Tempera Paint Black Oil pastel White School Glue, Brush and Glitter (optional) Drawing the Turtle You can use the handout linked above or show a few pictures of sea turtles on the white board. I offered my students both a handout and some drawing instruction. We talked about what they could include in the background of their pictures. I told a story of how I saw sea turtles while snorkeling in Maui. I noticed that the turtles loved to hide under the huge rocks and swim amongst the plants. We added a few rocks, some seaweed and a few other fish. Painting the Turtle Once the children painted the ocean color on the background, I asked them to paint the turtle. Remind the children to pick a color other than the background so the turtle will stand out. Many kids used lots of paint colors in their turtles, while others created a more subdued palette. To add a special touch, we brushed glue on a few areas and sprinkled with glitter. I know. You don’t need this but we had a few extra moments and the glitter was just sitting there....

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Fancy Glitter Fish

Fancy Glitter Fish

By on Sep 9, 2014 | 3 comments

I love seeing the expressions on the faces of my second grade students as they arrived into the art room and view the whiteboard. Eyes wide, big smiles and yes, even a few squeals from the girls. Fanciful drawings are always a welcomed project. Drawing from the imagination is one of my favorite types of projects as I truly believe this is what excites kids the most. Their imaginations will never be quite as expansive than at this age, so why not indulge it? Drawing a Fancy Fish I begin by asking my students the difference between realistic and whimsical drawings. I show a photograph of a fish and an animated illustration of a fish for reference. They know the difference. After all, how many fish do you see wearing crowns? I tell them that they can draw any type of fish they want as long as it has a body, a mouth for eating, a tail for propelling and fins for steering. They get busy drawing in oil pastel. If they make a mistake or are not pleased with the beginnings of their fish, they can turn over their paper. Show how large they should draw their fish (or sea creature) by providing a few examples on the white board of a small fish compared with a too big fish. Ideally, the fish should be centered with enough white paper around each side of the fish. Encourage fancy shapes such as curly-cue tails and fins, crowns, eyelashes, fire fins, bubbles and dots, stripes and zig-zags, etc. There is no limit. Many of my students drew other types of fish such as jellies and octopus. Painting the Fish I pass out the paint. Not just any paint, but glitter paint. I purchased some glitter paint at the beginning of the year but it was a disappointment. It was too sheer and didn’t offer the impact I was hoping for. To remedy this problem, I created my own hand-made glitter paint. How to make Glitter Paint (and a little warning): Add a few squirts of glitter liquid watercolor and a dollop of Mod Podge mixed with a small amount of water. Give it a stir and you have the perfect glitter paint. Keep...

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Jacques Cousteau and Jane Goodall Art Projects

Jacques Cousteau and Jane Goodall Art Projects

By on May 23, 2014 | 4 comments

Sometimes books take me away to that creative place where I just want to break out the tissue paper and pastels and get busy making art. The illustrations in Dan Yaccarino’s book, The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau were that inspiring and that beautiful that they were the launching point for a collection of art lessons based on scientists and explorers. Soon I was browsing through books stores looking for the perfect biographies of scientists and explorers. I discovered Jeanette Winter’s story about Jane Goodall, The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps.  It tells Jane’s story from the time she was a curious child to her adventures in Africa. A Google search on Jacques Cousteau and Jane Goodall revealed very little in the way of art lessons. I discovered a few activities such as crossword puzzles or word searches, but few real art lessons. The trick is, I think, is to use the subject of a scientist’s exploration as the art lesson and not necessarily a lesson on the actual person. COLLAGE ART My favorite lessons are the ones that use of many art supplies. Collage projects encourage creativity and it’s rare to see two projects exactly alike. Both of the lessons in this download are collage-type lessons that use pretty basic supplies: paper, paint, oil and chalk pastels. There is always a moment during a collage-based art lesson when the children are hard at work creating their little masterpieces. They love to cut and place and paste and re-paste. They love to copy their friends, invent something new and start again. It’s a wonderful process to watch. SUMMER ACTIVITIES When I created these lessons, I about how great these projects would be for a summertime art camps. Children love taking their time with art projects (well, most of them!) carefully selecting which papers they would use for their leaves or which ones they would use for their under sea world. My students have less time to indulge in slow consideration and are often under time constraints. Perhaps as summer rolls in, and you have the opportunity to work with your own children or your students, you can allow a bit more time for creative art-making. Here is a preview of the lesson. I really love this one and I hope you...

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You Be You Watercolor Fish Art Project

You Be You Watercolor Fish Art Project

By on Mar 9, 2014 | 13 comments

Looking for an adorable art lesson that bridges literature and art? You Be You by Linda Kranz (author of Only One You) sets out to explore beauty in difference through a little rock fish named Adri. This 5 minute read will transition your little ones into an art activity that explores the use of oil pastels and liquid watercolors. You will Need: 12″ x 9″ 90-lb watercolor paper Liquid watercolors (blues and greens) Brushes Oil Pastel (Including black) Pan watercolors (optional) Table salt About 45 minutes Using either an array of oil pastels or just black pastels like I did, children will draw a shape using their knowledge of lines to create a fish. Encourage the children to connect the top and bottom of the fish with connecting lines so that the fish will have “stripes”. Other shapes can be added too. Download this PATTERN FISH DRAWING HANDOUT here. Need more instruction? Try this script…. Place oil pastel near one side of the paper, but don’t go too close to the edge. Draw a dot (a dot is a circle that is filled in). Draw a circle around the dot. You just made an eye! Starting just in from of the eye, draw a curved line up and around the eye (like a rainbow) and all the way to the other side of the paper, but don’t go to the edge. Now, go back to the place in front of the eye and this time make a curved line (like a smile) to the other side of the paper. Connect the lines with a tail. Here are some tail shapes you may like to draw (draw a few tail shapes). Now add a mouth and some fins. Does your fish have big fins or small fins? Does your fish have stripes or poke dots? Does your fish have hair or long eyelashes? A crown? Go ahead and finish drawing the fish while I set out the paints. Watercolor Paints I love using liquid watercolor paints with beginning painters. You can read about liquid watercolors here. Set out two colors of liquid watercolor paints. I use baby food jars to store my watercolors in. Ask the children to paint the water/ocean first....

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