This lesson is a wonderful addition to you Black History Month collection of lessons. Children learn about the world of artist Ashley Bryan and his book Beautiful Blackbird, while creating a composition emphasizing cutting, pasting, repetition, balance and contrast. It’s a good exercise in fostering fine motor skills as the students cut out the template and plan for how to arrange all of their pieces to have a balanced work of art.
Here are a few of my other favorite picture books to read to your students for Black History Month.
Watch the video tutorial here…
Click the yellow button below to DOWNLOAD the drawing handout for the Beautiful Blackbird template as well as this months February Freebie Pack. Add your name and email and we’ll send it straight to you!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper
- 9″ x 12″ black sulphite paper
- Thin strips of colored paper
- Glue stick
- Bird & sun template/guide
- 9″ x 12″ yellow sulphite paper (for optional background)
After reading and discussing Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan with your students, start by having the kids grab their sun templates (or paper plate) to make their sun.
Trace a semi-circle with yellow paper and cut with scissors.
Cut about 5 strips of long rectangles to make sun beams.
Glue the sun and rectangles with a glue stick to the bottom of your paper.
If your strips are too long and hanging over the edge, flip paper over and trip the excess strips.
Photocopy the beautiful blackbird template onto cardstock, cut out and use as a tracer for younger students. Or, use the template or illustrations in the book to free draw the blackbird onto black paper with a light colored crayon or oil pastel.
Cut out the bird and place on top of the sun. Glue it down when you are happy with the placement.
Tip: don’t add glue all the way to the edge of the paper bird. You’ll want to slip the colored pieces of paper under the edge of the bird.
ARRANGING THE SHAPES
Select the variety of colorful paper strips for the finishing touch. Glue it all together when you are happy with the placement and colors of your strips.
Lastly, just like the sun, if you strips are too long then flip over your paper and trim any excess strips.
Have you tried this lesson? I’d love to hear how the instructions worked for you or if you tried a new technique, comment below!
I created a detailed lesson plan within the Sparklers Membership Club where you can get a more detailed lesson plan including National Core Art Standards for 1st grade, an Assessment Checklist, full length instruction video and plenty more Black History Month art lessons to choose from.
For more information on joining, sign up to our waitlist HERE.
Click the button below to DOWNLOAD the February Freebie Pack for more fun art lesson you can use this month!
the yellow button doesnt work??
I am looking for the template, but the yellow button above is not working. Is there any other way to get the blackbird template?
Hi Monica! I just tested the link and everything is working on our end. Are you using Firefox as your browser? We’ve recently learned that our downloads aren’t working with a Firefox browser, so I’d suggest using Chrome or Safari instead. If you add your email to the box we will send it directly to your email address. Be sure to check your spam or junk folders. You can also reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Love your art work this is farah I m working as an art teacher
Beautifull and Very créative.
Wonderful ideas for age Levels
My first grade loved this lesson! We found a video on YouTube of the book with a great narrator.
I just love Deep space sparkle
We are using items on hand. Instead of colored paper we are going to use colored craft sticks, half of a paper plate painted yellow for the sun, black sparkle foam for the bird and elmer’s glue. The size of it is undetermined until it is complete.
I have not received my templates?
Hi Jill! Thanks so much for requesting this lesson. You should receive a copy directly in your inbox. Be sure to check your spam or junk folder in case it ended up there. Enjoy
Rest In Peace to the artist/author Ashley Bryan . He passed away February 4, 2022. He inspired the DSS project Beautiful Blackbird. My students enjoyed the book and the art project.
Oh, I hadn’t heard. Oh my. What a loss of such inspiration and talent.
Thank you for letting me know 🙂
I love your art! Thanks for sharing:)
I love the black bird project. However, the download links is not working.
Hi Shell! Thanks for your interest in our lesson. Everything is working on our end. If you click the download button and add your email address we will send the lesson directly to your inbox. Something we’ve noticed is that our system works best with either the Chrome or Safari browser. Be sure to check your Spam or Junk folders to make sure it didn’t end up there. Enjoy.
I am a substitute teacher and so appreciate your art ideas. I work with elementary students and they love art. Thank you…thank you…thank you!
I am a member and it doesn’t let me open anything, download anything…I try to log in and it says email not found etc etc
Hi Jill! If you are interested in a lesson you can scroll down and click the download button and add your email address we will send the lesson directly to your inbox. Be sure to check your Spam or Junk folders to make sure it didn’t end up there. We’ve noticed our website doesn’t work well with the Firefox browser so please be sure to use Safari or Chrome. If you are a Sparkler the full version of the lesson may be available inside the membership. If you need help logging in to The Sparklers’ Club please reach out to email@example.com for help!
My students ranging from K-2 loved this project. Great way to work on scissor skills! The finished product was beautiful as the book was. Thank you for this great project.
Hi – I remember seeing an example of the bird being decorated with oil pastels perhaps. Do you have a photo of that? Thought it might enhance the project for older students.
This project is really lovely! I just showed my kids a reading of the book to get them started and then we did the backgrounds. We’re going to do the blackbird as a step by step drawing next time! I wanted to just say that the lesson has been great so far and to recommend this particular reading I found on Youtube. I was having trouble finding an Ashley Bryan reading that also included time to stop and look at the pictures, since it seems the videos of his readings focus more on him and his performance than the book. This youtuber I found, Mr.Jesse, did an awesome job singing and showing dancing along with the story and it made it feel so alive, in keeping with the spirit of Ashley Bryan’s reading, but still showing the pictures fully! https://youtu.be/ZeMAJ5VkyY8
And when I asked the kids afterwards, they seemed really impressed! (Though it might not suit every setting. He gives them some time to dance and it might be important to remind kids in a crowded room that we can’t necessarily get UP and dance, but we can wiggle in our seats!)