Friday, September 20, 2013

Crayon and Watercolor Pumpkins

For most of my teaching career, I have been a 7th - 12th grade Art teacher.  I enjoy teenagers and (aside from the crazy hormones) really have fun connecting with and helping them mature into the lovely human beings they will become.  A few years ago, I added 4th, 5th and 6th grade to my teaching repertoire.  Welcome to a whole new world! - I’m still adjusting to that addition to my curriculum.

Yesterday, I got to branch out even further when one of the lower elementary teachers asked if I would mind being the “prize” for a behavior program in her second grade class.  If her students fill a bucket with their good behavior certificates, they get to choose an activity as a reward.  I was so happy to be chosen as the reward!

SOOOOO....I had freshmen and juniors in my afternoon classes and then the second graders showed up!  What an exuberant, messy, joyful, excited group of students!  When they all actually “OOOOHHHH’ed” after I showed them what happens when you paint with watercolor over crayon, I felt like a rockstar!

It hurts my heart that the only Art our lower elementary students get is in their classrooms.  Those awesome teachers do a good job of giving them some Art experiences, but they have so many other things to worry about teaching, it gets tricky for them.  With our block schedule, there is no time in my day to add any more classes.  SO - if I can be the “prize” now and then...I am happy to oblige.

This simple project just goes to show that a little inspiration can go a long way with the delicious creativity of a child.  I showed the students how to draw a couple of different pumpkins and talked about overlapping shapes with them.  We put some details on our pumpkins and added some background patterns.  

 I told them to use their muscles when they color - but not so much that they’d break their crayons (and a few did.):-)  We layered colors on and did some outlining.
Then it was time for the magic as I showed them how to paint with watercolors over their drawings. I encouraged them to use colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. (I threw in a little complementary color info, but I think that went over their heads a bit). Cue the “rockstar” feeling!

I was absolutely thrilled at the results.  Each artwork had its own personality and style.  Not once did a student say, “I can’t do this” or “I’m terrible at this” or any of the other laments I hear out of older students’ mouths.  Oh how I wish I could bottle that attitude up and give it to my big kids!  What a lovely way to experience an Art project!  Happy Fall everyone!