1st Grade Art Lessons

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Primary Color Super Heroes

Students in Mrs. Brown's Art class sang the "Primary Color Song" to remind them of the three most powerful colors.  They were reminded that the primary colors can be used to make any other color.  Students created images of "Primary Color Super Heroes" using cut paper and glue.   They were encouraged to be creative with their superheroes and could make either humans or animals.  They added details to their Super Heroes using markers. 
 

Grade: 1st grade

Time: one 60 min class

Materials:
12"x18" white paper
Red, Yellow, and Blue construction paper
Elmers Glue bottle
Colored markers

Learning Objectives:
To introduce students to the three primary colors, and explain why they are so "powerful".

Drawing large shapes.

Using scissors to "cut on the lines".



Paper Bag Tree Sculpture

Students discussed the characteristics of a fall tree and what shapes the branches make when they are without their leaves. We then created a 3D tree using a brown paper bag.

Grade:  1st grade

Time: 1/2 of a 60 min class
Can be done the same day as "Oil pastel and Watercolor Tree" painting below.

Materials: Brown paper lunch bag

Learning Objectives:
To have students slow down and look at the details of things that they see in front of them and not just assume that trees all look the same. Teach them that trees do not need to look like a stick with the cloud plopped on top.


Oil Pastel & Watercolor Tree

 Continuing with our discussion about trees, we created oil pastel and watercolor paintings by drawing the letter "Y" as the branches of the fall tree to create the effect of a tree without its leaves.

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  1/2 of a 60 min class
Can be done the same day as "Paper Bag Tree Sculpture" above..

Materials:
12"x18" white paper
Crayola Oil pastels
Tempera cakes, or watercolors

Learning Objectives:
To have students slow down and look at the details of things that they see in front of them and not just assume that trees all look the same. Teach them that trees do not need to look like a stick with the cloud plopped on top.



Model Magic Color Wheel ~ Little Yellow and Little Blue

We start by reading "Little Blue and Little Yellow".  I give each student 1 ball of red, 1 yellow, and 1 blue. Then I have them break each ball into 4 evenly sized balls. So now they have 4 reds, 4 yellows and 4 blues. All together we mix 1 blue and 1 yellow. Then 1 blue and 1 red. Then 1 red and 1 yellow. Then we mix all three, 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 blue... this makes a grayish brown.  They still have 1 yellow, 1 red, and 1 blue leftover.  Now we have all 6 colors of the rainbow, plus a grayish neutral color. I do each part step-by-step... I don't let kids jump ahead because they sometimes mix the wrong colors. It is a really fun tactile experience for them because they have to "squish, squeeze, and smush". The colors slowly mix right before their eyes!  After we make all the colors they have to put it in the correct placement of the colorwheel. Once they do that correctly I give them the thumbs-up then they can make whatever they want with their colors. I let them take their mini sculptures home. :)

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  one 60 min class

Materials:
Book- Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
.

A marble sized ball of red, yellow and blue Model Magic for each child.

Learning Objectives:
To remind students of the three primary colors and how they can be used to mix all the other colors on the color wheel and on the rainbow.

To introduce students to the color wheel.

To exercise students' hand muscles.



Clay Fossil Fish

Students talked about fossils and learned new vocabulary words including "Paleontologist". They created their own fossil fish using seashells and clay. After the clay was dried and fired they painted them using tempera cake paints.

Grade:  1st grade

Time: two 60 min classes
*(if using a kiln the sessions need to be two weeks apart to allow clay to dry and be fired)

Materials:
Clay
Tempera paint or tempera cakes

Learning Objectives:
To show students the slab method of creating clay sculptures.

To teach them about the different ways of making marks in clay (stamping, scratching, addition, subtraction)



Pointillism Butterfly

 Students created their first pointillism picture using the subject of butterflies as their inspiration. They used a butterfly tracer to map out the shape of the butterfly, then they filled in the wings and body with patterns and color.  They also need to think about mirror symmetry since the patterns on a butterfly's wings are always the same. The challenge to their project is that the entire thing must be done only using "dots", much like the artist George Seurat.  From a distance the colors come together to form the patterns, lines and shapes. It is a time consuming project that helps teach students patience and discipline.  When they are complete the students are always very proud of the work they did!

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  two 60 min classes

Materials:
9"x12" white paper
pencils
fine tip colored markers
examples of artwork by Georges Seurat

Learning Objectives:
To introduce students to the method of Pointillism, and the artwork of Georges Seurat.

To teach students about patience and taking their time to complete a detailed drawing.

To fine tune students' motorskills.



Elmer the Elephant

Students read the book "Elmer the Elephant" about an elephant who is sad because he is different from the rest of the elephants. At the end of the story all the elephants proclaim that they love Elmer just the way he is and they want to celebrate him by having a parade in his honor and having everyone dressing up in patchwork colors like him. Student got a chance to create their own Elmer inspired elephant using tissue paper and glue. The used collaging techniques to stick the tissue paper to a large piece of white paper. Then they drew their own elephant and cut it out. They added a few details like eyes and ears, and in the end we had our own Elmer's Day Parade!

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  two 60 min classes

Materials:
Book- Elmer by David McKee
12"x18" white paper
pencils
color markers
scissors
Elmers glue
tissue paper or construction paper

Learning Objectives:
To give students more practice with scissors.

To give students more practice using liquid glue, and to teach them proper glue techniques.

To teach students that being different is okay.



Matthew's Dream

 Students read the book Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni. They then created abstract designs based on the story. This is a great opening project for early in the year as students are getting adjusted to their classmates, the artroom, and the art supplies.

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  one-two 60 min class sessions

Materials:
Book- Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni
white drawing paper
fine point colored markers

Learning Objectives:
To give students the opportunity to explore abstract Art and mark making.

To observes students fine motorskills and offer suggestions and tips for students who art struggling with their designs.
 



Learning to Draw Snowflakes

 First grade students learned to draw snowflakes. We talked about rotational symmetry and how each "branch" of the snowflake should match the other branches. But we also talked about how no two snowflakes are alike, they should not feel pressure to make every snowflake "perfect"! They started by drawing them with pencil first, then they traced their drawings with glue and glitter. They really sparkle!

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  one 60 min class

Materials:
Black construction paper
pencils
Elmers glue
Silver glitter

Learning Objectives:
To introduce children to the concept of "rotational symmetry".

To practice using liquid glue bottles. (Not too much, not too little, just right)



Paper Weaving with Large Strips

Weaving is an important skill and also a challenging one for children in first grade.  For this project we start off with a simple over under weaving using strips of paper two inches wide.  After the weaving is complete the students cut out shapes to create a more interesting design when the weaving is put together. 

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  one 60 min class

Materials:
Colored 9"x12" construction paper
Colored 9" strips of paper
scissors
Elmers glue

Learning Objectives:
To introduce students with the technique of weaving. They only weave 4 strips, but this lesson is an introduction to help prepare them for more complex weaving when they get older.
 


Kandinsky Circles

Students looked at the work of Wassily Kandinsky, especially his concentric circle paintings. They then created their own circle drawing using oil pastels. It is important to tell kids to color in slowly and carefully, because light scribbles do not create the same effect. The finished drawings can be hung individually, or all together to create a giant Kandinsky mural! 

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  one-two 60 min classes

Materials:
9"x12" white drawing paper
pencils
rulers
oil pastels

Learning Objectives:
To introduce students to the artwork for Vassily Kandinsky.

To practice fine motorskills of drawing circles freehand.



Faith Ringgold Quilt

Students learned about the artist Faith Ringgold. They looked at images of her famous quilts and discussed the importance of the imagery in the middle of each one.  Students then created their own paper quilt. To practice their scissor skills they cut a huge pile of small squares. Then they used those squares to create a border around the outside of the their artwork. When they were done with the border they drew an picture in the middle that was based on a memory, just like Faith Ringgold did with her quilts. 

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  two-three 60 min classes

Materials:
9"x9" white drawing paper
strips of colored paper, or magazines
pencils
Sharpie markers
crayons
Elmers glue
scissors

Learning Objectives:
To introduce students to the artwork and life of Faith Ringgold.

To introduce students to the concept that paintings and artwork can take many different forms (quilts).

To have students choose one memory for the subject of their "quilt" and to draw that image from their imagination.



Pilgrim Quilt

 Around Thanksgiving the students create a quilt square with drawings of the things that they are thankful for.  They use rulers to make a border around the outside, and they use pencils and markers to create the images.  In the end an entire classroom can display their squares together to form a large Thanksgiving Quilt.

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  two 60 min classes

Materials:
9"x9"
pencils
rulers
Sharpie markers
colored markers

Learning Objectives:
To introduce students to the artwork of Faith Ringgold, famous quilt artist.

To have students draw from imagination, things that they are thankful for.

To have students work as a class to create a collaborative project.



Stitching Designs

Students were introduced to the basics of stitching using yarn, large needles and burlap. This introductory lesson will help prepare them for more complex stitching in the upper grades. 

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  two 60 min classes

Materials:
Colored burlap
Variety of yarn
large student needles
scissors
Sharpie markers (to write initials on burlap)

 

Learning Objectives:
To introduce students to the techniques of stitching, such as threading a needle, "in-out-pull", and not pulling the yarn too tight. These strategies will help prepare them for more complex lessons in 2nd grade.


Fairytale Puppets

Students in first grade learn about folk tales and fairy tales and in Art Class they get a chance to create a puppet and act out a play using a puppet theater.  Each class is divided into small groups and each group is responsible for creating all the puppets needed to perform their story. They create their puppets using mat board, pencils and crayons.  On the last day of the project each group will act out their story and the rest of the class will watch. We always have so much fun doing this and it is often a favorite among students! 

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  two 60 min classes

Materials:
Heavy cardstock (white)
popsicle sticks
Elmers glue
pencils
Sharpie markers
crayons

Learning Objectives:
To create a connection to the first grade curriculum explaining folktales and fairy tales.

To introduce students to "performance art".

To teach students to work collaboratively.



Greek Vases, Carp Kites, and Maracas

Every year the first grade classes study the countries of Japan, Greece, Kenya, and Mexico.  To incorporate some of these countries into the Art Curriculum students will create a piece of artwork that is inspired by the work of artists in that country.  These pieces of artwork are often displayed in the classrooms during the "World Fair Day". 

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  two 60 min classes each

Materials:
pencils
sharpies
black tempera paint
colored tempera paint
Elmers glue
scissors
yarn

Learning Objectives:
To reinforce the first grade curriculum as the students study
Japan, Greece, Kenya, and Mexico.

To introduce students to a wide variety of art  materials.

To create three-dimensional works of art for a group display.



Raggedy Ann and Andy

Students had fun making Raggedy Ann and Andy doll collages. We looked at some photos of the original Raggedy Ann and Andy. Immediately many students had a connection. The next class several students brought their real Ann and Andy's to class.  This project gave first graders practice cutting and glue, while also experimenting with a variety of materials. 

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  two 60 min classes

Materials:
pencils
sharpie markers
scissors
red, white, and blue construction paper
red yarn
Elmers glue

Learning Objectives:
To introduce students to a wide variety of art  materials.

To introduce students to collaging and mixed media techniques.



Glue Pastel Drawing

First grade students did a creative project where they got to draw with glue! After the glue dried it created little barriers that divided the sections of the drawing. They filled in their drawing with color using oil pastels.  

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  two 60 min classes

Materials:
9"x12" colored construction paper
Elmers glue
oil pastels

Learning Objectives:
To introduce students to a wide variety of art  materials.

To introduce students to abstract art.

To practice using liquid glue bottles. (Not too much, not too little, just right)



Observational Sunflower

Students were given vases of sunflowers to look at and draw. They were introduced to the idea of observational drawing... rather than drawing what you "think", you draw what you "see". After their pencils drawings were completed they added watercolor paint. (The above example was not done by a first grader. I will add a first grade image after they complete the lesson this year). 

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  one-two 60 min classes

Materials:
12"x18" white drawing paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
watercolor paints or tempera cakes

Learning Objectives:
To teach students about observational drawing, and not just drawing what they "think" they see.

To give students the opportunity to practice their fine motorskills while painting.

 



Georgia O'Keefe Flowers

Students examined the life and artwork of American artist Georgia O'Keeffe. They created paintings of flowers using crayons and watercolor paint. They were told to think about using bright colors and large flowers to create compositions similar to the artwork of O'Keeffe. They also learned the anatomy of a flower.  

Grade: 1st grade

Time:  one 60 min class

Materials:
12"x18" white drawing paper
pencils
oil pastels
tempera cake paints

Learning Objectives:
To introduce students to the artwork of Georgia O'Keeffe.

To teach students about the properties of oil pastels and water based paints and how the process of resist paintings work.



Pizza Collage  

Students love this project where they get to invent their own pizza. It is a great project with lots of cutting for the kids. They all start by tracing two large circles for the crust and the sauce. Next, they cut lots of tiny rectangles of the cheese. After that they let their imagination run wild and add lots of delicious toppings!

Grade:  1st grade

Time: one 60 min class

Materials:
scissors
colored construction paper
large circle tracer
Elmers glue

Learning Objectives:
To give students more practice with scissors.

To give students more practice using liquid glue, and to teach them proper glue techniques.



Picasso Flowers
 

After reading a short story about the life of Pablo Picasso, students created simple paintings inspired by his work. They kept the hands in a basic outline and added only minimal detail, similar to his painting titled "Hand with Flowers".

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  one 60 min class

Materials:
pencil
Sharpie marker
watercolor paints

Learning Objectives:
To introduce students to the artwork of Pablo Picasso.

Practice freehand painting without any pencil lines



Pattern Frog

This is a fun project that gives students a chance to get back to drawing. They create a frog shape and fill the body with many colors, lines and patterns. When they are done coloring it in they can cut out the frog! Students are encouraged to use lots of bright colors and do as many patterns as they can think of. 

Grade:  1st grade

Time:  two 60 min classes

Materials:
9"x12" white paper
pencils
Sharpie markers
colored markers
scissors
frog-shaped tracers

Learning Objectives:
To encourage students to try many, many different types of patterns to fill their frogs with lots of interesting colors and designs.

To reinforce the first grade curriculum where the students are learning about the life cycle of a frog.

To give students the opportunity to practice "neat" coloring techniques. (No spaghetti coloring)

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