Sunday, October 10, 2010

tree time-lessons for October

These lessons should last us about two weeks

In the past I have worked really hard to have students complete two "hallway display" level projects a month. Thanks to our new 20min a week schedule I'm going aiming to get one hallway piece a month. October usually features trees, a complex still life and a one time "Halloween-ish" project. I'm questioning the ability of a harvest still life to stay nice looking for several weeks and I have no place to store it. So trees it is. I also happen to have some really fun tree lessons.

Kinder: will keep working on lines, we will use our lines to try to draw a tree at some point, but more likely we will try this painting project from Mrs. Picasso's Art Room.

First: I love the idea of leaf rubbings but it is dumping rain in Oregon and it is not fun making rubbings from soggy, wet, decomposing leaves. Instead we will do a guided line drawing of several types of leaves and then use our fun bleeding tissue paper to "paint" in our leaves. It will be an adaption of this project from Art Projects for Kids

2nd grade: will try our hand at this twisted paper towel and tissue paper tree project from who? where? did I get this pic from the crafty crow? Can you help me find the originator?

3rd grade: I created this lesson last year based on a greeting card I saw. I felt it was a great way to teach students about overlap and work on controlling our watercolor paint. I do allow the kids to use a raindrop shaped tracer (yah yah I know, 20 min people, 20 min!) After the kids have drawn their trunk and "leaves" with pencil have them go over the lines with crayon. Make marks with crayon on the trunk to create texture. Have students make "peacock eyes" in each leaf. The next class have students choose three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel (analogous or as we call them "neighbor" colors). Use those three colors to paint the tree. Finally cut out the tree and mount on construction paper if you have the time.

4th grade: I took this lesson from Kids Artists and it was a huge hit last year. I did change it a bit. We never have enough blue oil pastels so I have the kids use paint for the moon and sky. This is a great lesson in variegation. I do have them use oil pastel to do the fields. Also, I don't have the kids cut out the tree shape from our painting to create the negative space. Instead I have them cut out the tree from a separate piece of black paper and glue it on.

5th: There is this thing in Colorado called canvases and cocktails, in the south they call it sip and strokes and I'm sure their are other variations out there. Anyway my mom's neighbor in Colorado teaches painting at C and C as she calls it. She was showing me the paintings they do and low and behold there was a version of our good old birch trees from Artsoinia that we all do. I like the addition of the paint splashed for fall leaves. I'm going to try a version of this with the 5th graders. We will tape off our trees, sponge in a light med and dark blue background and then set the painting to dry. The next class we will peal off the tape, paint our trees in with shade of brown and use yellow, orange and red dabs of paint for our leaves.

6-8th grade are working on complex color wheels right now for their painting unit. Here are some examples from past groups.

this will get it's own post later. When they are done with their color wheels they will need to do a monochromatic painting based on this clip card from School Arts

then we will do an adaptation of Klimt's tree of life, with some concentric circles mixed in and a colorful background. I'm still working it out in my head.
Thrid grade version from last year...we'll take it up a few notches.


  1. love your lessons :) that twisted paper towel lesson was from my site!

    all your tree lessons look great. i canNOT believe you only have 20 minutes with the kids. i'm so long-winded we'd never get anything done! we have 55 minutes with all classes (even K!!!--can you imagine?!)

  2. i like the idea of the monochromatic painting from school arts. I know I've seen that card, but can't remember which issue it is. Do you know?

  3. Joanna, thank you for letting me know it is your lesson! I will edit the post to give you credit.
    Kate A. I just found the image of the clip card on the School Arts website, I don't remember what issue though! Sorry:)