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Friday, November 30, 2012

Frogs in a Pond (with Monet) 1st Grade

I love lessons where I can tie in different areas of study, art history and art techniques!  This is a project I developed that incorporates study of frogs, Monet and watercolor painting.

To start this project, we learn about the artist Claude Monet and his paintings of ponds and lilypads.  We read a book about Monet:
(This series is awesome for read-alouds in class.  I love the picture books about art, but I want the pictures in the book to be actual pictures made by that artist.  I don't like picture books that have art created by a different illustrator.  For example, if the book is about Van Gogh and none of the pictures in the book were painted by Van Gogh, the story book can be confusing to kids.  Does that make sense?  There are a lot of picture books out there about artists, but the artwork was done by someone else.  This series of books combines cartoons and ACTUAL artworks by the artist, which I feel is so important.  And this series breaks things down in easy-to-understand concepts for the kids.  I always tell the kids ahead of time that the cartoons about the artist were not drawn by the artist, but by someone else.. otherwise one of the kids will raise their hands and ask, "So did Monet draw these cartoons?")  Anyways......  After we read this book, we also watched the movie "Linnea in Monet's Garden".  As we watch the movie, I again make sure to point out the actual pictures Monet painted. 

After we learn a little about the background of Monet's artwork, we paint a watercolor picture of a pond.  I show them how to use the wet-on-wet watercolor technique.  Paint the paper with water first, then add wet colors of paint.  We talk about cool colors and the colors they might see in a pond.

Then, we cut out lilypads from green construction paper and added little fluffs of tissue paper for flowers.

The first graders read a series of books called Frog and Toad in their language arts classroom.  At the same time they study frogs (and other amphibians) in Science class.  In art class, we look at pictures of frogs and observe the details and draw them as realistically as possible. They do some practice sketches first and then I teach them on the whiteboard some steps to draw a frog if they are struggling.  They outline these frogs with green marker and color in with crayons.  Then, they are cut out and glued to the pond.  Some of them glue down the legs and bend them so the frogs pop off the page, and some of the kids glue them down flat. 

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