I usually meet with my lower grades for an hour. What to do. What to do.
How about revisiting the super cool paintings of Matte Stephens with a different grade level? I shared his website with the 1st graders and we looked at a number of his paintings. We discussed how he creates a lot of portraits of people and animals in his work. He often gives his animals human characteristics. The students got a big kick out of this.
The painting we focused on is titled Cat Family. A very "proper" portrait of a family of felines. Students pointed out that Matte made the humans look humanlike by making them stand up and sit like we do, and by dressing them in human clothes.
After looking at and talking about his work for about 10 minutes, the students and I got busy making our own versions. The creation of the bodies was fairly directed. Students chose how many kids they wanted and what gender they should be. The heads of their animal families was up to them as well. There has been a good amount of variety in the types of animals students have decided to include in their drawings.
Once they got everything in, the students traced all their contour lines with a black permanent marker. The contour lines aren't really present in Matte's original, but I have the students do it so when they use water soluble markers to paint their drawings next week, the edges of shapes will be clear even if the paint handling is a little "loose".
I'm looking forward to seeing how the students add color to these next week, but I thought these interesting characters deserved to be shared before then.
The 40 minute timeframe really worked out perfectly for this 1st part of the project.