The 2nd graders checked out a fish painting by Sandra Silberzweig last week. We used her painting to learn about pattern, contour lines, and warm and cool colors.
The first thing I had students recognize were the main characters and setting. I pointed out how each part of Sandra's image had a black outline or contour line around it. These lines make it easier to see parts after color is added. After that we talked about what made some of the characters different from others- size, direction, color, and pattern. I then talked to them about warm and cool colors. I explained that because Sandra used mostly cools on her fish and warms in her background, the fish stood out from the setting.
Before students started drawing their fish I demonstrated basic body shapes for them. Once their fish were drawn, students added details to their underwater setting. Contour lines were traced after that. When students were ready to begin coloring, I modeled making color patterns with either warm or cool colors on their fish, but not both. I also had them notice how I pressed hard to make the colors bold. Students used the opposite set of colors in the background, pressing hard on parts and softly on others to make parts lighter.