Every year I start off with teaching/reviewing the first element of art: lines. Zentangles are a fantastic way to teach lines and patterns. Zentangles range from easy to complex and students get to practice adding their own twists to the designs they learn how to draw.In conjunction with working with lines, line designs, and patterns, I have my students work together to create some sort of “Welcome Back to School” bulletin board. We throw up our hands in celebration of our school and everyone loves seeing this display in the hall. Please see my tab on “Whole School Projects” for these projects.
For this project, I make all sorts of resources available for the students. Last year I made cards for students to use as a challenge activity and this year I made cards with stick figure drawings. Some of my littles thought they were for coloring, hence the striped cat.
So the kids are working away at copying these designs and WHALA! it hits me. If we can make these designs we should be able to use them in our artwork.
I drew this picture:
Then I explained that most of the picture includes line designs that we’ve been working on in class. The crate of apples is using “brick” and “woodgrain” designs. The flagstone path is really “blobs”, the clouds are “swirly cotton balls”, and on and on. I told the students they can create lots of pictures too using these designs. Then I told students that once we add lots of details using lines, we can color our work in different ways to make our artwork more interesting.
Then I let them go for it.
The above drawings are all from second and third grade students.
This is the great thing about my job. There are certain things I can do to incorporate what students are learning in my class with what students are doing in their regular classroom. For the rest of the year I want to make an “illustration day” during the last days of each trimester. Students will bring in their writing portfolios (stories, poems, research papers, etc.) and illustrate them using the techniques we are working on in class. This will impact my curriculum a little bit as I will not be focusing so much on our art projects during this time, but I think this is important. I have heard that students do not illustrate their work in class because there simply is no time. Well, now we have created some time.
Hopefully, I will be able to post some of their work alongside their written work later in the year. Regardless, I am happy that students are now making more connections between what they are able to create in small parts (zentangle line designs) to adding details in their drawings in their other classes.