This year, I am really into the holidays. I don’t know why, but I’ve been wanting to decorate for Christmas starting right after Halloween. I’ve embraced holidays in my classroom this year and we are doing lots of “seasonal” lessons. It’s actually pretty cool because these lessons also help to teach some important skills. Pumpkins are a great way to teach how students to draw using the shape of the object and how to blend correctly.
We did this lesson with chalk. Chalk is fun and forgiving, and one of my favorite art mediums. I didn’t take many photos of the finished pieces but hoping it gives a taste of what we did.
First, we learned how to draw a pumpkin, then how to draw overlapping shapes. This was actually a review for some of the students as they had learned how to draw pumpkins starting in second grade. Then students were given a large piece of black paper and they drew their pumpkins. Then they traced the pencil with glue. I find glue to be very helpful in encouraging students to draw in each shape separately. It keeps them from coloring the entire thing one color.
I gave every student a color wheel. We watched videos about the color wheel and we discussed friends (analogous colors). We also talked about complementary colors to make our work really pop. If you use one color for the subject, you can use its complementary color (opposite on the color wheel) for the background. Students then placed three pieces of chalk on the wheel to see how they would work in making their pumpkin. To make things easy, we worked with the lightest color first.
To teach my students how to blend, I had them turn their paper so the pumpkin would be sideways and easier to work with. Then I taught them the “windshield wiper” method. I told them we were going to use our finger to blend the colors and we would be wagging our fingers (or hands) like a windshield wiper. Or, you could say, the “No, no, no” method. Wag that finger back and forth.
To blend, you simply create a rainbow with your three colors in the shape, starting with the lightest color at the bottom of the rainbow. Then you windshield wiper away inside each shape. That should give you good blending results because you are blending with the shape of the pumpkin.
To finish, we used analogous colors on the grass, but we made short strokes and no blending. The sky is a combination of blending or stars.
The finished results are amazing and people couldn’t believe it was second grade. In fact, adults have asked me to teach a class so they can make them too. Makes me feel really proud.