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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall Leaf Watercolors

After collecting leaves of various shapes and sizes from the school grounds, I discussed with my first grade art students why leaves change colors and fall off the trees in the fall.  I used the example of the tree being a mama who grows weary and tired when winter nears.  She needs to rest- she has been working hard all year to feed and nourish all her baby leaves.  So, being like most mamas who need to rest, she shakes her babies from her limbs and tells them that they need to get off her, she needs some time to rest.  I asked the students if their mamas ever said that to them, and the answer was a resounding "YES!"  The analogy just came to me when I started talking about the leaves, because like most things in my life, I relate to my parenthood.  I told the students that after the mama starts to rest and can't feed her babies anymore, making them green, that's when the colors that were always in them begin to appear.  We talked about how water, sun and chlorophyll all play their part in making the leaves green.  The art lesson began with science, and ended with coloring and painting.
Placing the leaves underneath their watercolor paper, the students used rubbing crayons to rub on top of the paper and make their leaves appear- this never fails to make them "Ooooh and Ahhhh!"  It's like magic!  Then, using a warm color palette, the students painted in their leaves with watercolors and washed their backgrounds with cool colors.  This was a one part lesson with beautiful results.

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