Saturday, January 28, 2017

Just Keep Swimming

This is a project that I do with 3rd graders.  Years ago when I would do the Original Works program at my last school, this is the piece that I would have done with my 3rd graders.  Of course, it has evolved and changed over the years, but I feel like I get great results from it each time.
It has been about 4 years since I've done this with my kids. I was looking to make some changes in the way we do our Eagle's Art Night, and the art work that would be displayed.  The previous three years, I was working part time with another art teacher and we each did our  own lessons with students.  We also did several different lessons with each class so that we would have a variety of things to hang for the show.  So basically I was teaching a different lesson with each grade level every single day! This was great for the show, but was extremely hard to organize and really made for a stressful environment when it came to the teaching part.
Since I was going to be teaching full time this year, I decided that we needed one good lesson from each grade level that encouraged individuality from these little artist.  So that is when I remembered what great variety there was with this lesson.  I think the framing part of this lesson really helps making the artwork look unique.
We practiced drawing different sea animals for a couple art sessions so that they could be sure and pick something that they could draw well.  One of the most difficult things is having them narrow down what they want to draw.  (Because they would draw it all if I would let them.)  I really tried to get them to focus on one or two animals.
So, putting emphasis on one or two animals, and really doing a good job. This is also a great lesson to talk about underwater landscapes, from mountains to valleys and the coral reef and the ecosystems within these marine biomes.
You can really pack a lot of science into this lesson, and what administrator doesn't like that?  So, if you are looking for a lesson that does it all, this is both a parent pleaser as well as your admin.


  1. Hi! I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how to relate the science info without taking too much art time? I love the idea of having them practice different animals and choosing their best ones for final drawings! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi there, sorry for the delay in response. So for the hook, I showed the kids this youtube video, It is too lengthy and the kids seem to really like it. Then day one they look through a big stack of step by step ocean animals that I have, they can use these or not. Plus, I tell them that those are just guides, theirs shouldn't look exactly like those. They practice these animals and make their final choices. Day two, we talk about the topography of the ocean and brainstorm as many things as we can think of; trenches, volcanoes, mountains etc. I have them think about their chosen fish or animal and where that animal might live. Then we also talk about food chains and what animals might be living together, which animals might not. A lot of this is while they are doing their drawing. The kids love it!