Teachingartonthecheap's Blog

First Grade: Mixed Media Family Portraits

Posted on: March 12, 2010

Creative Reuse Lesson Plan         First Grade: Families

Written by Keri Piehl for SCRAP /Whitman ES 2009-10

Watercolor Family Portrait

Cost per student: $.05

Materials: Newsprint or other 12”x18” paper, crayons, water colors, newspaper, brushes, pencils, various skin tone crayons/markers/colored pencils

Students will create a mixed media family portrait

Elements of art: line, shape, color, space

Vocabulary: mixed media, skin tone

1. Gather students and show examples of family portraits, either photos or painted/drawn. Talk about why someone might want a family portrait –  a record of family history, etc.

2. Give each kid a sheet of paper, and work on drawing family. I began by having them draw a line dividing up the space for a “floor” or ground, then organizing the family. Since the kids at school have a lot of different family situations, I wasn’t worried about them including biological or legal relatives, I just had them draw who they felt was their family.

3. Many kids will draw stick people; make a push to draw clothes, hands, feet etc.

The first day we met, we drew the people, and then colored in their skin. It is very hard for kids to mix up a satisfactory skin color with paint, so I had them use colored pencils or crayons in different skin tones. They tested them out on scrap paper, coloring harder or lighter to get the right color. We also discussed how nobody is truly black or white, in the art sense of the words. People are pinkish brown, tan, etc.

4. Have them use crayons to color in the clothes and any details. We started this on the second day we met up; color thickly so the paint will no bleed into these areas.

5. Demonstrate the proper use the paintbrushes (no “scrubbing”) – we used baby food jars of liquid watercolors, several at each table, with newspaper underneath to absorb any extra paint. I showed them how to paint the background, and then blot their painting with the newspaper so it won’t drip when they picked it up to put it in the hall to dry.

Note: Spreading this lesson over 2 art periods gave kids enough time to complete each step without rushing. I am making a push for quality – no scribbling, thoughtful marks on their papers, etc.

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