I have a bunch of books in my classroom. Most of the Art books I have purchased are kept safe at home but I have quite a few for the students to read if they finish their art projects early. Some of the books were given to me by a new classroom teacher- she had her own classroom library and the old teacher left them behind and some I picked up when the library was retiring them. My classroom books are either about artists or just have awesome illustrations. One of the books I picked up with really cool illustrations is "Old Black Fly" by Jim Aylesworth with pictures by Stephen Gammell. It was kind of an accident that I ended up doing a lesson on Old Black Fly. I see my K-3 students once a week on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. We missed a couple Mondays and Fridays because of snow, holidays, and parent teacher conferences so I had forgotten that my Tuesday classes were a week ahead of the others. I remembered about half an hour before my 2nd grade classes came in that they were already finished with their previous assignment so I went to my book case to find a new project. The photo above shows the book cover and my example of the follow the leader drawing.
First, I read the book to the students. Old Black Fly is about, well, an Old Black Fly. The book goes through the alphabet and tells the story of all the things that Old Black Fly was up to. The story has great rhythm and repeats the phrase "Shoo Fly! Shoo Fly! Shooo!"
I used to not be a fan of "I draw, you draw" or "Follow the Leader" drawings but now I can see the value and think they are great, like everything else, when used in moderation. Follow the leader drawings are a great way to give direct instruction and model the thought process we use to make drawings. I think it was beneficial for my students to see me mentally break down my reference image into shapes, and after the drawing was laid out, to see how I blended colors. We used gray construction paper (I had a ton donated, very exciting!) and construction paper crayons. We did use a regular red crayon to do the outermost ring on the eyes and later a black crayon to trace around the eyes. I stuck my paper on the chalkboard and laid out the drawing in sharpie to make it easier for the students to see.
Here are two student examples:
One of the students (artwork not pictured) started to get upset and said that he "messed up" his drawing. I told him that we were going for the illustrator's style and it was impossible to have messed up!
There was a little extra time with this class so they used crayons to add scribbles like the splatters in the book.