Wednesday, August 10, 2011

3rd Grade Funny Fish

I taught a similar lesson to last year's 3rd grade using dried up markers to "paint" underwater scenes.  This year I started thinking about all the cool fish names I had heard before and wondered what other names would work for the idea I had forming... I found a list of common fish names on Wikipedia and narrowed down the list to names that could be used to make funny illustrations.  I told the students I didn't want them to draw what the fish really looks like, I wanted them to draw what the name made it sound like it should look.  It was hard to describe with words exactly what I had in mind, so I drew out a name and demonstrated.  

My example- Trumpet Fish
I printed out my narrowed down list and cut the names apart.  I put all the names in a tub and asked the students to draw out a name.  I didn't just let them pick because I wanted to get some variety and avoid a whole grade's worth of hammerhead sharks and clownfish.  There were actually enough fish with good names on the list that we didn't have any repeats.  I did let the students trade fish names with a classmate if they wanted and if they really didn't like the name they drew the first time, I let them draw out one more then they could use the new name or the original.  Some students didn't understand why the fish name was funny so I explained it if I could and realized that some names were beyond a third grader's understanding! :)

The rest of the first day was spent making a line drawing of their funny fish.  I asked them to draw the fish first then work on the background.  I also stuck with my suggestion of drawing the size of your hand to fill the space.  On day two, the students dipped the dried up markers we had been collecting in water to "paint" with them.  They also brushed water over the marker pigment to help spread it more.  I'm not sure why the marker painting didn't seem to go as well this year.  I had some students who just couldn't break out of trying to make it look like a marker drawing instead of a painting.  We did get some cool results but I'm thinking this idea would actually work better with older students.  A lot of the projects could have been improved if the students had made color choices that went with the name of their fish instead of just their favorite colors.  All in all, I'd say it was a decent project, but not great.  If I do a marker painting next year, I won't do funny fish again.

Lady Fish
Mustache Triggerfish
Lamp Fish
Mosquito Fish
Finger Fish
Sleeper Shark

Mullet Fish!


  1. Excellent lessons on your blog! I teach art in Kansas too!

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  3. Hi Katie,

    Thanks for sending me that link - I should finally get a chance to check it out today!

  4. Ha ha! What a great lesson! My classes will love it!