Paul Klee's The Golden Fish was the inspiration for this project. I like starting off the year talking about lines with Kindergarten and since we had a fish theme school-wide, Klee's painting was a very appropriate starting point!
When introducing or reviewing lines, my favorite thing to do is draw a line on the chalkboard then we draw the same line in the air with our fingers. I haven't read a whole lot about "whole brain" teaching, but I've been told that incorporating actions activates a different part of the brain. If nothing else, I figure it helps students with different learning styles. (And it's kinda fun.)
This was a two class period project. I always forget how long it takes just to get names on papers at the beginning of the school year with Kindergarten. So half of the first class was labeling papers and introducing lines. We looked at Klee's fish paintings and pointed out all the cool lines we could find before the students drew their own fish. I asked them to only draw lines and shapes, not to color anything in with their pencils. I did not show students how they had to draw a fish. When the "I-can't-ers" and the "I-don't-know-how-ers" acted helpless, I pointed out how Klee used simple shapes to make his fish. Next, I showed the students how to trace over their pencil lines with crayon trying to press really hard.
In the second class, we reviewed lines again and the students used blue crayons to draw lots of different kinds of lines around their fish to represent water and mimic Klee's painting. I also showed them a couple different ways to draw "ocean plants" at the bottom of their papers. To create the resist, students painted their papers with large brushes and watered down tempera paint. I wish I had been brave enough to give them black instead of blue because I love the contrast in Klee's paintings. I was afraid that their lines would totally disappear since most of the Kinders don't quite have the hand strength to press hard enough with crayon and had to really be encouraged to go back over their lines. This is a project that I thought was just turing out awful until I came back after a couple days at my other school and looked again. I think it has potential, but if I do it again, I will probably wait until later in the school year and let the students use whatever paint colors they want with watercolor.
My Monday classes once again had to do a shorter version of the project so they just had crayon drawings with no paint.