These Eric Carle inspired fruit collages were one of the last assignments my Kindergarteners completed this school year. We spent 3 class periods on the project but covered a lot of concepts!
Color- Complementary, Analogous
Painting- Wax Resist, Tempera
Collage- Cutting, Gluing
Space- Positive and Negative
In the first class period, I showed an animated video of The Very Hungry Caterpillar that I found on YouTube. I wish I had noticed that it is the story this month on Barnes & Noble's Online Storytime so we could have had Eric Carle read it to us! After the video, we talked about how the illustrations were made and watched a video clip of Eric Carle painting papers in his studio. I gave each student a 6x9 inch piece of paper on which they used crayons to create texture. I explained that the students would be making fruit collages and we talked about the colors of different kinds of fruit. The students chose the appropriate color of watercolor paint and used it to create a wax-resist painting.
In the second class period, I introduced the concept of complementary colors since the background would be the complement to the fruit's color. I explained that complementary colors are like best friends- they are opposite on the color wheel but make each other look brighter when they are side by side. I quizzed the students to make sure they got it. (If you painted a red apple, what color will your background be? If you painted a yellow banana, what color will you use?) Next, I demonstrated painting with tempera and adding texture using a texture comb or the wrong end of the paintbrush. For the first class I taught this lesson to, I gave every student a piece of gray construction paper since I figured it would be covered up anyway. These ended up being a little dull. In the next classes, I gave the students a piece of construction paper analogous to the color of paint they would be using on their background. (Ex: If their background would be painted purple, I either gave them blue or red paper to paint on top of.) This made things a lot more colorful and interesting when hints of it show through. This did add considerably more time to set up but I think it was worth it.
On the third day, I asked the students to draw the outline of their fruit on the BACK of their wax-resist paper. I checked each one to make sure it was big enough (touching at least 2 sides of the paper) before cutting. After the students cut, I came around and punched a 1 inch hole in their fruit somewhere to show where the caterpillar munched through like in the book. This allowed us to talk about positive and negative space. The students glued their shapes down and we shared scraps to make stems and leaves if needed.
*I bought a Martha Stewart 1 inch punch at Michaels for this project and I really like it! It was on sale so the price was reasonable and it seems really sturdy. I saved the painted paper circles that were punched out and used them on my hallway signs. I may get really ambitious next year and use the circles to make a bulletin board border.
Students who missed one of the painting days were given a regular piece of construction paper and crayons to create texture. For fruit that needed more than one color, like watermelon, they used solid colored construction paper for the accent.