Sunday, May 8, 2011

1st Grade Bird Nests

This is a revised project from last year.  I have a "thing" for bird nests.  I have a few real nests that I have collected after storms and am fascinated by the construction.  In one of the robin nests, you can see the mud and grass, but you can also see that the bird used string and plastic, and lots of "recycled" materials. Birds are pretty resourceful and that was the first reason I wanted to do this project!  

Last year, I had the students draw trees with construction paper crayons on colored paper, create patterned papers to cut eggs from, and glue tinted, shredded newspaper on for the nest.  This year, I changed a few things and I like the results more:
Day 1
  1.  Blow thinned brown tempera paint with a straw on white paper to create the branches (like I've seen in so many cherry blossom projects).
  2. Roll a peeled blue crayon on it's side to create a sky with a subtle texture.
  3. Use green crayons to draw leaves.

Day 2
  1. Each student cuts an egg shape out of magazine paper (I pre-cut swatches that had interesting colors, textures, or patterns on them for the students to choose from.)
  2. Glue eggs on the paper, slightly above a branch so it won't look like the nest is about to tumble.
  3. Glue nest materials on paper covering the bottom of the egg.  

This year the nest materials were made up of newspaper that I sprayed with watered down brown paint and shredded, and small pieces of raffia.  I think the raffia adds more interest.  I tried to talk about composition and scale but this was lost on some students.  I talked about "zooming in" on a branch so the nest would be the right size.  Some just couldn't see the brown paint as a branch and instead used it as a whole tree.  First grade logic. :)


  1. Great idea! I used the same technique to make my drippy monsters which you can find on my blog.

  2. I like the technique you used on the trees and the sky! Good idea! I like that you can use the same concept/idea but tweak a few things to get something completely different.

  3. I loved (and used) this lesson last year…

    You're changes are wonderful! Great ideas coming off this blog!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Thanks, glad you like it! I know I have some if your lessons bookmarked, just trying to get a whole bunch of lessons just from me before I use too many from other people! :)

  5. Those turned out just lovely! The newspaper on there is so cool.

  6. This is such a fun project! I can't wait to try it with my class!

  7. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.