Monday, October 3, 2011

1st Grade Colorful Fish

This is my last beginning of the year fish project!  1st grade students drew a fish- I gave no instruction here except to fill the space by drawing a fish at least as big as their hand- then traced their lines with glue and sprinkled with sand.  I told the students we were adding sand to give our fish more texture.  In the second class, we reviewed color mixing and I gave each student primary and black colored tempera paint.  The students could paint their fish and backgrounds however they wanted.  I did not say that their fish had to be swimming in blue water though that is what most students chose.  After the first day, I started giving the student black paint but said it should only be used to paint over the raised sand surface and help us see the outline and details of the fish.  I've found that giving students black paint to mix colors tends to yield monochromatic paintings- usually all a nice mud color.  (By the way, if you want to see some awesome high school mud paintings, look here!)

Classes who only had one session and students who missed the first day of the project painted then added sand if there was time at the end.  My main goal for the project was to review painting and mixing colors- texture was my secondary goal.

Do your students love mixing colors as much as mine?  Green, pink, and "sky blue" seem to be their favorite colors to mix.  I love to listen to the students talk when they are mixing colors.  Even though they've done it before, it still seems like magic to them when they make a new color whether they are in 1st grade or 6th grade.  I love their excitement when they are allowed to just try new combinations and see what happens.

I think this looks like a Mondrian fish!
Check out the rest of the artwork in our Artsonia exhibit!


  1. Beautiful fish! Yes, my students also always love mixing colors, and so do I.

    We're going to be using sand soon too - I'm going to use it for some tree paintings. We'll see how they turn out.

  2. Oooh, that would be perfect for trees!