Monday, April 7, 2014

Underwater Unit with 1st Grade

After reflecting on this unit, I have concluded that it is very enriching.


There are several ways to do this project….which is something I’ve been experimenting with for the past 5 years. Since I’ve been teaching, I have always taught some kind of underwater themed project. This year with the first graders I have even been experimenting within the grade level. Some classes tried a ‘salt painting’ technique with tempera paints which was subtle but still interesting for the background. Others used tempera paints to mix cool colors…which turned out to be my favorite.

We also dabbled in GYOTAKU, the ancient Japanese art of printing fish. Gyo meaning fish and taku meaning impression or rubbing. (Keyword: rubbing…that works best.)

Day One:

Painting the background with cool colors.


Here you see some of the salt painting in action. They used a lot of salt! It was messy.


I prefer the plate of tempera paint for this background….I used white, green, blue and purple.


Day Two:

Creating like Matisse…drawing with scissors to collage seaweed and coral reefs into the middleground.


Day Two or Three:  Gyotaku

This year I finally bought those rubber fish for Gyotaku! I have really enjoyed this process and found the best way for me…


Here’s how I set up my “Gyotaku Table”…whoever sits here just merged into other tables for the class period….luckily I had enough space to do that.


The first day I experimented with black tempera paint (cause I was afraid of the mess..) and let the kids pick the fish up to print it onto their paper. That was really really messy.

The next class I tried this with, we used brayers with black printmaking ink. We pressed and rubbed our paper into the fish…this was much better. I realize this is the ‘correct’ way to do it, but I had to at least try the other way. Their prints still turned out okay, but the detail was way better with the ink.