My first graders began a unit in which they were able to create their own textures paper using tissue – it was a “Very Hungry Caterpillar” unit that was requested by my 1st grade team since they had begun reading Eric Carle. This was okay by me as he is one of my favorite illustrators. It was also okay because tissue paper paint is always a thrill. 🙂
Well after some assemblies and Spring Break messing with the schedule, it was finally time to finish our Hungry Caterpillars.
First graders began by creating different sizes of ovals all over their green paper – I encouraged them to go large and most did, but some students really wanted to do a small caterpillar so I compromised so long as they showed they understood how to make different sized ovals. The ovals were longer than they were wide. They cut these out and placed them in front of them. As we had hoped, they were all different sizes so we used our 1st grade math skills to put them in order of largest to smallest. This was a great activity as they began working in pairs to check each others’ work!
Many students laid it out on their paper in order to help visualize the caterpillar. From there, students used drops of glue to place their caterpillar parts in order, touching. I instructed them to start at one side of the paper and work towards the other which easily left room for their head.
Students then got their pink/red mix of paper that they had created using tissue paper and cut out a large circle shape for their head. I didn’t give them tracers because I found it wasn’t necessary. I loved the jaggedness of some of the circles because it really became their work considering how cookie cutter crafty this project was. (I usually don’t go for cookie cutter crafty.)
After they glued their head in place, we discussed the parts of the caterpillar that were still missing: the eyes, the feet and the antennae. Using slick sticks in colors similar to what Eric Carle used, students created these details directly on their insect. Some might argue that the white paper in the background is boring but considering who we had studied as an artist, bright plain white paper is a staple of his book covers.
I loved the way these turned out and students also loved creating something they had become so familiar with.
Coming up next with 1st grade: Aboriginal Rainsticks! We had designed these previously and will now begin to make real working rain sticks!