After we finished our Eric Carle unit, requested by teachers (which turned out great), we headed straight back to the Australian outback to finally begin creating our rain sticks which we had designed a while back. We reviewed some of the history surrounding aboriginal lifestyles and the dot paintings that come from Australia. I’m excited about these because they will be ready, just in time for our 1st grade Fine Arts night!
To start the process, we began our caps for the rain sticks using craft paper. I cut the pieces to be 3inchesx6inches which will allow for two, 3×3 pieces to cover the ends of our tube. The reason I left it as one sheet was classroom management – it was simply easier to keep track of one piece of paper for each student rather than two.
Students received their paper and together as a class, we added our names and then the fun part, we crumpled it up! There’s no way stiff paper was going to cover the ends easily so we had to create the illusion of leather or cloth by crumpling, flattening, re-crumpling, flattening and so forth. We did this about three times. It was important to avoid tearing so be sure to instruct students to go slow when the crumple and flatten.
From there, we began our paintings. Each table had a dab of yellow, orange and red paint. Using the ends of a paint brush, students were shown and then experienced themselves, dotting designs on their crumpled paper. I encouraged line designs…putting the dots in a particular order. I also asked that they do all of the dots they wish to be yellow first, then orange, then red. Students understood that this was because yellow won’t do much to orange and orange won’t do much to red when mixed only a little. But the opposite order could definitely change things.
Students took off from there and the results were great! We filled our papers and let them dry. 1st graders had a blast breaking the rules by getting paint on the ends of the paintbrushes and we can’t wait to start our rain stick sleeve! Stay tuned!