Thursday, November 29, 2012

Winter Value Landscapes (2nd)

Teacher Sample
EQ: What is value?

Once again - inspired by a pin.

So to begin this project I discuss what "value" is with my second graders and we talk about the differences between a "tint" and a "shade".
Then I pass out the papers and sit a cup of blue paint on each table. Each pair of students is also given a styrofoam plate with their own puddle of white tempera on it. We begin by painting a white moon on our page. Then once that is added, students dip their brushes into the blue paint at their table and mix it into their white paint - the first concentric circle is painted around the moon with this color (a very light tint of blue). This process is repeated until the entire page is filled with blue concentric circles.
Snowmen at Night
The next day they come in, students are asked to draw a horizon line with a pencil on their page and paint the ground white (for snow). Once this is done, I talk with the kids about what a silhouette is and show them some examples. On a scrap piece of paper they practice painting a tree silhouette until they are happy with their ability. Then they paint a silhouette (or two .. or three) on their painting. These go on the drying racks.
Then the next day I have my students meet me on the carpet to read the book "Snowmen at Night" by Caralyn Buehner. The illustrations in this book are a beautiful example of how tints and shades can be used to create the illusion of depth in a 2D artwork (with the use of highlights and shadows). We also talk about using a light source (like the moon) to position highlights and shadows more accurately. Students then go back to their tables and use white paint to add the bodies of snowmen to their artwork. A streak of light blue is added for the shadow on the backside of the snowman.
Great extension book! :)
Finally on the last day of the project, students come in and add details to their landscapes using colored pencils. We also talk about how shadows can be drawn on the ground to make their artwork look even more realistic (some end up doing this.. others don't -- but either way is fine). :)
Once they finished, I had my students flip their papers over and do a little bit of creative writing about their winter landscapes on the back.
Overall I am SO happy with my 2nd graders artwork! Absolutely beautiful! I can't wait to do this project again next week with a new batch!


  1. This is such a great art project! As an inexperienced art docent, I must tell you that I really appreciate how you broke down your lesson. Some where else on your sight I saw that you used a PowerPoint, would you be willing to share that? I am happy to find sites like this that allow the parents bring art into the school where there is no official art teacher, thank you.

    1. You can access the powerpoint here..

    2. Thank you so much for sharing such great ideas Mrs. Nguyen! I agree with Amanda Jakositz -- as an inexperienced artist who has been placed in the role of teaching art teacher to grades 3 and 4, this is SUPER helpful! Though I'm not an "art teacher", I still want them to have positive and successful experiences with art; thanks for letting me do that! :)

  2. Hello,
    I am so inspired by this project. I do have an interesting question... Do you start painting on white paper or on blue paper... I could see this working with either. What have you done int he past?