Coral Reef Biome ~ Year 3-4 art lesson

Year 3/4 have been learning about different biomes in their classroom, and in art lessons we have been making artworks about various biomes too. These artworks are focusing on aquatic biomes, specifically coral reefs. For inspiration we looked at the illustrations in the book, ‘Hidden in the Sea’ by Peggy Nille, and the art of Melanie Hava, (@artofmelaniehava) an Indigenous artist from Queensland, near the Great Barrier Reef. We also did an artwork comparison with one of Ken Done’s reef paintings.

Painting the sea was also a lesson about tints by mixing white with blue from light to dark. We used Melanie Hava’s ‘A Reef Wonderland‘ as the inspiration for the sea with a light source from a circle. Students started with a white circle high on the paper, then gradually added more blue in concentric circles until the filled to the edges of the paper and top of reef outline drawn at the bottom.

After looking closely at Melanie Hava and Peggy Nille’s illustrations students add patterns of lines and shapes to the reef. They then draw 3-4 sea creatures in size proportion to each other on a smaller piece of paper (A4). These are coloured in with paint sticks or markers and patterns and details added with paint pens (like Posca)

Next step was colouring the sections of the coral reef with warm colours- we used Zart paint sticks/slicks, as they give the painterly effect, but dry quickly. Paint pens (like Posca) are used to add texture, patterns and plants.

Final step is for students to cut out their sea creatures, arrange and paste them onto the background.

Year 3/4 Victorian Curriculum aligned lesson plan: Learning Intentions, success criteria, links to artist’s work, learning activities, Venn diagram for a comparing two artworks, reference sheet with organic patterns for reef and plants, student self evaluation rubric, student artwork examples.

Please allow a few minutes (it does vary) for lesson to be sent/emailed.

Mixed Media Landscapes ~ Yr 3-6

I did this project with Year 3/4, but would be really great do with Year 5/6 (11-12 year olds). Firstly, students viewed and analysed different types of landscapes by Australian artists, including Streeton, Drysdale, McCubbin, Namitjira, and Nolan.

Students began this project by choosing an Australian landscape type they wanted to depict. We sorted photos into the following categories: Beach, Bush, Mountains, Desert, River and Rain forest.

Students Began by mixing paint colours to match their photo to paint the background/ underneath layer of their landscape inside a sturdy box lid.

Next lesson they began to texture such as sand, tissue paper, bark, etc to the background- furthest away, moving to middle ground and then foreground. When complete they thought of an interesting title for their landscape and filled out a reflection/ evaluation sheet which was stuck to the back of the box.

Lesson Plan aligned to Year 3/4 Victorian Curriculum with learning intentions, success criteria, slides of Australian landscapes for analysis, analysis sheet, lesson activities and discussion questions, examples of student work, reflection/ evaluation sheet.

Farm Scene with George the Farmer- Year 1/2 Mixed Media Art lesson

Student Artwork

This project tied in with our “Picasso Cow Program” where the school was involved in learning about the dairy industry and the health benefits of eating dairy products. The “Discover Dairy” website was a wealth of information with loads of short informative videos.

Firstly, I posed some questions to students to see what their prior knowledge of dairy farms was: What is a DAIRY farm? What does a dairy farmer do? What do dairy farmers do besides milk cows?

We watched some videos from Discover Dairy to give students an insight into life on a dairy farm and were useful to learn about what happens on a typical dairy farm to prompt discussion.

‘George the Farmer’ is a character created by two people from farming backgrounds whose vision is ‘a world where children connect to the earth, food and farm’. Based in regional South Australia, they produce fun picture storybooks about all types of farming and agriculture, with lots of teacher resources as well. https://www.georgethefarmer.com.au We used the picture book: ‘George the Farmer- Ruby and the Dairy Dilemma.’

One of the learning opportunities when beginning our farm scene was about SPACE- foreground, middle ground and background and the size proportions. Students drew a background of farm paddocks, discussing how when things are further away they look smaller. They drew some farm buildings like a dairy, barn or windmill just below the horizon line and added a tractor and maybe a cow in the middle ground.

Students used oil pastels to colour in and food dye wash for grass and sky.

Students then made painted paper for George the Farmer’s shirt and pants, and scraps of painted paper in brown, beige, yellow for the hat, face hands, boots etc. I had several of each shape for the pieces of George in card cut from cereal boxes so the children could trace them on the back of the painted paper, choosing the shape shirt they want. I had painted paper already done for the skin, hat and hair and cut them into smaller pieces to just fit the card shapes so there was no wastage.

I cut out card shapes of the shirt, pants, face, and hat for children to trace around on the back of the painted paper. They used scraps to cut out a belt, boots, hair and hands.

Students paint a print out of a cow and cut out to glue on or the cow could have been drawn onto the middle ground or foreground (larger) instead.

Lesson plan with learning intentions, success criteria, links to useful videos, suggested artist artworks for discussion, template for shapes to make George the Farmer.

Frog Life Cycle~ Year 1/2 Mixed media art lesson

As part of a theme of Growth and Change, Year 1 & 2 discussed changes in the weather and the seasons and nature. We talked about the traditional seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and learnt about the seven Aboriginal Seasons of the Kulin Nation (Melbourne and south central Victoria) by viewing a Calendar. We noted that September and October is called “Poorneet”- Tadpole Season. Some children had said they’d seen tadpoles and small frogs in a local park with a lake.

We watched a video about the life cycle of a frog, with pictures of the stages and changes.

Students painted a lake, pond or creek/river. They formed tadpoles for plasticine and eggs from bubble wrap.

Painted paper was made with browns and greens using texture wands to make frog skin.

Children used templates to help them draw the body parts for their frog onto the back of their painted paper to then cut out and glue together, then place on their pond scene.

Lesson plan with learning intentions, success criteria, lesson activities, links to videos used, frog templates, and Victorian Curriculum links.