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Arts & Activities - Page 18

O by Debi West LEARNING OBJECTIVES First-grade students will . • • • exploredifferentcolorvaluesasthey watercolor. createaloomoutofpaper. completeaweavingusingstripsof theirwatercolor. MATERIALS • • • • • • Watercolorsandbrushes Watercolorpaper Scissors 9"x12"red,yellow,orange,blue, purpleorgreenconstructionpaper Rulers Pencils The following lesson plan is available at K–Grade 5: X-tra,X-tra,ReadAllAboutIt! LETTER: X Go to for the link to additional “Alpha Art” lesson plans for othergradelevels. ne of our county visual art objectives is to have our first-graders learn the art of weaving. It can seem like a daunting task to teach this complicated skill to such young children, but when given the right amount of encouragement and motivation, our young students can master the art of weaving with beautiful results! During our Alpha Art studies, I combine the art of weaving with the art of watercolor, and while I’m at it, I throw in the art of cool- and warm-color studies, too. This way, students learn several important art techniques, as well as vocabulary words. I begin this unit by having my firstgraders enjoy a fun day of watercolor! They watercolor large sheets of watercolor paper using either a cool-color wash of blues, green and purples, or a warmcolor wash of reds, yellows and oranges. The students love exploring the different values they can get in their washes based on how much water they use, and they really love it when the watercolors “bleed” into each other, creating new colors! Once these are dry, I cut them into strips—lots and lots of strips! The second step for my students is to have them create a paper loom. This is a good time to discuss contrast, as the warm-colored loom creates a nice contrast to their cool-color warp “threads,” and vice versa. (As an alternative to construction-paper looms, children can measure half-inch lines across the paper, making sure to stop at the 1-inch fold. Once these lines have been checked by the teacher, students then proceed to the cutting of the lines—again, reiterating how important it is NOT to cut the 1-inch fold(s), thus preserving an intact top and bottom for their paper looms. Students are always really excited to open their looms and see what they have made! Now the fun part: The adding of the watercolor strips! Students learn about the difference between the warp and the weft, and we dance and sing about how we’re going to weave to the “weft” and the “wight”! I always do a quick demonstration about the “under and over” pattern needed to create the appropriate weaving look. Since students don’t have too many strips to actually weave, they often try it several times before we With encouragement, youngsters learn to weave . with beautiful, playful results. “W”~ Wonderful Weavings create watercolor looms the same way they created the paper that was cut into the strips.) The loom can be a bit tricky so I have my students take their 9" x 12" construction paper and fold it in half. Once this has been checked, students then fold the top down about 1 inch. We discuss what an inch looks like and why it’s important to fold precisely. When the students open up their folded paper, they then have a nice folded top and bottom that is folded down. These folds are not to be touched! We then fold the paper back in half again and use a ruler to 20 glue the strips in place. They are SO excited to see what they have created on their own! The art of weaving can be tough, but when kids are told that it’s OK to try again, they feel a true sense of accomplishment when they complete it on their own. Even if their warp is a bit crooked, or their weft strips are slightly off, the pieces take on a wonderful, playful feel, and the students are all proud of their weaving successes. Wonderful! n Debi West, Ed.S., NBCT, is the Lead Art Educator at North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Ga., and is a Contributing Editor for Arts & Activities. x april 2010

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