• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

Monday, January 25, 2010

shape people

These crazy-colored shape people are done by first grade students. They are an outgrowth of the bubble people I do with Kindergarten students. The goal is simply to move children away from drawing stick people and toward drawing people with whole bodies.

I introduce the lesson by having students name the shape of the head (oval, not circle), and talking about the elbow and knee as joints that join the upper and lower parts of arms and legs. We move our arms and legs in different poses. I then demonstrate the light drawing of a bubble person on a chart paper, using a pencil. I show how to outline the outside of the entire body shape with a marker, as this is a tricky thing for some students.

Students draw bubble people in pencil, one bubble at a time: head, neck, body, two-part arms, and two-part legs. I talk them through the body parts so that they don't leave anything out. Then they outline with marker around the outside of the "bubbles" to create a stylized person shape. They erase the pencil lines and "crazy-color" the resulting shape. If there's still time, they do a second one, either smaller or larger than the first. For this activity, we skip doing faces or other additions to the people shapes, and concentrate on bright colors and/or patterns. Some children have a hard time outlining the entire outside of the shape and outline each bubble instead, or cross through joints. I try to stay close and help them with their second drawing.

Other lessons in this activity are how to use and care for the markers (cap on the end while drawing, cap snapped shut when finished to preserve ink), how to use your empty hand to hold the paper still while outlining, and how to erase (just the line, not all over the paper), When there is fifteen minutes left (classes are one hour), I tell students that whatever they are doing right now, it is the last thing they will do: If drawing bubbles, they will outline and erase and stop. If they are outlining, they will finish and stop. If they are coloring, they will finish and stop. Some student work, then will have one or two "colored-in" shape people and one "blank" one. After putting away materials, students walk around the room looking at everyone's work. I ask them to look for something that is completely different from everyone else's. After they've seen everyone's work, they share what they've noticed.

Sometimes I display these in a long line across the top of the white board or over a window. Looks great!


Klaire Pearson said...

Your bubble people are fantastic! I'm sure it helps your students in the long run too. I like that some of the pictures are showing bends in the arms correctly because they took the time to break down the shapes instead of just drawing the outer contours.

Renee said...

Thanks Klaire. I love these bubble people, and have actually incorporated many different variations. I think my favorites are the ones that are cut out and mounted on black construction paper, positioned so that some of them overlap. I don't have pictures of those here, but they were pretty cool.