• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

about sky...

I am always intrigued by the way kids will tackle sky. Often, they draw puffy clouds and then color them blue, leaving the "sky" part white. I will ask, "What color are clouds?" and they always say, "white" and I just say "hmmmm... yes they are...." and wander away, leaving them to ponder their blue clouds. So one day I decided to teach second graders a sky technique.

I started by having a discussion about what the word "landscape" means and what we might see in a landscape. I had them all look out the window and describe what was closest to the classroom (a few trees) and to notice how large they looked compared to the ones far away across the field. I had posted a sheet of 9x12 white paper on which, with a black Sharpie, I drew a couple of trees, fairly large. Then I asked what else might be there: Rocks. Water. Grass. Flowers. Bushes. I put in some of those things. Then I added some low hills in the background, then another layer of hills behind those, and some mountains behind those. 
I then colored in the sky with a broken, unwrapped crayon, using the side of the crayon and leaving some spaces white to suggest clouds. Their reaction? "Oooohhhh....." Another thing I modeled was using the sides of the broken crayons to do some "blending" in the foreground.

I gave them directions to draw a landscape, including hills and mountains in the background, by starting with the foreground and working back. They were to use a Sharpie (so double paper to keep the desks clean) and not color anything in while drawing. After they had the landscape finished, they were to color some of the landscape while leaving some parts white, and create their sky the same way I did. I decided to ask them to leave some parts white partly to save time and partly to focus on their drawings without getting them obliterated.  A few students tried the blending technique while they were coloring their landscapes.

The results were colorful, interesting, and fanciful.

They did a great job and I learned something, too. Most of the kids drew the tops of their mountains near the top of the paper, leaving very little sky space. The next time I try this, I will make sure to emphasize that they leave at least 1/3 of the space for sky. All in all, though, I think they did a great job! And they had a good time, too.