It's that time of year when we start to see the hand turkeys pop up. Along with that comes art teachers complaining about the "dreaded" hand turkeys that kids make. You may not believe the following statement from this veteran art educator, but here it goes.
I don't mind the hand turkey! I see nothing wrong with seeing a child (or even an adult) trace their hand and add details to turn it into a turkey.
There, I said it. I'm all about creating and making art in any way or form possible. That even includes those hand turkeys or even an occasional lollipop tree. If someone is drawing, coloring, painting, building, or doing anything else creative - I say go for it! If it brings you joy or puts a smile on your face then by all means make a hand turkey!
Another way to include the turkey into an art lesson - Symmetrical Turkeys
I've mentioned before that I've never built my curriculum around seasonal things, but if I could work it into what we were doing I would jump at the chance. Elementary students enjoy seasons and holidays, and I like to see them happy. There have been a few years where I've worked in this symmetrical turkey lesson -usually with my upper-elementary students. We were reviewing warm and cool colors. I had students paint some different papers with a wet on wet technique using the two color schemes. We saved the warm color one for the background on our turkeys.
We talked about symmetry and shapes that we could use in creating a symmetrical turkey. Folding a black paper in half, we started by creating the head, beak and eyes. Students drew out parts they were going to cut out with a pencil. I showed students how we can use a hole punch to start to cut out an interior section and then just let them go! It was a fun project that involved a lot of cutting practice and problem solving.
Finished turkeys were glued to the warm colored painting background and then students could trim around to the turkey or leave it a full sheet.
So - what's your view on the Hand Turkey? If you are daring enough - share your own version of a hand turkey!
Theresa Gillespie spent over 20 years teaching Art in the Moline School District in Illinois. She has a BA degree in Art Education and a MEd degree in Education & Technology. She also is a graduate level instructor for The Art of Education