Since the leaves were falling outside, they became the subject matter for this exploration. It could really be anything you wish students to draw. I had some leave shapes that the kindergarten students could put under their paper and trace if they wanted or just look at and draw from. I would have preferred to have real leaves for them, but that morning it was raining and plans didn't work out.
After leaves were drawn on the paper, a thick line of glue was applied to the lines. Many students needed lots of time for this. It's unfortunate that many Kindergarten teachers shy away from letting students use bottles of glue. Many forbid it in their classrooms opting for glue sticks that don't ever really stick. Some will use the good old bottles of Elmer's but will pour it into a plate or sponge for students. They need that fine-motor practice of squeezing and applying the glue, so I gave them that opportunity whenever I could.
Once the glue lines were covering the lines, the students sprinkled a generous amount of coarse salt onto the glue. I tapped off the extra and placed them on the drying rack for the students.
The following class, I tapped any remaining salt that isn't stuck down off and passed out the papers and supplies to students.
We had a brief discussion about what they think will happen when they put the watery paint on top of the salt. I wrote down some of the answers to document them with the final products. Here are some of what they said:
Even though many of our lessons throughout the year incorporate different lessons on color theory, we have to start somewhere with our youngest students.
Some of the best times I can remember in the art room with my youngest students were during our first color lessons. Seeing the fun experimentation and pure enjoyment as they discover how colors mix has to put a smile on your face. It wasn't uncommon during these classes that I would look up and see the classroom teacher at the door because we lost track of time.
I like using hands-on ways of introducing the concept of Primary colors and how they mix to make new colors. One of the ways I have done this in the past handfuls of years is with an activity I call Color Handshakes.
The next class we continued the color explorations.
Students were given the three primary colors of tempera paint and a short demonstration on how to use the paint and paintbrush properly. They were left to mix and explore all they wanted. A big 12x18 paper provided lots of room for exploration. A smaller brush (regular watercolor set size) allowed for time to be focused on smaller areas instead of a big mess of washes of color.
As students were working, I would periodically ask what colors they were seeing. It was fun to observe their conversations. One student would look over and ask another how they got a certain color. They were always excited to share what they did to get that color.
There are many fun ways to engage the younger student as they learn about different lines. Encouraging the young artist to recognize and draw different types of lines will help them see things differently and be able to convey what they see. It will also help boost their vocabulary as they learn to describe different lines they see.
One of my favorite lessons classes that I have with a new group of Kindergarten students is introducing them to Line. Most lesson intros have been changed up over the course of my 21 years, however, the way I start this particular lesson has remained the same. After students are settled I told them we would be learning about lines in the next few classes. I then ask them, "Does anyone know what a line is?" 90% of the time I see a hand go up and the following response comes out of the cute little one brave enough to offer an answer up during one of our first classes, "It's an animal that goes roar!"
We all have a laugh together when I explain that I'm not saying, "Lion". I then proceed to draw some different lines as they make their own marks on a paper with crayons. This loosens them up and they are ready to explore lines even more.
Here are some different projects that are great to help Kindergarten students learn and explore the Element of Line.
Monoprints with tempera
Monoprints are great ways for students to explore creating different kinds of lines. Any slick surface can be used. I have used plastic trays, laminated cardstock, and aluminum foil. You can even use plastic ziplock bags. For my Kindergarten students, I squirt some paint on the surface and let them spread it around with a brush or roller. They use cotton swabs or the back sides of paintbrushes to create a design. We put a piece of paper on the top and they rub it around and then pull it off.
This is a great project for these young students because they naturally work quickly.
Paper Line Sculptures
With just a few demonstrations of different folds or curls, the students are ready to create their sculptures. I usually have some glue poured into a paper plate for them to dip the paper into instead of dealing with glue bottles. Before the class is over we take a walk around all the sulptures and I give each student a chance to tell us about it. Some students talk about their favorite part and others go into an explanation of what their sculpture is. It's fun to hear them describe the sculpture as a park, maze, roller coster, house for a creature, and other creative ideas.
What are some of your favorite lessons to introduce the Element of Line?
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