Many elementary art teachers like to incorporate seasonal content into the art lessons. Though I never let a season control my curriculum, I did love the change of seasons and often used them in the projects if they fit the learning standard I was working with. This project in one that I found fits in well and the students love to get to paint early in the school year. I had my students painting a lot. I enjoy it and I knew they would too. It's something that most students don't get to do at home, so why not let them do it as much as possible at school. Last year I was placed at a couple new schools. It made me smile when the students were thanking me when we painted. When students enjoy what they are doing they are far more engaged in learning.
This lesson was a line review lesson. One of the learning standards I had for 2nd-grade students was for them to be able to distinguish between horizontal, vertical, and oblique (diagonal) lines. We began the lesson by learning the directional lines. We practiced these by using our arms going in the directions of the lines. I would put mine in a horizontal position outstretched and they would copy and say, "horizontal". The same would go for vertical and diagonal. We would then play a game where I would put my arms in a certain direction and they would shout out horizontal, diagonal, or vertical. I would vary my speed as I changed from one to another. They would laugh when I went too fast. It was a fun way to get them moving and engaged in remembering the lines.
As they drew their pumpkins, I explained that we would paint the pumkin with lines that would go the different directions along with as many different kinds of lines they could think of. They brainstormed with their group different lines they might paint onto the pumpkins. I only asked that the horizontal lines stayed in the background and the vertical and diagonal lines go on the pumpkin. This gave us a chance to discuss background and foreground as well.
I didn't spend too much time discussing color, but mentioned that warmer colors reminded me more of Fall. They painted the pumkins using tempera cakes and liquid tempera.
Technology Extension -
When time allowed, in the last few years I have had a technology extension with this project. We used the iPad app Percolator to abstract our pumpkin paintings. This was a great introduction to creating with the iPads and to Abstract art.
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