Sunday, August 14, 2011

Neighborhood Landscapes

The beginning of the school year can be a bit boring for me because I spend the first week explaining the rules and procedures (27 times) then my 4th and 5th graders spend two weeks taking drawing assessment tests. Thankfully this upcoming week my third graders are ready and raring to go. A fun project I like to start the year off with is Neighborhood Landscapes. This project is great to review 'line' and a nice simplified way to introduce space and perspective. This can take between 2 or 3 forty minute classes for us to complete.

We begin by discussing different kinds of lines, then how lines like 'horizon lines' can show distance in space... foreground, middle-ground, and backgrounds.  (I slip in a bit of reading in our textbooks, identifying parts of landscapes in various visuals, and discuss proportion in space)

Then we get to the fun stuff...what kinds of things we can find in our neighborhoods: houses, apartments, street lights, mailboxes, sidewalks, streets, cars, etc. I like for the students to call out all their ideas and I write this list on the board so they can look back to it later.

Then we begin using horizon lines. We don't want flat landscapes here in Alabama, so we draw 3 wavy hill side lines. 1 in the lower half of the paper for the foreground, 1 in the center for the middle ground, and 1 near the top for the background. (I sometimes have a wavy cardboard template for my students with special needs) Students then draw all their neighborhood objects. ** I remind them that the objects at the top will be smaller and the objects at the bottom will be larger to create that perspective.

When their neighborhoods look full and active, students then trace with a permanent black marker. We don't want our lines to get washed away later.  Students then use crayon to color all object except for the sky and grass (Press down hard with crayon!). Lastly, students can paint their sky and grass using liquid watercolors. In person, the resist is lovely.

I love these works because each one will be different and my students will come up with some incredibly fun ideas that I could never have thought of on my own. Here are some from the 2010 - 2011 school year.

Love the dog walker and Walmart truck.

Great perspective and love the lost balloon

There is a horseback rider in this one.

So many different kinds of  interesting houses

Materials used for this project: Pencils, Erasers, Fine pt sharpies, Crayons, liquid watercolor in blue and green (also tempera cakes work great for this resist), 12 x 18" white paper

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