Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Art Lesson!
A lot of times I avoid doing holiday themed artwork with the kids, I feel like they do enough of that on their own and even a little in their classrooms. But I really enjoy teaching this lesson and the kids really love it too, so this one usually makes the cut in my classroom.
I start the lesson by asking my fourth graders what they think of when they think about Christmas. I teach at a Catholic school, so I feel 100% comfortable asking this question to my kiddos. After we've shared a pretty good list of associations, I show them a finished example of what we are going to make. I ask them to tell me what they think we are going to do based on our introduction and the example they are seeing. After a few (usually pretty accurate) guesses, I explain what our focus of the lesson is going to be. Most of them have noticed the theme of patterns and designs and most of them have pointed out that there is a word within each ornament. I address variety as well as positive and negative space with them because few students have noticed that none of my ornaments have outlines nor are they entirely colored in, yet we still can see the clear shape of each ornament.
To keep it simple and since the focus for me on this project is line and shape designs as well as the use of negative space, I give them stencils to use that I have made myself from poster board. Some of them are ornaments, some are in the shapes of trees, and some are crosses. I also give them the option to free draw their own outlines. I just encourage them to use "whisper lines" for their outline so that we can erase it at the end. I ask the kids to choose one word (though I don't stop them if they use multiple) in each of their ornaments and to FILL the rest of their space with patterns and designs. This lesson usually takes the kids 2 class periods (I have them for 55 minutes each class period), so for the first class period, I have them plan out their designs in pencil. In the middle of the first class period or at the beginning of the 2nd class period, I share my "pattern and design cheat sheets" with them (these are just printed examples). I still encourage them to make each pattern/design their own unique creation if they are using my cheat sheets for inspiration, but I still get a few copy cats. They finish their designs off with skinny marks and erase their original outlines. Some of the kids really struggle with the whole "no outline" and "not entirely colored in" concept, but I encourage them all to avoid these things. If they want them to look like lights or ornaments, I show them how to free draw strings for them to hang from, otherwise they can be free floating shapes. Okay, enough talking about the lesson, let's get to the good stuff! More photos: