4th Grade Endangered Species

You ever work on something for awhile, scratch your head and wonder… “I’m not so sure about this…”? Honestly, that’s what I was thinking during the 3rd day of this project. HOWEVER, on the fourth day, the students used oil pastels and seriously pulled it altogether. I wish I had taken a “before” and “after” picture so you could really see what I’m saying. The students were given examples of Andy Warhol’s series on Endangered Species. They are BRIGHT. And very… unexpected colors. I asked my fourth graders – WHY? Why would Mr. Warhol choose to paint pictures of endangered species in crazy colors? This brought on a very good conversation! So many good responses. Perhaps it was a dream? Maybe he thought the colors were how the animals felt? Maybe it was a fundraiser to preserve the habitat of the endangered species? I teach some smart students, you guys! Here are some of the examples they looked at:

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First of all, it’s hard, I repeat – HARD to paint a realistic picture. Now imagine you’re 8 years old. It’s hard!! But these guys did it, and when they used the oil pastels it seriously truly made them look so amazing. It was just an awesome finishing touch. Outlining the animals, giving the extra details, adding some more interesting patterns. They look so so good! Last week I wasn’t 100% sure if I would repeat this project next year. But now I KNOW I am!

Objective: 

  • Students will be able to create a drawing of an endangered species in a realistic manner, and add paint to the picture by using unexpected colors.

Concepts:

  • Expression: Personal Meaning, point of view, mood
  • Criteria For Judging Art

Steps:

  1. Week One: Students were introduced to the lesson, given examples, we had an awesome discussion. 🙂 They were given handouts of pictures of endangered species and were given the choice as to which one they wanted to draw. They drew their picture first to practice. Some I let trace to bring their confidence up and show them they COULD do it.
  2. Week two: Students looked at their practice drawing and re-drew the animal on a larger paper (11×11). I emphasized drawing BIG (this is hard for elementary aged kids!). Some students started painting this week.
  3. We finished painting.
  4. Added the finishing touches with the oil pastels. I told them to start by outlining the animals. We looked back to Andy’s pictures and talked about picking contrasting colors that would pop. Colors that set the mood, etc.

And here are their finished products! 🙂

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