Saturday, April 19, 2014

Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed

I call it "soul teaching." The moments when you choose an activity, lesson, project, whatever…to feed your own teaching soul. Something that is authentic and valuable and worthy for the children to do. And you choose to do it so at the end of the year you can leave knowing in your heart that you and your children did something beautiful. 
My most recent "soul teaching" project was for my kids to paint these flowers. Because here's the real deal: I have 26 kids, the room is too small, we don't even have room for art or an easel, we are in the midst of end-of-the-year assessments. STOP! I NEED BEAUTY! 

Here's how your kiddos can make Eric Carle flowers inspired by The Tiny Seed. 
Click to get book from Amazon.

For inspiration, we watched this video in which Eric Carle shows how he paints his papers.

First, have each student paint two papers.
I provided tempera paint and finger painting paper. I used this kind of paper because it is thin and shiny. 

A student paints red, yellow, or orange all over one piece of paper. This is for the flower. She then paints one of the other colors on top of the wet first coat. I encouraged the students to paint swirls, dots, stripes, squiggly lines, etc.

Next the student paints a piece of paper solid green. Since the paper was slippery, the brush itself leaves nice texture lines in the paper. Plus, you know how kids paint…side to side, in circles, then up and down. It's fun to watch their concentration when to our eyes the painting looks so random.

Next, the students will prepare the pieces for their collages. I did provide patterns for the petals and the flower center. I felt like the kids would need some help with how big to make the flowers to they filled the background pages. Have each child trace a center and petals on the BACK of the painted papers. 

Now for the cutting. Each child should cut out the center and petals. My kids were surprised to see how their petals looked after cutting them out. Next each child should cut out a stem and petals. I did not provide patterns for these as you'll notice in the photos.

Here's a cute moment when some of the boys decided to compare their stems to the art in our big-book version of the story.

This is an important step! Direct each child to arrange her collage pieces (petals, center, stem, leaves) on the background paper. When she is pleased with the arrangement, then she can glue. I want the students to learn that artists are thoughtful about their work.

After arranging the pieces, a student may glue. Provide brushes and glue that has been diluted with a little bit of water. A student paints the glue on the back of the collage pieces, making sure to go all the way to the edges. He should press the pieces flat onto the background paper.

Last step! Splatter paint the flowers and background paper to resemble the cover of The Tiny Seed.

After the project, you'll have lots of scraps. I'm putting these in our art center to inspire more collages.

I took a picture of each child's flower so that I can upload them into artsonia. I'm thinking the art would make great Mother's Day gifts. Drop me a note if you decide to do some "soul teaching" with this art project!

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  1. This looks like fun, I need to do this with my kinders!
    Meet me at the zoo…

  2. The process seems so authentic (with actually wanting them to experiment with brush strokes, patterns) and the end result is so beautiful! I have 28 3rd graders in our little room now, so I'm not sure if I will have the physical space to do this, but I'm pinning anyways! :) Thanks for sharing!

    Tales of a Teacher

  3. I am absolutely in LOVE with this project. The flowers turned out beautifully, yes, but I also love that you took the time to slow down, and do something you saw as having value and authenticity, like you said. THIS is the stuff those sweet babies will remember :) Love, love, love!

    First Grade Fairytales