1st Grade - Pointillism

Pointillism is something that really fascinates me and I've always wanted to do a project with it - but the school year always seems to run out before I can get to it.  Somehow, this year I've gotten through the majority of my curriculum and still have school days left - fantastic!

I started out by finding examples of pointillism on the internet and putting them into iphoto - I played these pictures in a slide show for the students with the specific question of 'How where these painted?' "What is special with how these are painted?"  I let the slide show play through a couple of times asking the students to raise their hand when they think they know.  I do this for a couple of minutes making sure there is enough 'think time' for everyone.  When most of the class has an idea I ask for students to share what they have observed.  I've never had a class not notice the dots.  I explain to them what pointillism is and who started it.  I continue to ask them questions about the dots - 'Are they far apart?' 'Do they touch?' 'Is there one color?'.  Before we get started I restate that we will be painting our pictures today using pointillism and ask the students how are we painting today - and they respond 'pointillism'.

I then do a demonstration around a table.  I gather the students, a pencil, a piece of paper (6x12 inches), a q-tip, and two colors of paint.  Once they are ready I begin by showing them their size of paper and explaining they need to draw a very simple picture - a hill with a tree, a simple rocket ship, a large flower....... since we are doing pointillism and painting with dots we need to have large open spaces!  After my picture is done I pick up my q-tip, dip one end into a color of paint and start making dots on my paper.  I ask the students if I dipped my q-tip back into my paint each time - they respond 'no'.  I show them what dots close together, overlapping, and what dots far apart look like.  I also show them what it looks like to paint with the q-tip by dragging it instead of dots.  I ask them if they can see the difference and ask if they know who else can see the difference - they respond that I can see it too.  To change colors I show them how to flip over their q-tip and dip the clean end into the new color of paint!  We talk about how pointillism takes longer to paint a picture rather than painting with a paint brush or dragging their q-tip - but that our goal is to not paint fast, but to use dots!

I answer any questions and then send them back to their seats.  I have students pass out paper and pencils while I pass out paint and q-tips.  Each students receives 2 q-tips since I give them 4 colors.  When students are done with their simple pictures, they put on paint shirts and start filling in their pictures with dots!

This actually went a lot better than I expected and plan to up the difficulty next class period and have them use two colors in each section rather than one!

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