My fourth graders have been working hard on their show 'We Haz Jazz' and needed something unrelated to their show to work on. I decided that we should re-visit one point perspective before they go on to the 5-6 building. I thought about doing the traditional exercise of using basic shapes and a vanishing point to understand one point perspective - but the thought did not last long - too easy, thus too boring.
Instead we did one point perspective words - they look like they are flying through space. The students were really excited about the idea. I started by talking about their landscape projects we did last year. I told them they were practicing one point perspective and they didn't even know it! They told me about how things appear to get smaller when they are further away and appear larger when they are closer. I explained that one point perspective is the same thing. I showed them with the idea from above - I drew a dot and square and connected the edges of the square to the vanishing point. They 'whoa'-ed. I repeated this with a triangle. It was effective to have the students see the process even though I didn't feel they needed to do it themselves with the shapes.
I then proceeded to tell them that they were going to do this same thing but with a word. The requirements for their word was this:
1) 4 or more letters
2) School Approprite
3) Robot letters (bubble letters but with corners)
I used my last name on the board as an example. I drew my name in robot letters (bubble letters that had corners - my 'o' was a square instead of a circle) at the bottom of my paper. Next I explained that we would be connecting the tops of our letters to the vanishing point with a ruler. I showed them how to find all the top corners of their letters and connect it with their vanishing point to draw a line.
I told them that I would explain the next step individually when they were done with these first two steps.
When the students were done doing their letters and connecting the top to their vanishing point I made small dots on their letters where they would need to draw a line towards their vanishing point. This is the trickiest part of the lesson. I explain to each kid (which takes a little bit of time - but doing it was a class was just too much for their spacial brains to comprehend) that when they line up their dot with the vanishing point and draw their line - IF they run into another line then the STOP and move onto the next dot. After a couple of sample lines the students understand and race back to their seat to finish.
When all the lines are complete the students draw their background and then Sharpie it all.
The following class the students and I look at a slide show of Roy Lichtenstein - our inspiration for coloring these. While watching the slide show I ask the students to take notice of the colors he uses as well as what makes his work unique. It doesn't take long before hands are shooting in the air and I hear an occasional gasp of air when they figure it out.
We discuss that he uses only primary colors: red, yellow, blue. I explain that their pictures will also only have 3 colors -- they can pick them, but they only get 3 colors for their WHOLE paper. Next the students make comments about the dots they notice all over his work. I explain to them about Benday dots - many times a student will interupt and exclaim that, 'it looks like a comic!' in which I continue to talk about the special dots and how and why they are often used in comics. I always ask if the benday dots are polka-dots and they always tell me 'no' with firm affirmation. I then ask them why and how they know -- this gets a bit tougher. (I love listening to kids learn to articulate what they know is true, but they don't know exactly how to say it.) After a couple of kids we figure out that benday dots are in lines/rows and are the same size -- polka dots can be spaced any way and can be any size. I then proceed to explain that somewhere on their paper there needs to be benday dots - I don't care where or how much, but they need to be there somewhere.
The students are jazzed at this point in the second lesson and are ready to pick out their colors and get started. As students work I walk around and offer encouragement and reminders - mostly that benday dots are in rows not random.