2nd Grade Pumpkin Print Compositions

This project was inspired by a lesson posted by a fellow art educator (we actually went to college together!).  In her lesson they printed their pumpkins then focused on 'value' for the leaves - I kept the printing of the pumpkins and changed rest of it.  It was a great lesson to leap from - thanks Jess!

That pumpkin has braces.
On the board I have the symbol of a target and I always write our learning objective next to it for that class period.  For this lesson the first day said, "Pumpkin Print Compositions".  I don't tell them what this means, but instead we learn what it means by breaking down each word.

 First we start with pumpkin - easy.  The kids can tell me what pumpkins are with no problems.  Then I ask them where they have heard the work "print" before.  Many students raise their hand and talk about printing on a printer - that is where I spring board into explaining 'printmaking'.  We can take the same image and print it over and over and over and it will still look the same.

That pumpkin is a head!
Next, I ask if they know or have ever heard the word 'composition' before.  This time I get less hands - I give some good wait time to see if students need a little more 'think time'.  I call on a student and sometimes students will tell me they know about composition books.  We quickly talk about what they do in a composition book - they compose a story or a report.  They take DIFFERENT pieces of information and put it together to make sense to the reader.  Then I ask about music class and if there are words close to "composition"  often times I'll get "composer" or "conductor".  We discuss how composers take all the DIFFERENT instruments, organize them and make a 'composition' or a piece of music.  Last but not least I ask them to think about art - if all those 'compositions' take DIFFERENT elements and put them together - what might 'composition' mean in art?!  Most of them can't make the connection right away, often times they over think it and make their answer far more complicated than needed.  I simply draw a picture of the board with 3 or 4 things in it.  I ask if it has DIFFERENT pieces to it - they say yes.  Then I ask if it's organized for the viewer to understand - they say yes.  So I ask if it's a composition - they say YES!  I then ask them to give me a thumbs up or down if the next picture I draw is also a composition.  I then drawn the same picture only organized differently.  At this point I generally have half the class right on target and the rest still a little confused.  I break it down again and ask if it had different elements, is it organized for the viewer?  Light bulbs go off all over the room.  I explain that every time they draw a picture they are composing a piece of artwork.

Scary face in the fence!
Now it's time to get into rest of the lesson.  I tell them that they will be composing a picture with pumpkins in it - but that we will only do the pumpkins today, as they will need to dry.  I do a quick demonstration on how to draw their pumpkin onto a piece of thin foam, cut it out, use a brayer to add ink, print it on their paper.  They need to compose their pumpkins for rest of their picture.

Check out that bat in the moon!
Next class we talk about adding details and background to finish their compositions - but that they need to do it with quality.  I have students brainstorm what quality should look like.  1) Do best work 2) Take your time 3) Color IN not over  4) Choose colors with purpose.  Students and I quickly brainstorm ideas of what could be going on with their pumpkins - in space, haunted houses, bats, on hay bails, under the sea, scarecrows, etc.  Now, being that it's October most of the pumpkins have ghouls, ghosts, bats, jack-o-lantern faces - but giving kids the option is really great especially if you have students who do not participate in Halloween.


Pat said...

Really great lesson! Did the kids swap printing plates? I noticed many different shaped pumpkins on their work.

Ms Novak said...

Thanks! Yes, I let them use each others pumpkins if they wanted -- I also kept them between classes, so my last group of kids have LOTS to pick from while still making their own!

This was a ton of fun and will repeat next year!