I have been doing this project with 2nd graders for a few years now. We did these a few months ago, but I am just now getting around to putting them on the blog - seems odd that I waited to post these, and now Mr. Sendak is no longer with us.
We start out this project by reading the wonderful book "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak. I tell the kids that their mission is to pay close attention to the Wild Things. When the book is over we discuss what they noticed about the Wild Things. Most of the time students catch on quickly to the idea that the Wild Things are made up of different animals. Slowly through guided questions, we discover that the Wild Things are made up of all sorts of visual texture. We know that the feet are bird feet because of the shape AND the texture. I ask the students what different textures we see should feel like: bumpy, sharp, soft, coarse. I then feel the paper and tell them that the paper feels smooth - so how is it that we see a texture we can't feel. This takes a few moments for them to think, to find words to describe what they know.
After a few students explain their thoughts I put words to their explanations - visual texture: texture we can only see.
While the students are transitioning back to their seats I ask them to think of one animal and raise their hand. When most people have their hands in the air I start calling on students to tell me animals. One animal at a time I build a class Wild Thing. The kids start rolling with laughter when we have a giraffe head, with bat wings, octopus legs, dinosaur tail, and a shark body. I do one in portrait and a different one in landscape - showing how different animals fit better in either picture. I then proceed to make sure I draw on some visual texture for fur, scales, etc.
Next, the students get to start.
- 5 or more animals to make Wild Thing
- Visual Texture
Day 2: On day two students finish up from day one, outlining with Sharpie and getting ready to color. I do a quick demonstration with some tips on how to color the texture so it looks even more bumpy or sharp. Instead of coloring OVER the texture, I show how to color the edges or ends one color and then change to a lighter or darker for the rest. I got lots of 'ooo's' and 'ahhh's' from the kids when they saw the difference. I explained that it wasn't about adding stripes to your work, but layering colors together. (Some students really got this and others really struggled with the idea of layering vs. stripes) For some of the more difficult textures I let students rummage the texture plate drawer to find textures for their Wild Thing and background. I really loved seeing what they came up with.
Students colored their wild things with crayons and colored pencils - which ever gave them the best color choices at the moment. I then had them watercolor large background areas if they wanted/needed.
Day 3: Finishing up visual textures and habitats.