Winter Trees - 3rd Grade

I wanted to do these amazing trees last year - but alas, it NEVER snowed.  Well, this year we totally had snow and plenty of it.

I had third graders learn a new way to draw trees - now, I'm not a big proponent of teaching kids HOW to draw something - but I also know that getting kids to draw two sides of the branch instead of just one wasn't going to happen spontaniously.

So, first I projected a picture of a winter tree and traced sections of it on the board for the kids - making sure to really drive the point that we are drawing the outside of the branches, not just the middle.

Next I showed students a pattern on my traced tree.  There is a "V" and that v grows longer into branches. (see picture).

We continued this pattern till we had a tree.

I explained to students that this pattern may make sense in their brains, but when they go to draw, it might be more difficult than they expected.  Most students poo-poo this and think "I got this Ms. Novak - it's EASY" and then when it comes to paper and pencil it is more "Uhh Ms Novak - I need help."

I have students practice trees on some scrap paper till they get the hang of it - then I let them pick out a color of construction paper and start on their final.

After their tree is finished, they color with brown oil pastel(or white if they want a birch tree - most stick with brown).  Once their tree is all colored we talk about how when it snows - the snow sticks to the top of each branch.  Students take a white oil pastel and color white on the top of each branch.  Now, some kids totally get this and others get lost in the idea that the top of EVERY branch is colored white - not just the top branches.  Students that get stuck on this idea often travel with me to a window and look at how the branches don't line up under each other - thus letting snow land on each one.

Last but not least, MY FAVORITE PART!!!! -- If students wish they may add some glue to the snowy parts of their trees/ground and add some white/clear glitter!  I know many art teachers and custodians HATE glitter -- I happen to love it.  I love how it sticks to everything and travels through the whole school.  It makes me feel like there are little art fairies bringing joy to all.

Despite the fact that I tell kids 'how' to draw a tree - they all end up as unique as the students that draw them.  Short of giving up on the project EVERYONE succeeds, because - well, all trees look different, no two trees look exactly the same so there is no "my tree doesn't look like a tree".

Yay!  High success!

1 comment:

Peggy Driscoll said...

Thank you I will try this project this winter!