Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Dragon Obsession - version #1

So I have this 'thing' for dragons, and I'm forcing it on all my students!

I want every grade level to do a dragon project of some sort before I retire in June. We'll display them all together somehow in our K-12 art show in May.

Third graders are the first dragon-makers. They were beyond excited about this project, and the craziest most problematic kids forgot to misbehave they were so into their dragons.

I didn't want the kids to copy my, or any other version of a dragon. Since they are mythological, the stuff of legends, I wanted kids to feel free to make their own decisions about what dragons should look like. We brainstormed for ideas about what a dragon should look like, and put a huge list on the white board. It included stuff like claws, spikes, horns, sharp teeth, breathing fire, long neck, wings, scales, tendrils, mean eyes, a tail, and much more. We agreed that their dragon should probably have SOME of these things for it to be identifiable as a dragon, but it didn't need them all. We talked about Chinese dragons being serpentlike without wings, vs a dragon with big wings and a dinosaur or other reptilian body.

The kids began by sketching their ideas on newsprint. Then each student was given a piece of peel-and-stick clear vinyl (I got a boatload of it donated. YEAH!) The dragons were drawn with a black Sharpie and colored with colored Sharpies. We discovered that in an emergency, you could 'erase' by coloring over a mistake with a light-colored Sharpie and QUICKLY wiping it off with a tissue. One marker essentially erases the other, and this was a great problem-solving discovery.

Then each student was given a piece of aluminum foil. The foil was crumpled and then flattened, and the vinyl was peeled and stuck on the foil. Then the foil was cut out around the dragon, leaving a silver-colored edge showing. This idea was adapted from an awesome fish project that Pat posted here on her blog Sharpie Woman. (Thanks, Pat!)

The dragons were then glued onto pieces of black tag that I cut to size. Cutting them individually was the biggest pain of this project, but there was no way these dragons were going to be the same size.

For the final step, each student picked a piece of colored construction paper to frame their work, and decorated the frame with a black Sharpie.

The kids are beyond proud of these, so I hope you enjoy them!


  1. Those. Are. Awesome! I just love the idea of mounting them on crumpled aluminum foil. Don't forget to post pics of your art show, can't wait to see that many dragons together!!

  2. I really like the foil rim. Thanks to you and Pat for that idea. I still have HUNDREDS of pieces of foil wraps that I got in that giant box at the big box store. This would be another good use for them!!

  3. Phyl the dragons ROCK!!! Love the contact paper idea too. Thanks for the link!