What can be better for 3rd graders than stories of giant birds, sea monsters, and whales that look like islands? Why, the chance to paint, to mix colors, and to interpret the stories their own way, of course! (Note the sheep in the mouth of the giant bird above!)
We began by looking at Paul Klee's painting Sinbad the Sailor, pictured here:
We noted the values of blue in the water. Students folded up papers to make many rectangles, and were given various blue paints, along with white and black. They merrily mixed away, creating as many different blues as they could. NO BRUSH WASHING NECESSARY! If their brush had too much paint, they wiped the excess on a paper towel.
This photo below showed what happened when one brand of white was dipped into a thinner brand of blue. The kids were very excited by this and even more so when I took a photo of the magic in the paint dish.
My original plan for this lesson had a step of creating a second paper using orange, black, white, and blue to create a variety of browns to mimic the sky of Klee's painting. I changed the plan when I realized that it would take too much time that we didn't have.
We looked at a book with the stories of the 7 voyages of Sinbad. I didn't share them all. (For example, I left out the island filled with cannibals, and another island where an old man forced Sinbad to carry him around on his back for days. Just too weird.) We focused on these tales:
- the story of a beautiful island that seemed to be having an earthquake but turned out to be a whale with beautiful foliage growing on its back;
- the tale of seeing a a glowing orb in the distance that turned out to be the egg of a huge bird called a rookh, which was overlooking a valley filled with diamonds and snakes - Sinbad tied a rope to the rookh's leg and was hoisted into the valley when the rookh went down to feed, and came back with a heap of diamonds in his pockets;
- the story of the island of the apes, which included an ogre;
- and of course the tale of a sea monster, which we decided was depicted in Klee's painting.
The whale was a popular story to draw:
But so were sea monsters and ogres,
and of course the rookh and the giant egg.
I think they are each imaginative and terrific; don't you?
Here's one of the two bulletin boards where these paintings are currently on display.