Visual Art lesson, under 90 minutes! Start to Finish!

Cardinal in a Tree
Winter is showing no signs of leaving just yet, so I thought I would get in another winter visual art lesson. The students and I have been noticing some cardinals outside lately, their beautiful red colour really stands out against the white snow. I came across a picture of this art activity and made up the directions on my own since there were none to follow. There might be an easier way but my students did just fine with the steps we followed.

Some prep before hand, that is optional: I found a template of a cardinal under images through a google search. I printed it and cut out 5 Bristol board templates that the students could trace if they wanted to for the cardinal's body. Of course depending on your grade the students can make their own cardinals.

Step one: Have a light blue sheet of construction paper portrait style on your desk. This will be the background sheet of your project.

Step two: Tear a white sheet the same size as the light blue across the bottom, making the snow on the ground for your background. Some students made hills, like the ones still in our playground. Glue this to the bottom of your page, the tear side should be towards the middle of your page and the straight cut edge should fit perfectly to your background.

Step three: Tear a darker blue sheet of construction paper the same way that you did the white sheet. This is the sky. Glue this to the background page. The torn side should be towards the middle of your page and the straight cut edge should fit perfectly to the background sheet.

Step four: Fold a black piece of construction paper the same size as your background in half, portrait style. Mark off the frame edge that you will not cut through. Have the students draw the tree, starting at the bottom making it wider and as you come to the top of your page the tree should become thinner. Then draw some branches that stretch to the frame. Very carefully cut out in between the branches and the tree, not cutting the frame edge you started with. When you open it up it should look like a tree with branches with a border all around it.

Step five: Glue the tree onto the background, making sure the base of your tree trunk is at the bottom of your background. (White snow)

Step six:  Trace and cut out cardinals and decorate the details of a beak and wings.

Step seven: Glue the cardinals in the tree.

Step eight: Take a step back and enjoy the incredible piece of art you just made.
These took our class just over 70 minutes to make, start to finish. You might need to help your students with the tree cutting and drawing portion of this project.

DPA Recipe Cards
 I took out my DPA recipe cards the other day and we started using them in the classroom. The students absolutely loved them. Almost every hand went up to volunteer to be a leader. During our language block the next day, we made one together as a class, and using that template I had the students come up with their own. In the past I have grouped students together for this activity but they were so excited I let them do them on their own.  STAY TUNED FOR THEIR FINISHED RECIPES !

WRITING KEY!- Find something they like to write about.

Journal Writing-Finding something the students want to write about is difficult, but when you can, the pencils just don't stop. I had the students think about what they might want to be when they grow up. I talked to them about how that might change from now until then, but that I wanted them to write about what they felt they wanted to be today.

Lists- I worked on teaching the importance of lists with the students, when we use them, why we would use them and then I gave them some activities to put what they know onto paper. In their "Key to Good Writing" books they had to make a list of things they would need for a day at the beach.
Let's face it, they are all getting tired of the snow. Not one student had less than 10 on their list, and most had more than 20.  That is great writing!
In math we are finishing up our measurement with Mass and Capacity.
Here is our Capacity lesson.
We made healthy and delicious fruit smoothies.

Congratulations to Kate for a great "Tweet of the Week" board. Thank you to MOM for a wonderful parent letter. Here is Kate's board.
Here is Owen's Fantastic "Tweet of the Week" board. A special thank you to Owen's mom for such a great poem about Owen.
Indoor recesses have been a struggle to say the least, on both the students and the teachers. I have found DPA in the classroom to be essential in keeping the students calm enough all day to learn.
(see DPA recipe cards) 
During indoor recess, when it is one teacher looking after 4 classrooms, these " learn how to draw books" have been helping to keep the students in one place and happy for the last couple of weeks.
Have a great last week before March Break!
Looking forward to St. Patrick's Day!


  1. Love the visual art you guys made in your class. Super cute!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. Thank you Alison, we have had lots of positive comments from the students and teachers that have walked by our bulletin board outside the classroom. Definitely one worth trying. :)


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