Penguins are a popular request in first and second grade. Students study Antarctica and are quite familiar with penguins and their habitat.
I begin the lesson by showing the kids how to draw a penguin, providing plenty of "options" so that each painting will be uniquely theirs.
Starting with a black oil pastel, draw in one large oval for the body and one small circle for the head. Connect these shapes with two graceful lines (neck).
Add wings, claws and perhaps an egg!
Next, we draw an iceberg or an ice shelf in the background. I explain what a horizon line is, and then show how a wall of ice can make a great back drop.
Despite wanting to dip into the black paint and begin painting the penguins, I tell the children that it helps to paint the sky first. This way, the messy black paint won't muddy up the beautiful sky or the crystal blue ice.
Using orange, yellow, white and light blue, I show the children how double-loading the paintbrush can create a pretty amazing sunset.
When the painting is dry, use the oil pastel to trace over all black lines.