Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chalk Pastel Flowers for Sixth Grade

I teach this lesson every year. It's fast; only takes 2-55 minute sessions, reinforces blending skills and offers practice on still developing fine motor skills.
Supplies:
Chalk Pastels
12" x 18" black drawing paper
1 bottle of white school glue per student

Step One:
Display a variety of flower pictures (old calendars are great) on the white board and talk about the elements of a flower. By sixth grade, these kids already know, but go over it again.
I show the kids how to properly use a glue bottle for "drawing". See my explanation here.
Before I go on, let me give you an option. You can either have the children draw their flowers with a pencil or have them skip this step and draw immediately with glue.
I recommend the latter. Kids with pencils (especially older kids) tend to become perfectionist; drawing the tiniest of details. This is fantastic, but it won't work with this lesson. The bigger the drawing, the better. The less detail, the better. So having said that, go directly to glue.

Step Two:
Begin with the centers of the flowers. That could mean one large center or two or three smaller centers scattered around the paper. Then, beginning on the left (if you are right handed), begin adding petals.
Once the entire paper is covered with beautiful, white flowers, lay the paper on a flat surface. Drying racks with a slant will not work!

Step Three:
This part is easy. Bring out the beautiful pastels and get to work. I encourage the kids to push the chalk up next to the rigid glue line and then blend into the paper using just one finger. Watch the kids work. If too much black paper is showing through, then they aren't applying enough chalk.

Chalk tips to avoid never wanting to work with chalk again.
  • Have the kids hold up ONE finger. Tell them that this is their tool. Do not use more than one finger to blend.
  • To clear their paper of chalk dust, have them hold their paper vertically and tap the paper onto the edge of the desk and onto the floor. Hey, it's better than on their clothes.
  • Set a damp face cloth or rag on each of the tables. The kids who can't stand the dry, dusty feeling of chalk dust can wipe their fingers when they feel the need. Just make sure it's not too wet.
Finally, if you can, spray the picture with hair spray. This is not a perfect fixative, but it's cheap and works relatively well. Some years, I laminate chalk drawings. The colors become more vibrant, but if your school is impacted by budget cuts, sometimes a laminator isn't available!







6 comments:

Clare Wilkinson said...

These chalk drawings are beautiful!!! I recently found your site and LOVE your lessons. I am a first year art teacher, so I am always looking for ideas, and feel like I just stumbled upon the Holy Grail with Deep Space Sparkle. Last week I did the warm/cool color modern landscapes with chalk pastels, and they turned out beautifully. I can't wait to try this lesson!

Marinas said...

Love your art site. I've gotten lots of great ideas for my class. I especially love your Van Gogh Flowers. I seem to be having problems with my chalks on dark paper.
Your pictures look so brilliant in their colors. When we use them, the chalk is thin (no matter how much we put on)leaving the picture dark and dull. What are we doing wrong?

Patty P said...

Marinas,
First of all, make sure you are using art chalk and not chalk board chalk. I use a fairly inexpensive brand, and the colors seem to work great. So check your chalk.
That's the only thing I can think of with the exception that you are using chalk pastels and not oil right? No. You said chalk!

Term papers said...

What pretty flowers and such a clean little painting. The unexpected things that we meet each day provide a great source for picture-making. Better to live an unplanned life I think.

Andrea said...

I love this idea and want to use it with my sixth graders. However, I am going to do fall leaves instead of flowers. My question is, how do you get the glue lines black? Or what causes them to stand out? Thank you!

Patty Palmer said...

Hi Andrea,
Use black paper as per the instructions. The glue dries clear!
Give it a try yourself and you'll understand how it works. It's fun!

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