- 6 x 9" brown or tan paper (paper bags or craft paper works well as does construction paper)
- Tempera paints in red, white, yellow, green and blue (to make regular tempera paint stand out against the brown paper, add a bit of white to the green, yellow and blue. It'll brighten it just enough)
- Black "Sharpie" marker
I began this lesson by talking a bit about Amate Bark Paintings used by the Otomi Indians of San Pablito, Mexico. If you've ever made home-made paper before (I did when I was sixteen!), you'll know that you can put almost anything into a blender, whoosh it up, smooth it out and strain it. Once it dries, you have paper. It's the same for bark painting. the kids seem amazed that tree bark can actually turn into paper!
Anyway...instead of mushing bark into pulp, we torn the edges off the paper. I demonstrated the proper technique for ripping paper: use thumb and pointer fingers on both hands and slowly tear.
Then, using images I found on the Internet representing Mexican Folk Art, the kids drew a border around the paper then added fanciful birds, Mexican suns and flowers to the middle. I used the rule of three to encourage repetition: 3 of the same birds (can be different sizes) or three of the same flower, or one large sun and 2 birds of equal size. It mostly worked but many kids still tried to fit every image onto their paintings. Oh well, it's all fun!
After the drawing was done, it was time to paint. I used tempera paints but fluorescent might be better.
This is a good time to review the difference between a LINE and a SHAPE. Paint inside the shapes, but not over the lines. It helps.
Once the paint is dry, the kids can add details with a black pen and go over all their lines (we didn't do this yet).
Fourth Grade Results!