Monday, September 23, 2013

Handprint Fish

I've done this project with my first graders for a few years now, but I'm particularly pleased with this year's results. I changed things up a bit in an effort to enforce the learning aspect, though getting more consistently great-looking final pieces was a happy side effect!

On the first day of art class, after the 'welcome to art' blah-blah, we painted our backgrounds. Yes, I painted with first graders on the first day of art class. This group of first graders did not have kindergarten art, meaning this was our first time together EVER. Call me silly or call me brave, but please don't call me 'cause I hate talking on the phone.

Using blue square paper as the canvas, kiddos used multiple values of blue, as well as white, to blend their colors directly on their paper. Ooo-ing and ahhh-ing ensued! Not having to wash the brushes in between colors made this part quick and easy and was a good introduction for my amateur painters.

On the second day of class, we discussed background, middle ground, and foreground. Since the backgrounds had been completed previously, the students proceeded to adding a middle ground--seaweed, sand, and bubbles--while I called kids a few at a time to make an orange handprint on a separate sheet of blue paper.

Once the handprints were dry, I proceeded to add orange fish lips and a white spot for the eye. Then I cut out each fish. All 100+ of them. Thank goodness for a good pair of scissors and Netflix!

Since these kiddos never had kindergarten art, proper glue bottle usage was pretty foreign to most of them, so we spent a decent chunk of time covering that before using "dots, not lots" to glue the fish, creating the foreground.

A little black paint on a Q-tip made a sweet little fishie pupil, and the kiddos were all set! Square 1 Art, here we come!

Time go get back to my Netflix. This time, I'll be gluing all of those sweet underwater scenes onto the Square 1 Art paper. Le sigh.


  1. These are sooo cute!!! :)

    1. Thank you! I adore them. So many of them reflect the personalities of their makers: quirky, reserved, silly, crazy!