Monday, April 29, 2013


Elmer by David McKee
I finished up my Any Given Child Residency this past week.  I used the book "Elmer"  by David McKee as an introduction to our final project on camouflage.  "Elmer" is the story of a patchwork elephant who learns the importance of being true to oneself instead of trying to be like everyone else.  As I read the book we discussed the importance of not making fun of others and being happy with yourself.  I also let the students know that I didn't expect their work to be perfect but I did expect them to show me their personal best.  The next thing we discussed was the camouflage aspect of Elmer.  As a patchwork elephant he didn't fit into his habitat so we   discussed what his habitat would have to look like in order for him   to be camouflaged. 

For this project the students had to think more abstractly.  The first part of the project was to draw the outline of an animal.  We had already practiced drawing animals for the previous project.  This time they were instructed to keep the animal simple and not add much detail.

Next the students drew lines through the entire page from "edge to edge".  The type of line was their choice (curvy, straight, zig-zag etc...)  but the lines needed to cut through the animal.  Then they traced over all the pencil lines with a black sharpie.  When they were finished the image looked kind of like a jigsaw puzzle.

Next the students used watercolor pencils to color in each of the newly created shapes.  They were also instructed to limit their color palette to only four colors.  The hardest part was getting them to color the new shapes and not look at the image as an animal and a background.

The students who finished in time had the option of brushing water over the colored areas to activate the pencils in order to create a watercolor effect.

Here are some examples of the finished products

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