Mixing Primary into Secondary

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You would be surprised how many children and adults do not know which primary colors make the secondary. I did two versions of this lesson for the younger elementary kids and the older ones.

The younger kids, 1st grade-2nd, did the ice pops. I did find the lesson online but I changed it up a little. We did this following our How to use a brush Winter Style lesson. I did just a lesson on mixing colors on white paper. I told them we were going to make magic today. The paint brush is your magic wand. We started out by making sure our brushes were super clean. We put some yellow on the paper, cleaned the brush, put a tiny amount of blue on the tip, said the magic words and they mixed green. They were really amazed. Same things with yellow and red for orange, make sure you reinforce just dipping the tip of the brush into the red (and blue) because they are such strong colors. Last we do red and blue to make purple.

I closed this lesson by having the kids take a look around the table at their friend’s colors. Are all the greens exactly the same? Some are more yellow and some are more blue. Why? This is how you can introduce the intermediate colors. Why would you want a green that is more blue? Why would you want a green that is more yellow? This can be a nice conclusion.

The older kids, 3rd through 5th, did the color wheels. They already knew the primary and secondary colors. We traced a circle on white paper, used rules to draw 3 lines through the circle, and outlined in sharpie. Then as a class we painted in the primary colors, skipping a space between each color. So you have red, blank, yellow, blank, blue, blank. This is where they mess up. Some kids will just go again and know that they two colors surrounding the blank spaces need to be mixed in there, so red and yellow to make orange in the middle. Others you have to do it step by step.

Moving on to the Ice Pops. I actually got observed for this lesson, and because it was a step by step process it was deemed not creative enough. Which is fine, but I think the lesson served its purpose because after all the kids knew exactly how to make orange, green and purple, and they had fun. I pre-drew the ice pop shape, and even color coded labeled them with Y O R, for yellow, orange, red. They already had an introduction to mixing so it was applying last weeks skills. I still did it step by step so no one was left behind. Some kids liked painting the top, then bottom, then mixing the middle. Others painted the whole top and middle yellow then added red on the bottom going up to make the orange middle. Depends on the students.

The background was choosing horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines in a pattern. So before they did that we reviewed all those words. We used PAINT CAKES! My favorite. And any colors they wanted. Cut, glue, done.

Photography without cameras

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So you might want to introduce photography to your kids and not have any cameras! Or you want to remind them that what they choose to have in the frame should be planned and thoughtful.

In the past, while waiting for cameras to arrive I cut out viewfinders. Sometimes I cut them to be in the shape of an old school camera or you can find pre-cut frames.

I actually did this as my demo lesson. The goal was to teach them worm’s eye point of view and bird’s eye point of view. They used the view finders to get out of the comfort level of photographing in human’s eye, or just straight forward. I encouraged them to lay down on the floor and stand up on chairs for interesting views. At the end of the period they did a drawing of one of the points of views and we discussed which view was more interesting to them.

I have also used the paper view finders to introduce a David Hockney collage assignment. Showing them how many pictures you can take of one scene. I also cut up images and had them put them back together like a puzzle to prepare for their own Hockney. The did Hockney’s digitally and printed out.

The paper view finder is a great way to slow them down. I think you could stop mid year, remove cameras and review point of view with the paper view finders if you feel like their photography is becoming stale.

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David Hockney