Friday, March 10, 2017

Elmer the Elephant

Elmer is a wonderful children's story about appreciating people's differences. I enjoy teaching this lesson to PreK and Kinder classes and the kids love the story. Elmer discovers that when he tries to change his appearance in order to 'blend in' with the other elephants, they no longer recognize him, or accept him as one of their own. This makes Elmer sad, and he experiences how it feels to be treated like an outcast, after being ostracized by his old friends. It's only when it begins to rain, and the grey paint that Elmer has covered himself with starts to disappear, that Elmer's 'true color's are revealed, much to the surprise and delight of his friends, who preferred his multicolored and fun loving persona. Following their happy reunion, the elephants reassure Elmer that they love him because of his differences, and not in spite of them, and they celebrate by painting themselves in multi-colored paint, in recognition of Elmer's unique appearance and personality.

We began by using a glue and water mixture and brushing it over squares of tissue paper to attach it to a white paper. During the next class, we drew an elephant shape on the back of that paper and cut it out to create the Elmer. All you need to add is an eye and an ear with black crayon or marker. We glued our elephants onto a torn paper background of palm trees.

Value Techniques

Students in middle school created these abstract designs to practice creating values with various techniques. We began with a set of instructions that the students could interpret for their design. Students were instructed to draw 3 straight lines, a curved line, a zigzag line, 5 circles, 2 other shapes and several types of stripes. I showed the classes how to create value with ink using stippling and cross hatching. Then, I showed them how to use colored pencils to create values from light to dark and also from color to color. Students needed to use light and dark values to keep the composition balanced as well. This is a great project to get students comfortable creating various types of values.