Say what?
Okay, so you have to realize that we live in a rural area and people are very into hunting and fishing.  Seriously.  I mean very seriously into hunting and fishing.
So where did this project come from?
For some reason I was just sitting and thinking about what first grade could make with clay.  I decided on a fish.  I googled fish and Big Mouth Billy Bass popped up on my screen.  I thought, THAT IS IT! 
I gave the kids a small slab.
They cut a fish of their choice.
They used simple tools to make designs in the fish.
About an hour after they left, I attached the fish to a slab.  Then, I put paper towels under each side of the fish so the sides of the fish would prop up, like a real mounted fish.
Later, I carved their name and date on the fish.
I fired.
They painted.
I painted over where I had carved their name and date on the fish.
Here is a look at the process.
What else would I end with?  
Happy!  First Graders at The Westfield School are happy because they learned a little about drawing a self portrait.
I did a little prep work.  I looked up happy t-shirts and found this cute t-shirt.  I copied the shirt and put it in a word document.  Then, I printed out the size that I wanted.  Then, I cut out the shirt and pasted to a sheet of paper.  I drew in the arms and the neck.
The kids?
I talked to them about drawing a self portrait.  We spent a good bit of time examining each others’ faces.  I explained where the eyes, the nose, mouth, and ears were located on the face.  The kids drew themselves.
They colored with crayons.
I mounted on a sheet of paper and wrote “Happy” and then, their names.
Have a look!
Here is Maroon 5 doing Pharrell’s “Happy”
Oh, no! Our birds are losing their feathers!  

To get this party started, I showed the following video to the first graders.  
Kids drew birds with me giving basic instructions..
Kids added details.
Kids outlined with a sharpie.
Kids painted with tempera paint.
We glued the feathers the color of the bird to the paper.  Kids loved using feathers and thought it was fun to have a feather falling off the bird.  Not every feather was the exact color, but is every feather on a bird the same color?

Cute, huh?
There are 12 birds here.  I do not particularly like even numbers.  I prefer odd numbers, like 3.  Ever heard Bob Marley sing “Three Little Birds?” This video has over 18 million views.  Crazy, huh?
First Grade made these very large ornaments.  I think this is one of their favorite projects so far this year. 

I traced the round part on the bottom of a stool that had fallen off one of the art room stools. (oh yeah, we can make art using anything) 
I drew a square on the top of the traced circle.
I traced and cut out 16 ornaments.
I laid out the 16 ornaments on the table.
The kids used sponges and dabbed the sponges into tempera cakes and painted the entire ornament ONE COLOR.
Then, they used liquid tempera and dabbed with spouncer sponges on the ornament.
Lastly, we painted silver across the top of ornaments.

and we were done!

Have a look!
When we were done, the kids were so excited that they had paint all over their hands.  They wanted to get a picture with their rainbow colored hands.  Unfortunately, we did not because the teacher’s hands were rainbow painted and picture taking was not an option.  So folks, just use your imagination.  
Rolling Stones singing “Just my Imagination.”

In the first month of school, I was struggling with a project that I liked for first grade.  After discussing this problem with my teacher friend, Laura Harrison, she had a suggestion.  Laura said, “Why don’t you get kids to draw a self portrait with them saying something about first grade?  She said, You can have them holding a sign.”  I jumped on this idea.  There is nothing better than having a great co-worker to bounce ideas back and forth with in a crunch!


I cut a rather large sheet of paper.
I drew a rectangle on each paper.
When the kids arrived, I explained the project idea.
I had them draw themselves holding the sign.
The kids painted with tempera cakes.
Here is a funny.  One of the little girls had to go to the restroom.  I guess she could not remember my name.  She says, “Mrs. Artica, may I go the the restroom?”  I cracked up.  I told that sweet child, “That’s not my name.  I am Mrs. Ray.”  

Hey, at least she did have the word Art in my name.

You gotta love those fun first graders!

Here is a perfect song for this post by The Ting Tings.