Grade 4 – Self portraits

This project comes from the Santam creative art teaching manual.

The learners had to begin by looking at themselves in a mirror and drawing themselves using stick and ink on an A4 piece of paper.

They cut this out and then took a ready prepared, square piece of paper which they drew borders onto before pasting their self portrait onto it. At this point we took a little break to go outside and enjoy nature. On returning to the class, the learners used either warm or cool coloured crayons to draw plants behind their self portrait inside the borders they had drawn. around the outside of the border they wrote words that they thought of when they thought of nature or their image.

99% of these artworks turned out beautifully! The learners did very well!


Grade 4 – Where the wild things are!

02“Where the wild things are” is a well known book by Maurice Sednak. It’s a beautifully illustrated story about a little boy who is misbehaving and so gets sent to his room where he travels in his own imagination to a land of giant, horrendous, beautifully drawn creatures. I got this idea for the project from The lost sock.

The learners began by watching a youtube narrated telling of the book where the illustrations were shown. We then looked at the illustrations in closer detail. It was easy to see that the illustrator had combined different animals to make the new beasties.

Learners first had to write the names of 9 different animals they liked and then try and combine them in 3 different concept sketches of 3 different creatures!

We then looked at textures and how to create them using pencil crayons. The learners were encouraged to use a lighter colour (such as yellow) as the base and a darker colour (such as orange) for the textures. I loved this as many of the resulting pictures had far more life then what I had seen before.

Finally they drew their final creature on an A3 paper. I hadn’t planned on making a background as well but the learners did and it definitely added a lot! So we went with that… 😛

Grade 4 – Elephant Mandalas

03This was a simple but very fun project that the grade 4s loved!

I introduced the class to Mandalas (or rather refreshed their memories from a grade 3 project we had done the previous year). I showed the class various elephant mandalas as well as one I had done myself. I then gave them a template of an elephant that I had made in gimp. The one they had didn’t have an ear template though and I think I liked that better as they all made their own shapes. They had to paste their template onto mounting board before cutting it out and designing!

This is the template they used.

How the learners wanted to decorate their elephants was up to them! Their only restrictions were that they needed an eye and an ear. Some of them added things which I hadn’t foreseen as well! We had unicorn elephants and wizards as well as elephants with top hats.:)

Once finished I took them and stuck them on coloured A4 paper for a background. So many beautiful elephants! 😀


Grade 4 – Colourful Townships

Our school gets their art supplies from a shop called Art Sauce, now based in Gardens, Cape Town. I was in their store one time, browsing for exciting materials and happened upon crinkle cut gold and silver paper. The assistant saw my interest and she said that some school teachers use it for making township scenes. I thought of the colourful pictures I see being sold on street corners around town and started seeing the possibilities…

The project began with the learners drawing a simple, pencil line showing where the horizon would be. This was drawn on a creamy coloured A3 piece of paper. They then did two gradients. One for the sky, going from either dark to light blue or any combination of sunset colours. They then made a gradient for the ground. Every child did what they felt would look nice.

The next step was to take coloured paper and cut these into squares and rectangles. I had done a small introduction to the basics of perspective so the learners knew that houses get further with distance. They then took the gold and silver paper and cut it into roof shapes for their houses.

Finally, I asked them: “what else can be in a township?” They added extra things into their scenes. I asked them to cut these out of paper and stick them on though some just drew them on and others used pictures from magazines for extra effect.

I really enjoyed this project! My only disappointment was a few of the learners had done very well and cut small houses to fill their landscape. This took them a long time however and they ran out of time. If I did it again, I would ask the learners to start with small houses in the background before making slightly bigger houses and then the biggest houses in the front.


Grade 4 – Surviving in the jungle

This project was intended as a filler between two larger projects but turned into a three week project of its own! The idea came from the new Jungle Book film which has come out recently. The project began with a question: What would you need to survive in a jungle? We discussed some of the dangers one might face as well as some of the things we might need. I then showed the class some pictures of different jungles as well as some hideouts that people have made in jungles. I also showed them a preview from The Jungle Book to get them excited about the project.

The kids took to the project far more then I thought they would! Their imaginations were immediately

ignited and they started coming up with crazy, cool ideas for where they might live if they were stranded in a jungle.

They began with pencil and then used water colour pencil crayons to colour in. Finally they went over some of the outlines with black kokis.


Grade 4 – Still life

This was the first time our Grade 4s had done a still life with me. The subject of still life can sometimes be seen as a bit boring by children but we all really enjoyed this take on the subject!

The lesson began by doing a pencil sketch of the still life on an A3 piece of paper. It was emphasised that this sketch should be very basic and not detailed as they would be going over this with ink any way.

Once the sketch was finished we moved on to the next step. We went over our pencil sketch with stick and ink. Some of the techniques for using stick and ink were mentioned but the learners were left to experiment themselves for the most part.

The final step was to take coloured paper and decorate part of their artwork with this. I had thought that most of the learners would decorate the flowers or the fruit but, as you can see, this didn’t happen. The children used their own creativity and made some very beautiful artwork! 🙂

Grade 5 – Bird Bookmark

My own example

For this project I used an idea found on Pinterest: Birds on printed paper. Essentially it is just that, a bird drawn and coloured in on printed paper (we used an old phone book). It practice however there are a few steps before this.


I began by explaining the easy way to draw a bird. As with most drawing and art, we begin with the broad strokes and then refine by adding the detail and shading. We looked at how we could draw a bird in its most basic shapes. On a rough piece of paper we did this and then added in extra details like wings and feathers.

The class was then given a small piece of mounting board as well as a piece of telephone paper about the same size. The intention was that they would immediately stick the telephone paper onto the board and then copy their drawing onto this using pencil. A few of the more confident learners did this but a number asked if they could trace their practice drawing, which they were proud of!

They did this by going over the lines with something darker, taking it to the window with the piece of telephone book paper and tracing their previous drawing before gluing it to the board.

This was then coloured in along with some sort of a background. Once finished the learners came to me and I punched the top of their bookmark. The learners could choose a piece of wool to make a handle for their bookmarks. Some of them took more then one colour of wool and made cool weaves!

Though at first I was nervous the project was a bit too advanced for them, the learners did very well and enjoyed it. Most of them took their bookmarks home but a few left theirs with me which I hung up in front of our school hall!