Grade 5 – Dotty artwork

This is a very nice, simple project which the learners loved! It was also nice because the learners got to work in pairs if they wanted.

They began by learning about warm and cold colours and how warm and cold colours placed next to each other can create a lot of contrast. They then had to choose a simple picture with an animal/creature featuring in it. The initial idea was for the learners to just use a sea scene with a sea turtle and perhaps some fish but (as always) the children were not happy to be limited like that. 🙂

I had to keep reminding them of the importance of keeping their scene simple however and the importance of using either hot colours in the foreground animal etc. and cold in the background or visa versa.

We worked on an A2 piece of black paper. They began by sketching their creature and other elements. They then took paint, swirled their brush through this and then made a swirl of colour on their artwork. I showed them that mixing other colours into their base colours can create interest. For example, a purely red turtle might look a little boring compared to a red turtle with swirls of yellow into the red on the side where the sun would be hitting it and swirls of purple into the side that would be in shadow.

Grade 5 – Tinfoil people


This project was very fun! The idea came from this site. The learners started with a rectangular piece of tinfoil. I showed them how they could cut the one side once in the middle and the other side twice so that the tinfoil was in thirds. You then use the side with one cut to make two legs and the side with two cuts to make the arms and head of your person. Its a very simple and fun way to make a simple figure! While it is tinfoil the learners can move it in any way they want!

The introduction and making of this tinfoil person took us one lesson so we had to put on a tag so we knew who’s was who’s and then leave the rest till the next week.The following week we took strips of newspaper and covered our figure with papier mache. Some learners added extra details such as clothing to their creations. This we had to set aside for another week.

The final week we painted our figures.


Grade 5 – Collagraph

Collagraphing is a printing process where an artist sticks various things onto a flat plate and then uses this (now bumpy plate) to print from.

Our grade 5s were asked to first do a creative excercize around the idea of “Adventure is out there!” They first did a random association excercise where they had to come up with related concepts before doing a brainstorm. From these, they came up with an idea for their final image.

They each got a small block of cardboard where they drew their idea in pencil. Taking extra cardboard they cut out some of their idea and built it onto the initial board so that it stuck out. We then went outside and looked for other things to stick onto our boards. Some of the learners boards looked like an artwork in themselves!

We then used tempera paint to ‘ink’ them up and printed from them! Though the prints often don’t come out as the learners expected them to, they were very beautiful. We all really enjoyed this project. I kept a few of the inked up printing plates as they looked very cool themselves! Initially we just used one colour and painted only those bits we had stuck on but found that painting different sections in different colours also looks cool and painting the entire base board can also look nice!

Grade 5 – Matisse cut and paste

Matisse was a very versatile artist. Though he is most well known for his Fauvist works, he was also a realist painter in his younger days and a very experimental ‘cut and paste’ artist in his twilight years.

I originally discovered this project on the fantastic page deep space sparkle. It was a very nice project! It was pretty simple and the outcome was some beautiful artwork!

The lesson began with a brief introduction to Henri Matisse. I showed his art through the ages and talked about his influence on the direction that fine art went. I then showed some examples of the project and explained what the learners would be doing.

The lesson begins with the learners taking pieces of coloured paper, cutting into shapes and creating a background with them. I explained how these pieces of paper must be quite large so they don’t distract from the figure and how they should not be just horizontal and vertical as this does not communicate movement – and we wanted our dancers to be moving! To introduce the figure, I had precut pieces of black paper for a head, torso, pelvis, upper and lower arms, upper and lower legs as well as feet and hands. I called the learners up to arrange this on a piece of board using press stick so that the figure was dancing.

The learners then worked on their own artworks. As usual they took what I told them and pushed it far further than I had imagined! A few of them I had to remind about adding clothing and extra details to increase the look of the work.

Grade 5 – My eye

Kids love drawing eyes! In fact, I would be bold enough to say that most people of most ages love doing pictures of eyes. This project sought to teach learners about drawing of eyes. They had already done a self portrait earlier on in the year and if I were to do this again I would probably swap around which project was done when.

The grade 5s did really well though! The project began with a PowerPoint on eyes in general. They were shown a step by step walk through on one simple to draw an eye. The learners then did a practice drawing of a generic eye.

They were then given a mirror and asked to draw their own eye! They did this in pencil first and then once finished, they added some colour to the iris using watercolours.

We then learned about the Mauri custom of Tamoko (The tattooing of a man’s face and parts of a woman’s face). The learners were allowed to add some designs to what could be seen of their face once finished with their eye.

Grade 5 – MONKEYBIZ Papier Mache

MonkeyBiz is a very cool organization that sells some very original crafts from South Africa. They became famous for their animals that made from beads, with long limbs and quirky features.


The project given to the grade 5 group was, using only newspaper and sticky stuff, to make a monkeybiz like creature!

They were first shown one relatively simple way to create the structure for a four legged creature: They used 2-4 pieces of newspaper tightly rolled up and then taped for the body, neck and head; They also used two separate rolls of 1-2 pieces of newspaper for the legs.

The head and body section is then bent back and again forward to create a section for the neck and head of their animal. Attaching the legs to this body was a small obstacle the learners had to overcome. Some tried to cut the lengths in half and stick each on separately with tape but this was unstable. What worked best was folding the length of of the leg over the body and then taping this onto the body but a fair amount of tape is required to ensure the legs don’t flop apart!

The next step was to cover the structure of the animal in papier mache. We used wallpaper glue as our sticky medium and strips of newspaper which we layered our animals with.

Finally, we were ready to paint! The learners were reminded that monkeybiz didn’t paint their animals normal colors but crazy colurs with interesting designs!

I hope you enjoy seeing what our kids achieved!


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!