My 6th grade students created these sweet birds during a recent unit on John James Audubon. We created an interdisciplinary unit by connecting the work of Audubon to nature conservation and recording. . .My students got a huge kick out of the fact that Audubon would sometimes kill the birds in order to observe them more closely!
While typical Audubon projects would focus on watercolors, I decided to focus on oil pastels. My students tend to be heavy-handed with materials and I think they will really struggle with applying watercolors so that they look like watercolors and not tempera paint. Notice, I said "they will struggle" because we will climb that mountain, but I want them to have more control over their drawing skills before we get to that place.
So, instead, we used a medium they really seem to like: oil pastels. For the first day of this project, we all worked on creating texture using four different shading techniques: blending, impasto, hatching, and fragmenting. Each student created a texture "cheat sheet" they could reference later in the project. Their final project was to observe a photo of a real bird and to draw it as realistically as possible. They were required to incorporate at least one texture technique into their composition.
My students really loved this project. It was a real success for them. As an added bonus: this class is a inclusion classroom and we had several students with specific abilities. Several of these students haven't been able to participate in art in the past (I wasn't their teacher!), but were able to fully participate in this project. Awesome!
Here is the Lesson Plan:
Here is a video I made -using my Doc Camera- of me making the texture cheat sheet in class. I edited it for the web. My absent students were able to use this video to catch up!
Here is a mash-up of several presentations from slideshare that I pushed together to make what I needed:
Here is a presentation demonstrating several student exemplars.
Audubon birds in process
The format for these lesson plans is one that I use for my school. I did not create this lesson plan, so while you are welcome to use it, please be careful to not violate copyrights when sharing.
**you are welcome to share this lesson plan on your website or blog but please credit Artful Artsy Amy as the source. Please do not re-publish this lesson plan for profit or for a grade.**