reading & writing with art

October 14, 2011

Panda's inspired by the book Zen Shorts

My 3rd-6th graders have been working on a panda piece after our read aloud of the book Zen Shorts by John Muth.
      The story is about a panda bear that shares short stories with three children in order to teach them life lessons.  The illustrations are beautifully made with water colors.  After reading the book my students wrote connections to the story (what the story reminded them of) on slips of paper that had a small picture on it.  They glued their connections on chart paper.

Next I made a power point with a variety of panda images both real and cartoon for the students to look at as we discussed the shapes of the body and looked over different positions the panda could be placed.  We did a few sketches to make our decisions on our pandas then I gave them large sheets of watercolor paper for them to draw their art on with a pencil first then trace with sharpie before we painted. 

I asked them to add details to their background in pencil as well.

 Then we moved into painting their pieces.  Once their entire piece was painted they were instructed to use straws and paint to "blow" branches on their papers to make the Japanese Cherry Blossoms for part of their piece. 

Finally we had our Chinese teacher teach the students how to say Panda in Chinese and show them how to write the Chinese characters for panda on their papers.  She brought them calligraphy pens from China and their special ink to write their characters. 

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