Magazine article Arts & Activities

Zoo Kids

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Zoo Kids

Article excerpt

One of the unique annual traditions at St. Johns Country Day School is that our seniors get their very own first-grader to pal around with throughout the year. And, one of the more anticipated activities during their senior year is the trip to the Jacksonville Zoo with their first-graders. This project, a take-off on a self-portrait, was inspired by this fun tradition.

Other schools may not have a similar tradition, so "Zoo Kids" could also be done with youngsters drawing their faces with favorite pets, team mascot or simply an animal of their choosing. It could be done very cleverly for a sports team and team colors. The possibilities are many. But, in this particular project, the students chose a zoo animal to superimpose over their own self-portrait.

Depending on the abilities of your students, it is a good idea to prepare ahead of time many of the necessary 3-inch pieces of animal-print and solid-color construction paper that will be used toward the end of the project. Students can do this themselves if they're able, but it can be overwhelming for little hands to cut all of the bits of paper. But, definitely leave some for them to cut themselves.

With teacher assistance, students begin by first drawing a 3-inch border around the edge of their 24" x 18" paper. The project then proceeds with a lesson in portraiture and face construction, asking the question, "How do we draw a face?" A couple of days are spent by practice-sketching before students draw their faces on the 24" x 18" paper. Small mirrors help with feature placement.

The days that follow are similar, in that we study the faces of animals and face construction. Photos and other visuals of animal faces are presented. I have found that it is helpful to cut pictures of animal faces in half vertically to help students visualize what they will actually be drawing. We practice, practice, practice, before sketching the animal over half of our face. …

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