Magazine article Arts & Activities

A Bear for All Seasons

Magazine article Arts & Activities

A Bear for All Seasons

Article excerpt

When asking my students to illustrate different types of weather, invariably their paintings look like non-objective artwork: Winter often becomes one snowman with hundreds of asterisk snowflakes scattered throughout the picture. Spring? A rainbow with smiley-faced suns. You get the picture.

Having my students paint or draw seasons by depicting trees in various stages of growth also proved unsatisfactory. All of these projects look remarkably similar, showing very little effort, thought or creativity--not to mention they are not very fun. Perhaps this type of tree project would best be left to the science teacher's classroom illustration.

So, in what direction could I lead my students that would provide an easy starting point, yet leave room for creativity?

Teddy bears, of course, proved to be the perfect answer! They are easy to draw and are liked by all ages. Not only that; years ago, I purchased 25 identical, stuffed, jointed teddy bears that can strike any pose. With the help of doll stands they can remain upright, bend over or even stand on their heads.

After a discussion of things that could be drawn to indicate various seasons--such as clothing, weather, holidays, sporting events and more--each student should decide which season they wish to feature. After making that decision, they should pose the bear as if it was participating in a seasonal activity, such as reaching out to rake leaves, stretching its arms up to put star on a Christmas tree, arms out pushing a lawn mower, lying down looking up at fireworks and more.

The bears should be drawn first, then dressed in weather-appropriate attire--with accessories---to capture the center of interest. The artwork may include seasons, but the subject is the bear. For example, a bear could be dressed in a raincoat with galoshes, holding an umbrella and splashing in puddles.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Elementary students will . …

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