Down here in Louisiana we love the Fleur de lis. You’ll see it in logos, on t-shirts, hanging as key-chains, and all over as artwork in people’s homes. Every year I have students ask to use it in their artwork. Typically its on my “No No” board. You see where I teach we also have a large portion of Dallas Cowboys fans and any mention of the Fleur de lis tends to start arguments about which team is better the Saints or the Cowboys and that’s just not a fun distraction in the art room.
This year I decided to challenge myself and asked the students to suggest different subject matter for their art and all of the projects we are making are from the ideas they provided.
Fourth grade was the only grade to request the Fleur de lis.
I was feeling extra brave after the second graders had so much success with the chalk pastels when they made their Northern Lights that I wanted break those out again and try them with a more mature group. It went okay… they tried, I tried but some of the students still ended up with messy art.
Follow the link to see the steps and student samples…
I started this project with a template because I wanted the students to focus more on the designs inside the Fleur de lis than getting the shape exactly right. They traced the templates in pencil then went over it with a Sharpie. This and the names on the back were the only parts done in pencil.
Many students created their own line designs, however, I also passed out these sheets that were in a booklet of lessons my supervisor gave me when I was hired. The kids love getting to use these reference sheets.
I wanted there to be some uniformity to their designs so I asked the students to use matching patterns in the top and bottom of the 3 branches on the Fleur de lis and then a separate pattern for the band across. Some students remembered some didn’t whatever!
Then we started talking about the chalk. I really stressed the importance of using very little chalk and using a very light touch. I even stopped the class a few times while they were working and reminded them again to barely press down on the paper and to use as little chalk as possible. We talked about how its like using watercolor you want to start light and then add more to make it darker but once its dark you can’t take it back. We used tissues to blend out away from the Fleur de lis for this project tissues seemed to work better than our hands or paper towels.
The did a great job on the first layer of chalk.
When we switched and started doing the edges though things got a little crazy.
I was worried they would find the chalk a little too fun and that’s exactly what happened. For the edges we turned the chalk sideways and rubbed lightly along the corners of the page then used the tissue to pull the chalk into the middle, leaving a ring of white between the two colors. Well that’s what I wanted to happen. What actually happened was that most students just colored it all in then were surprised at how it didn’t blend out like their first layer had so well. They still have nice works of art that they are proud of but its always a little frustrating when they just don’t follow directions. In hindsight I should have given them a sheet of scratch paper and let them explore with the chalk a little before we got started on the final designs. Lesson learned for next time!
Overall the lesson was a lot of fun and the kids loved it. I can’t wait to see how the teachers react when these get hung up in the cafeteria later this month.