This writing and art project was authored by Northern Nevada teacher Sandra Young. This page contains the lesson plan for the writing portion of this lesson. Click here to view the accompanying art lesson plan.
Here is what the final student product might look like:
Sandra's Lesson Overview:
The seasons traveling in an eternal circle spring to summer to fall to winter and to spring again fascinate young and old. This project reaches across the curriculum combining science, math, art and writing.
8½” x 11”watercolor paper or white construction paper
Begin this art lesson by studying the structure of trees without their leaves. Practice together drawing tree “skeletons” showing the children how branches reach for the sky, divide, and keep growing smaller.
Distribute the art paper, trace the circle, divide the circle into four equal quadrants, trace over pencil lines with permanent black marker. (For younger children, trace and divide the circle in advance.) Label each section spring, summer, fall and winter along outer edge of circle. Do not cut out the circle until art project is finished.
With pencil help students establish the foreground and the skyline drawing two light lines. These lines will connect as they move around the circle.
Draw the tree skeletons in each quadrant making sure each tree grows perpendicular with established foreground. Trace pencil lines of trees, skyline, foreground, and background with permanent marker.
Begin painting the sky using wet on wet technique. Apply water to sky area with paint brush then add light amount of watercolor (you could vary color of sky with the seasons). Add light color to background (purple for mountains). Paint foreground (grass/snow).Apply paint to tree trunks and branches then paint seasonal foliage. Encourage use of shading using darker colors on shaded side of tree trunk.
Let painting dry. Cut out the circle, laminate if possible, mount on white construction paper that will allow space for writing around outer edge of the circle.
Some Teaching "Hints" from this Lesson's Author:
If using watercolors, plan on several sessions to complete the circle.
Make certain that sky and background colors are light so that tree foliage will show up. Make sure tree trunks and foliage are a higher concentration of watercolor by using less water with the paint.
Lamination will be especially valuable when using construction paper for watercolors (the construction paper does not hold up well with water colors.