For this project, I wanted something a little quicker so they could finish before the holidays. I decided to have 4th grade do an illustration-inspired project with European folklore. Mainly I was inspired by Wil Huygen's book Gnomes. This book was one I remember checking out from the library over and over as a kid. The illustrations are gorgeous, and much of the text is hand-written, as if this was a sketchbook that the author took with him as he observed the actual gnomes. I do let the kids look at my copy, even though there are a couple of nekkid gnomes in there. As always, I employ my "If you can't handle it, turn the page" policy when it comes to nudes in Art. As my first boss (a NUN!) told me, "As long as it isn't of a sinful nature, the children should be allowed to see it." After all, how many nude Baby Jesus-es are there out there in the Art world? Huh?? I digress.
I asked them to choose a fairy tale character or creature, or something from a European legend, such as a leprechaun, a dragon, or the Loch Ness Monster, then create a small illustration. Using EMPHASIS (sorry, I'm so used to typing the vocab words in all caps) they will add the name of their creature in decorative letters. For the background, they will create a texture using text. Get it? TEXT-ure. Har, har. I'm having them research their creature and write some info to texturize the background. My county has this nifty technology initiative, so it's ok for kids to bring wi-fi enabled devices, such as iPods, and Kindles to school. They will use those in my class for their research. (But I also cleaned the library out of resource books so they could get some ideas, and so they could share the books and the tech.)
So far they are pretty excited, and I like that I'm integrating the technology. (Go me!)