Today with grade fours, I took the cross contour ‘hand’ project that we see throughout our elementary schools and explored it, with a twist.
I showed them a couple of super cool images that had been created by other artists.
Another cross contour activity that can easily be tackled by grades 4, 5 and 6 students is the worm hole in oil pastel. The how-to instructions can be found here.
While I noticed I did not save any archives of individual projects that I had done with students, I did find this collaborative figurative piece that my students had created on white mural paper, outside of my classroom, some years ago.
Back to the events yesterday, I first spoke to the students about creating a template of a flat figure of the human body. We did this on manila tag, filling the sheet from top to bottom. I demonstrated simplistic shapes to represent both the hands and feet, likened to mittens.
See the exemplar here.
The students then cut out their flat figures and, using them as stencils, traced around them onto a large sheet of paper. These can be as large or as small as you like. After a demonstration at the front of the class, the students were on their way. I spoke to them, using the term ‘cross contour lines’ as often as I could. Begin on the edge of the orange paper and draw a relatively straight line until you arrive at a pencil contour line, them BUMP to the next contour line. Draw a straight line until you meet the next contour line and then BUMP. And so on it goes. With elementary students, the term BUMP seems to have meaning. You can assist by mentioning that their bumps are not tall enough, when the cross contour flattens out to much. See what emerges. The students think that the mummy-sort of images are ‘cool’.
To be honest, some students are going to struggle with this, so modify with a smaller composition if this becomes evident or provide them with an alternative like the traced hand or a circle drawn in chalk on the paper. It is best that every teacher try out this process on their own first, like always, so that they understand the process and can best communicate the process. Have Halloween fun!