Friday, November 4, 2011

Gyotaku Fish Printing

The first graders had a wonderful time over the last two weeks creating these beautiful fish prints. This lesson went along with a story in the first grade reading book and this lesson also reinforced social studies and science concepts.

We broke this project into two sessions. The first week we learned about Japan and we shared stories about how this art was developed and why it was useful and fun. We studied the wood block print of The Great Wave by Hokusai and talked about how the printing process was developed for both books and art. During the last part of the lesson we learned how to draw a fish by sketching one in our sketchbook.

The next week when came to art, we broke into small groups and each child took turns creating two prints after the fish was painted with acrylic paint. Two wild fish that were donated by Mrs. Peterson's son and we also bought Tilapia from the local grocery store. I kept one fish paint free for the children to touch and explore.

While the students were waiting their turn to paint, I had an assortment of books about fish and Japan for them to look at. About mid-week, I could see that they needed more to hold their attention, so I created a center with oil based clay. Each child was given a small cube to play with and I showed them how to make a little fish with the clay. This was really fun for the children and kept them occupied, mostly quiet, and very happy while they were waiting to paint.

In past years we have used tempera paint, but the acrylic paint is vibrant and pretty and creates excellent prints with vibrant colors. I think many of these prints are good enough to frame! Each child took one print home that day and the other print will be kept in their file to display for the spring art show.

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