The first step was to figure out what our "initial" is! This was the main vocabulary word for the day! This was a little tricky for first graders, and so some of them had to try again, but we think everyone finally figured it out! We painted our initial in with yellow tempera, and then decorated it with orange. While our initials were drying, we learned about cool colors and abstract art as we created this decidedly cool background. I gave the children creative freedom with this. The only rule was that I wanted them to use all the available cool colors and they were to fill their page with color.
After we were done painting the background, we cut out our large "warm" initial and glued it down on the paper. This was the hardest part. Some of the children struggled a bit with cutting, but if they made a mistake, we just glued all the parts down and it worked out great!
Back in the classroom the teachers helped the children write about the project to reinforce the sounds that were in their name, and what exactly an "initial" is. The next week, we came back to art and created name art using all the letters in their name. While most of the children know their letter sounds, these lessons were designed to provide some reinforcement and help for the lower students who have not quite mastered these skills.