Monday, April 27, 2015

Pattern Zebras- More Than Just a Pretty Face

I have pinned some really cute Zebra's.  One of my favorites was from Color it Like You MEAN it!  This trimester the ideas I'm looking for is creativity and idea development. BIG concepts for these minis, but nothing they can't handle.  These cute Zebras are more than just a pretty face.  There is intent and great thought behind them... let me explain. 

I started out on day 1 asking the students to prep some paper.  I didn't tell them for what. I simply explained that we would be separating out paper into 4 spaces and they would be creating patterns in each space.  We reviewed pattern and I allowed them to pick where they wanted to work at the 4 stations I set up.  Each table had a different medium (paint cakes, markers, colors, and colored pencils). I thought for sure they would all clump up at the paint table, but they didn't, they distributed themselves evenly and moved around the room.  I would like to mention that I have practiced with them a lot using stations this year and that is what I contribute the success of this day to.

Day two I told them I was thinking of an animal... it is big... it has four legs... it has a tail... it is black... it is white. The 20 questions lead them to the zebra we were going to make that day. I said, "I am so excited to NOT teach you how to make this Zebra." They all looked as if I had misspoke.  They know me really well so they kind of thought I was joking. I confirmed,  "We are going to make this, but I will not show you how." Now I see the face of panic.  What?  How can we make that?

We pulled out our prepared paper and I said, we will need 4 pieces of paper to make this Zebra.  Any idea how we are going to get 4 sheets of paper. Every class comes to the conclusion that they have to cut the large sheet of paper into fourths.  I say, "Well, then go do it and meet be back here on the carpet."

Once most of the class is back, we 'dissect' the Zebra.  They determine all the parts to the animal.  I ask, "What is the most important part?" It sometimes takes a couple of hands before I get to the BODY.  I agree and then I say, "Well I'm not going to tell you how to make this body, but I will let you tell each other." They all turn to each other and talk about the variety of ways that they can make that body. Once again, they are released and they come back to the carpet when finished.

This process continues with the legs, neck and head, and finally the little details (ears, eyes, tail...) Each time they are problem solving and I'm simply guiding their thought.  These final works of art are not what some would call beautiful, or even Zebras... They are made with great thought, growing skills, and lot's of time.  These kids are PROUD of their very individual art works.

This is yet another way that I'm experimenting with creating independent, deep thinking, problem solving, little artists. Building and developing these skills that can be applied in so many other places in life seem to be the base of why my art class is important. When I look at these somewhat off-kilter Zebraish creatures, I smile... I know my students had to use their own brains for these and that makes me so proud of them.


  1. These look adorable! I did something similar but mine were based on a book I "adopted" from our library. You can find the link here:
    I like the idea of the yarn instead of paper hair. I will have to remember that for next years' Alexanders!

  2. Zebras? Really? Zonkeys are where it's at! :)

    1. Haha!! I should have gone Zonkeys... Next year. :)

  3. Super cute! Going to steel that one for sure!