Monday, May 23, 2016

Chalk Knees, Lesson inspired by Shine Brite Zamorano

We beat the rain today, and have lucked out for some of my other sections by being able to get outside to create our art.  A while back I requested some chalk from the families of Hassan Elementary. I was overwhelmed with the response. The families were able to provide plenty of chalk for some great learning through play. 

Once again, I was totally inspired by Don Masse. Art teachers have a style... we can appreciate a lot of art and different projects but when it comes down to what we make in our classrooms.... it typically fits into a 'style'.  That is why I like the contemporary projects from Don's blog Shine Brite Zamorano.   He posted about his activities/projects based on the work of Heather Hansen.  When he posted it to Facebook other artist were brought up such as Tony Orrico.  I used both the video of Hansen's work and the example of the project from Don's blog (Thanks friend). 

Now that my eyes were open to this art form I started seeing it everywhere. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook had plenty of posts about projects similar to what Masse was doing in his classroom.  An example of where I saw this lesson online is from Miss Lee (check out her Instagram, she is amazing!) 

Had to give it a try in my classroom too. Here are the slight changes that were helpful for me.  I started with the videos on Don's blog.  Then I explained that we would be using the seems in the sidewalk to create lines of symmetry.

I had the kids prepare for the mirroring project by doing a 'follow the leader' activity.  They were asked to do whatever their partner did as if they were in a mirror. 

Then they did  the same thing with 'fake chalk'.  They drew the invisible line on the ground and copied each other.  This allowed me to watch to make sure they 'got' the concept before they were to get started.  It was a little tricky for my 3rd grade to mirror one another.  Finally we were ready for chalk.  I distributed the chalk to them in a color sorted buckets.


The students drew with one color for about 2 minutes and then I had them pack up the colors and pass them to the group next to them.  We had time for several color changes in the hour long class. 

My students LOVED this project.  They were so messy and happy! The art has already been washed away with the rains this afternoon but the process was totally worth it.  Students who have done this project last week reported giving it a try at home and asking parents to participate.  That is when you know you have a winning lesson... when they do it at home.

Update:  This is how we worked a group of 3.  I had their enter be where the seams of the cement intersect and they had to stay within their square of concrete.  It worked OK... but it's best to have groups of 2.


  1. This project is SO cool. The large sketch lines are very expressive and visually dynamic. I am reminded of da Vinci drawings and sketches with the large arcs. This project is not only expressive in nature but it also inherently teaches the value of symmetry and visual balance. Geometry comes into the lesson as well in all grade levels and the art itself can actually become quite complex in it's execution.

    1. What a thought out comment. Thanks for that kind feedback!