Sunday, May 15, 2016

Symmetrical Dragon

This project was highly inspired by some of the videos I have watched from Peggy Flores.  Peggy was sharing her tips and tricks long before blogging was a thing.  She has MANY videos available from Crystal Production.  Every time I watch one of her DVD's I pick up something new.  I use her videos in a pinch or for sub plans.

I did this project with my 3rd grade.  They study Japan and I thought this would not only tie in well with their social studies unit, but it's also one of the first introduction of symmetry in their math curriculum. Hoo Ray for cross-curricular art projects!

I chose to flip the instructions for this lesson.  It was such a time/supply-saver to record ahead of time. I was able to do a quick review and easily instruct each section of this lesson for the three weeks that it ran in the Art Studio. 

The only resources I created for this lesson is the video and what you see in the image above.  I am starting to put resources such as the eyes on file folders and having them laminated so that when they are not in use they fit well in the filing cabinet. Only took me 15 years to come up with that one :) Good to know I'll keep growing as an educator :) 

I used this video to teach the lesson, but in no way played the whole video in full at any time. I gave it to the students in chunks.  For example, Day 1 I showed how to create a symmetrical head, asked them to go back and create it. I did give them additional instructions as they did this portion.  I asked them to have their line touch all three edges (top, side, and bottom) to encourage the head to use most of the paper and become LARGE... that is always a challenge for students. When all students were cutting or had completed the head I invite them back to the carpet and showed them how to create the eyes.  The goal was to get both eyes glued on the head by the end of the hour.

It was so fun to watch these develop!  Students did the scrap challenge (see previous post) with this lesson.  They have really fallen in love with this challenge.  I ask them to save all the scraps at their table as they are working.  They should always choose paper from the center of their table if they can, or they can go to the scrap paper drawers... but every time they do, that adds to their table pile.  Whoever finishes the end of the day with the smallest pile gets to line up first.  It works like a charm.

If students finished up early they were asked to journal about their work.  Drawing their creation was a challenge because there were so many shapes.  It was fun to see the observational drawings from these collages.  Reflection was only completed by students who were a little ahead.

I didn't put this in the video, but we added some streamers on the bottom to make these dragon-heads a little more festive.  These look amazing in a display.  There was no two alike in this lesson but I felt it was still very structured.  This is one of those lessons that you can teach step by step, but get very different results from the whole class.

UPDATE:  I posted this to our Art Teacher Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google Plus)... This is why... for feedback, celebration, and suggestions. Alicia Simon posted about an artist named Michael Velliquette.  I hadn't heard of him, but he's a perfect addition to this lesson.  Thanks Alicia! 


  1. These turned out really well! 😀 the file folder idea is genius!

  2. Replies
    1. Glue sponges and Clay slip bottles for white glue.