November lessons continued: Van Gogh's "Starry Night" with 2nd grade
This is probably my favorite lesson from November, and one of my top favs for the lower grades. The kids loved it and I think they turned out adorable and beautiful! I combined a couple different things I saw on Pinterest for this lesson plan. If you want to know exactly how to do my version of this lesson, read on!
• 11 x 17 white construction paper
• blue, purple and yellow tempera paints and brushes
• black and yellow construction paper
1.) Talk to the kids about Van Gogh. Make a point that he only ever sold like ONE painting in his lifetime....to his brother! Now his paintings are worth millions. Kids get a kick out of that. You can emphasize that they should try not to be discouraged, and that if they're doing what they love, it will be worth it all. I dunno, I thought this was a good life lesson somehow, even if it's a sort of depressing fact about Van Gogh's struggle of a life.
2.) Show some of Van Gogh's paintings and end with "Starry Night". Have kids describe it. Make sure you emphasize his short, numerous brush strokes or "dots" of color - he didn't blend, just placed colors next to each other. This will be the important part to talk about, since it's what the kids are about to do.
3.) Give kids blue, purple and yellow tempera paints in those little white plastic palettes. 1 per table group works fine.
4.) Do this as a "follow along" painting. Under the document camera, paint along with the kids. First tell everyone to do yellow stars and moons in their sky. Follow that with painting blue swirls around them (but not blending into the stars, that would make a green mess, PLUS, explain again that Van Gogh only placed colors next to each other without blending). Then, fill in all the extra spaces with the purple, using short, small brush strokes like Van Gogh. Leading the kids through this painting process will make their skies turn out better, and they will all look completely different anyways. :)
5.) NEXT DAY: After their skies have dried, hand out sheets of black and half sheets (or smaller) of yellow paper. Show "Starry Night" again and show how there's some trees and some city in there. Have kids make half trees and half buildings with their black. Then they can cut out yellow windows to add to their buildings or houses. Glue it all to the backgrounds. Done!!
LESSON AFTERTHOUGHT: After each lesson, I learn a lot and sometimes have new ideas for how I would do the same lesson the next time. I think this lesson could work REALLY well if done with oil or chalk pastels on dark blue paper. Wouldn't that be gorgeous? Plus, you wouldn't have to wait till the next day to finish, since there's no drying time! Must try that next time!!