With the way my schedule is at my school, students come to art once a week for 50 minutes. With that said, this simple lesson took 3 weeks. In the district that I teach in, our curriculum is based on the elements and principles. Part of our fall curriculum for 4th grade is value. I have not seen evidence over the past few years that my students have held on to an understanding of value, so this year I decided to try a new approach. Prior to doing any works of art with value, my 4th graders made value scales using pencil, oil pastels, and water colors.
These media worked great for this lesson since the process for creating values with each one is so different. This also gave me a chance to teach some watercolor and pastel techniques that I have not covered in the past. Students experimented with varying pressure to create values with pencil, adding white and black to a color with the pastels, and diluting their paint with varied amounts of water for water colors. Also, this gave one more opportunity to practice our skills measuring and drawing straight lines with a ruler, something that drives me nuts that most students seem to not know how to do.
Obviously, we used pencil, oil pastels, and water colors, but we also used multimedia paper. This gave an opportunity for me to say "media" a million times and to explain it. Our value scales are just the first stage to a lesson that we are working on currently that is focused on rhythm. Students are using values created with one color in and all three of these media for their first mixed media project of the year. Some good scaffolding going on here. I will post about the rhythm assignment in a couple of weeks when we are finished, so far this has all been very engaging to them, though it doesn't look as exciting.