Here are some useful ideas which link in beautifully with the topic of rain forests.
We began the topic by reading to the children The Jurutai Bird from The Great Snake by Sean Taylor. About a beautiful bird who falls in love with the silvery moon, but failing to touch her he weeps tears of sadness that create the Amazon River. The art work complimenting this (planned by a colleague of mine) was to create the Jurutai bird using paper ‘stained glass’ technique with tissue paper and black sugar paper. It was a great idea and the children enjoyed it immensely.
The second story we read was The Great Snake, about two sibling snakes who are the sort of yin and yang of the Amazon rainforest. Narato, the brother can shape shift into a man’s form and often helps lost travelers and poor fishermen along the banks of the Amazon River. While his restless and slightly sinister sister churns up the murky Amazon waters and creates trouble for unsuspecting people. The children explored different printing techniques to create two thirty meter long snakes which slither along the corridors of our school. The children used many junk objects such as: thick polystyrene wrapped with string, corks, bottle caps, first aid mesh, thin polystyrene cut into shapes, potatoes cut in half, bubble wrap, along with other strange objects to create imprints.
You can see part of the snake winding behind these insect studies.
So each class of thirty children created one 30 meter long snake. We used the back of two rolls of wall paper from a local recycling centre and each child had a curved meter long sheet on which to create their prints. The children were asked to use the random objects they were given to create tools with which to print. I demonstrated how I changed the objects and used them to print and then challenged the children to use my ideas and improve on them. I limited their palette of colours so that there would be some uniformity within the final piece.
We created a living rainforest in our classrooms so that children could study, refer to, draw and enjoy the actual sort of plants that live in the rainforest. Every one in the class and many members of staff contributed to our class room rainforest gardens by lending us banana plants, flowering orchids, prayer plants, venus fly traps, figs and much more. We created a display of every day spices, seeds and some fruit/veg that we use at home that originate from the rainforest. Some of these included black pepper corns, dried lime, sweet potato, ginger, cardamom pods, cinamon stick, orange, vanilla pod.
Coming up…….How to paint a rainforest mural with 60 school children.