2nd Grade Leo Lionni inspired Mixed Media Collage!
So for World Read Aloud Day this year, I decided to base a mixed media project off of one of my favorite children’s books, Leo Lionni’s Swimmy. It’s a great book with amazing art that is a wonderful way to introduce mixed media printmaking techniques to kids.
I started out by reading my 2nd graders the book, and then had them talk about what they saw in the images. We talked about warm and cool colors, mixed media, printmaking, and painting. Then we got to the fun part, making our OWN “Swimmy” inspired underwater scenes using the very same techniques we spoke about in our discussion.
I can’t even tell you how excited they were (and me too hehehe).
We started out by painting our backgrounds. We used tempera cakes, and decided that we would stick with cool colors for the water. Once the backgrounds were painted, the students were given baskets with all kinds of collage materials: tissue paper, sandpaper, newspaper, and shiny paper in order to create an ocean floor and a large sea creature. I had a few special needs students in this class, so after consulting their classsroom teacher on appropriate modifications, I created an image bank for them with various ocean plant and animal life for them to choose from.
Once their collage was done we talked about printing. They were to use printmaking techniques to add in details like bubbles or small ocean animals like Swimmy. Overall this project took about four classes.
What was wonderful about this project is that technical skill wasn’t really as important as imagination and how you used the materials. Because of that, every child had the opportunity to not only succeed, but really enjoy themselves. This was a minimal stress and maximum fun project (as most mixed media projects are!).