I saw a version of this lesson on Pinterest and I loved the open-ended-ness of it so I thought I'd give it a try with my first graders. The concept seemed easy: "If you had three giant balloons that could lift something LARGE up in the sky, what would you want to see floating through the sky?"
It was TORTURE to them, and frustrating to me. Once I mentioned that it could be an animal, they all drew animals. Once I mentioned that it could have been a building, they all drew houses. Once I mentioned it could be Santa and his sleigh...well...you get the idea.
Later in the week my explanation was more involved...they had to put their heads down, close their eyes, and THINK. Crazy, I know.
Once they did that, their drawings became more detailed...and more thoughtful. I definitely need to do more of these type of projects, and while they're not the most visually-appealing projects I've ever done with them, they're meaningful, and thoughtful. We overlapped the balloons so I could get some color theory in there, too!
For the backgrounds we used liquid watercolors. I LOVE liquid watercolors! So much easier when you're using one color than using the little watercolor cakes. I like to use SAX liquid watercolors, they're (relatively) inexpensive and while they do stain the tables a bit, the colors are SUPER vibrant and appealing.
(By the way, baby wipes wipe the stains off in a second!)
So in the new year, my goal is to do more projects like this, with every grade level...so stay tuned!!