Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Elements of Creativity

A concept that I am trying to hammer into my students' brains this year is this "use it or lose it" mentality...that we need to exercise our brains (just as we exercise our bodies) to be creative. Sure, there are naturally creative students and there are straight-up talented kids in my classes.

I did this lesson with my third graders this week and they LOVED it. I LOVED how everyone was pleased with their work and their OWN ideas. I loved how different they all turned out!

On each table I put a sheet that had a few artistic elements on it (if you'd like a PDF of this sheet, just email me). I told the students they had to use ONLY those elements to create their "creature". (Many of them looked at me like I was crazy because it wasn't going to look "realistic"---they didn't see "eyes" on the paper, or a nose, etc.)
We discussed how many times artwork is evoloving...meaning sometimes artists don't know where their work will take them when they pick up their paintbrush.
For the backgrounds we just used torn sheets of tissue paper painted with plain water and then let them fall off when they dried. I love the "tie dye" effect it gives! *side note- I have the kids make sure they overlap the tissue paper a bit to be sure the colors bleed into each other. This is a great color theory/color mixing lesson in and of itself!
Aren't they seriously adorable?
Again, if you'd like the PDF you can email me at . (I'm sure you could also come up with some of your own elements! If you do this lesson in your class, please come back and link up...I always love to see others' takes on my lessons!


  1. Another fantastic lesson, I'll certainly be doing a version of this in the near future! Thanks so much!
    (I've searched and searched for 'bleeding' tissue paper, but it doesn't seem to be available in Australia - or at least where I live in Queensland. Do you know of any alternatives?)

    1. I think all colored tissue bleeds to an extent. Could you pick some up and try it out? I buy in bulk and it's not any special type of tissue paper...just regular and it works great!!!

    2. I've found the cheaper tissue paper bleeds better as does crepe paper. In South Australia, we've just had the Christmas toy fundraising catalogs do the rounds and one of them had painting paper in them so have ordered some to see if they work better.

  2. Bleeding tissue is my new favorite background effect! Love the Miro type drawings with it. I have actually tried other tissue paper and it did not bleed at all, so Elizabeth you may have to do some trial and error.

  3. This looks great! I'm trying to get my kids to use creative problem solving as much as possible this year and this lesson really ties into that. I've used bleeding tissue paper before and it never ceases to amaze the kids that they can create a 'tie-dye' background using only tissue paper. Thanks for sharing this!