Saturday, May 4, 2013

Primary Colors for our Mice

 The art room echoed "Oh look, green!" and "I just made orange!" as first graders overlapped primary colors to make a background for their Mouse Paint mice. I used Ellen Stoll Walsh's Mouse Paint to reinforce the concept of primary and secondary colors.

Students started with yellow cake tempera and painted about one third of their background, starting at the corner and brushing towards the center. Then, after getting their brushes REALLY clean they did the same with red paint, overlapping part of the yellow, creating orange. When they added blue, they overlapped both red and yellow, making purple and green. (That's when the ooh's and aah's started.) All this was done at their tables.

Then we moved back to the rug area and talked about how to "pinch tear" the shape of the mouse body. This is always a bit challenging for little ones, but with a little help, everyone was successful.

When the bodies were torn, students returned to their tables (where the backgrounds had had a chance to dry a bit) and cut pink ears and tails to glue on to their bodies with small dots of glue. One of the classroom teachers shared her class's reminder about applying glue, "A dot is a lot" -- I loved it!!!

 Before gluing the mouse (or mice) on the background, I asked kids to decide where they would place it and paint the bottom part of the mouse the color of the background where it would be. We had talked about camouflage when we read Mouse Paint.

Students could choose to paint their mouse with a primary color, or mix two colors to paint the mouse a secondary color. They used small lids as palettes for their mixing and many referred back to the colors they had used in the background to mix the secondary color that they wanted. I put masking tape over the secondary colors in the tempera cake tray so kids would have to mix primary colors if they wanted orange, green or purple -- tricky, huh??

Now that the art is posted in the hallway, I hear lots of kids (and parents) talking about one of their favorite books as they pass by!!
Next week it is on to some Kindergarten projects, oh boy!!!!


  1. Their mice are really cute. I love the one, where the tails goes out of the picture. :-)Perhaps I should try this with my six year olds at school.

    1. I like those tails, too, also the one with the larger ears! There was another one that I forgot to photograph that was REALLY tiny. The pinch tearing sort of went awry, but the composition ended being charming. This is pretty much one of those projects where everyone is happy with the result!!

  2. Very nice. Always a fun lesson for the kids.