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Sample Lesson
Grade 1
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Finger Paint Collage


Visual Art Standards:

2.2 Mix secondary colors from primary colors and describe the process.

3.2 Identify and describe various subject matter in art (e.g., landscapes, seascapes, portraits, still life).

Elements and Principles of Art demonstrated in lesson:


Curriculum related to lesson:

dotSocial Studies
dotLanguage Arts

Lesson Description:

This lesson is a collage made with finger-painted cutouts. This lesson is a two day lesson, with finger painting the first day a nd assembling the collages the second day.


This lesson is inspired by Eric Carle. His books can start the imagination rolling. Subject can be places, animals, etc. This lesson will primarily teach the principles of color and color mixing. Collage technique is introduced on the second day.

A collage (From the French: collier, to glue) is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.
A collage may include newspaper clippings, ribbons, bits of colored or hand-made papers, portions of other artwork, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century as an art form of novelty.
The term collage derives from the French "collier" meaning "glue". This term was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art.


Materials for finger-painting:
dotFinger Paint Trays (NASCO catalog)
dotFinger Paint Paper, cut smaller than trays
dotFinger Paints (red, yellow, blue)
dotSticks to apply the paint to the paper
dotCombs, scrapers, popsicle sticks, etc.
dotSpray bottle with water
dotPaper towels, etc., for clean-up

Materials for collage:
dotFinger-painted Paper
dotSafety Scissors
dotLight blue Construction Paper 12" x 18"




Students can work in groups of 3, each making 1 primary color, 1 secondary color and 1 neutral color.

Step 1: For each student,
dampen three papers slightly with water using the spray bottle.

Step 2:
Paint the first paper. Use one primary color; red, yellow, or blue. No Mixing colors yet.

Step 3:
Add texture by scraping through the wet paint with combs, sticks, whatever.

Step 4:
Next choose two primary colors. Put both colors on the paper. Paint another dampened paper with the secondary color.

Red + Yellow = Orange,

Red + Blue = Violet,

Yellow + Blue = Green.

This will make all the secondary colors (green, violet, orange). Add texture by scraping.

Step 5:
Now use some of each primary color. Some colors may turn out brown and some gray. These are neutral colors. They are good for tree trunks, gray clouds, squirrels, dolphins, etc.

Step 6:
When the papers are dry (over night), they are ready to be cut out for the collage. Look through some of Eric Carle's books for inspiration. He cuts out many shapes for the pictures. Talk about the different subjects he uses for his books. Cut out shapes and have the students glue them onto the Light Blue construction paper.

Step 7:

Think about backgrounds. Overlap some of the shapes, and Have FUN.


In this lesson students will have experienced color mixing and cutting out various shapes to produce a collage. Talk about the balance of the shapes. Show the students how their eyes move through their pictures by following the colors. Let the children tell you what is in front or in the foreground by looking at the overlapping shapes. Have students identify the subject of the picture, as a seascape or landscape.