You Ain't Nothing but a Hound Dog

Timeframe: 2 hours- small group setting
Grade Level: pre K +

Recently, I taught a series of week long art "camps" for kids at my home. I was so pleased when I realized that the students had fallen in love with a hound dog who lives with me. Her name is Alli. At first, she was a distraction. They wanted to pet her, chase her, feed her, take her outside, and trick her. In fact, I went to the kitchen to refill a drink during snack time, and returned to find a trail of popcorn from the living room, down the hallway, and into the guest shower! They were trying to lure Alli to a bath!

It was only when I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to engage them as learners that Alli became the focus, not the distraction. 

Now, if you are a teacher who is looking for projects for your classroom, don't fret! You don't have to take your dog to school. If I had been able to plan ahead for this project, I would have used a children's book  to get the students excited about hound dogs. I hear Charlie the Ranch Dog is excellent, though I have never actually read it. I would probably use the Elvis Presley song as a prompt as well. We would do some movement and reading before the visual art activity.
Here's what we did:

Basic shapes were used to draw the face of a dog. The top of the head is a soft square, the ears are long ovals, the nose is a soft rectangle etc. I use the word "soft" when talking about shapes with no sharp corners. They also used black permanent markers to trace their pencil lines.

An exiting 5th grader at work.
An exiting Kindergartener at work. 
An exiting 1st grader at work.

Next, they used white crayons to color clouds in the background and blue watercolors to create a resist. This looks like clouds in the sky behind the dog.

Last, they painted the dog using pearlescent watercolor cakes. I like Yasutomo brand. I use them a lot in my art lessons.

Super proud of this one!
This is the finished work of an entering Kindergartener!
She's never been to school or daycare!

Here's Alli!

 Copyright 2012 Amanda Koonlaba-There's a Party in the Art Room