This project was such a hit with my third graders last year. I taught them about Paul Cezanne. I read Cezanne and the Apple Boy to them and had them act out what they heard. I told them to make sure to stand right behind their chairs. I modeled what that meant. This helped them monitor themselves a bit. They get so excited with this activity that some will start running around the room. Totally engaged, but running around the room! This is a great book for this activity because there are parts where it talks about Paul walking up a steep path. Walking a steep path looks different than walking a regular path. This is great for vocabulary, too. I love reading this book aloud, but Story Time with Erin also does a reading on video.
After they learned about the artist, I taught them to blend paint to create the apples. They cut out the apples and glued to black construction paper. Then, they cut around the apples to create a border with the black. I had to model this and discuss it extensively. They really have to use their spatial reasoning to do this because they are so used to cutting on a line. I did end up differentiating for some students and allowing them to draw a border and then cut. I made them try it the other way first, however. Only a few had to do the drawing part. If I had not required them to try just cutting it first, I think the majority of them would've defaulted to drawing their lines. They were surprised and pleased when they tried it. Even the ones who ended up drawing the lines were proud of themselves for trying something new. If you aren't comfortable teaching how to blend paint, here is a video that I think would be helpful. I think you could probably show this to the students or use it to teach yourself how to do it.
They created the background with torn newspaper and sheet music (copies). They did a watercolor wash and sprinkled some silver glitter. Some of the little darlings didn't get stems and leaves on their apples. I wish I'd spent a little more time on that part and will in the future.
I have fallen in love with Cezanne since teaching this lesson. He is an artist that I didn't pay a lot of attention before. Now, I can't get enough. The kids really love him as well. I think they enjoy seeing the still-life paintings of things they use every day.
Do you teach Cezanne? What are your favorite lessons? If you decide to try this, send me pics! I would love nothing better than to see what you and your students are up to!