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Salmon Study

A great free indigenous art idea, and a fantastic research activity about salmon too.

This week we went to see a play called "Salmon Girl".  It's a story of an Indigenous girl who becomes transformed into a salmon.  It turns out that she is one of the Salmon People who's job it is to keep the salmon in the river safe.  The entire play was perfect for Grade 2's.  If you get the chance to see a production of this play, I highly recommend it.

So as a lead up to the play we did a quick, one week unit of study on Salmon.  I saw an activity on Pinterest called Sunset Salmon from GradeOnederful.com  and I decided to try my own version of this.  First I found an image on the internet.  I used this artists' work here.  I copied it out and took out the colour.  Then I had the kids colour in the salmon with markers so that it was bright and bold.  Then the kids cut them out.

Next we used tempera block watercolors and painted the background stripes.  We used only cool colors to evoke the coolness of the water that salmon live in.


Then we glued the cut out salmon on top.


And here we go, a beautiful bulletin board.

Then we worked on a mini Salmon research unit.  I posted their final results below the salmon paintings like in the photo below.

We used my Salmon Unit which is available from my store HERE.

This package includes a 6 page, full color, non-fiction mini book.  I printed them out in B&W at school, to save money, and I gave each child their own copy.  Now this book is at a reading level which is more difficult than most Grade 2's can read.  So we read the whole book out loud together first.

Here's an example of one of the pages from the book.

After we read it together, the next day I asked them to read it by themselves.  I explained to them that they didn't need to understand every word, but that they were looking for information in the text and that I wanted them to try to focus on what they DID understand.

They used the worksheet above to take notes.  Each page of the mini book aligns with one of the speech bubbles above.  It's really easy for them to find ONE fact to write down in the bubble for each page.

Then I had them complete the mini booklet above.  In this booklet they first wrote down one fact on all 3 pages.  They chose facts from the ones they had gathered in the speech bubbles.    Then they came up to my one by one and I helped them expand on them.  So for example.  If the child wrote, "They live in fresh water."  I would ask the child, what other kind of water can they live in.  The child would naturally answer "oh, they can live in salt water."  So I would tell them, "Can you write that down?  They can live in salt water too."  And then would go back to their desk and add another sentence to that fact page.  In the end they came up with some wonderful books of facts.  They also did a great job of drawing and coloring too.  Here are some examples.

I just love the little pictures they drew and the labels they added.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

How to draw a Leprechaun


Here's a directed drawing of a leprechaun.  It's easy and so cute and best of all it's free.
Here's a directed drawing of a leprechaun.  It's easy and so cute.

We did a directed drawing of a Leprechaun.  There was a boy and a girl Leprechaun.
I did my drawing on the Smart Board so I apologize for the grainy quality.
First, here's my original sketch.

So the first thing I did was to trace a circle on to the paper where the head should be.  

This is a good way to make sure the kids get their drawing in proportion.  Children of this age struggle with making their drawings proportional to what they are looking at.  I find that often with a directed drawing activity they might make their picture too small or too large for the paper.  By drawing the face circle first, I helped them make their leprechaun fit the page more aesthetically.   You could get the kids to trace their own circle, but I decided that I wanted to make sure it was placed a bit to the left to allow for the rainbow.
The I got started on the SmartBoard.  I did a split screen so I could do both girl and boy leprechauns at the same time.  Step one was to draw the circle and then draw the bottom brim of the hat like below.

Next the kids were asked to erase above the line.

Then draw a line paralell to the first hat brim line.

Then complete the top of the hat.  Some kids found this hard and wound up with pointed hats.  That's OK.  I told them they had a really interesting hat on their leprechaun.

Next we closed in the ends of the hat brim and added some detail to make the hat look rounder around the brim.

Next add the buckle to the hat.  I told the kids to draw a big square and a small square inside the big square.

Then add the ribbon to the hat by drawing lines straight out from the buckle to the edge of the hat.

Then add the hair or beard.  Explain that the girl's hair is not finished yet.

Then draw the bodies.  The boy is a circle and the girl is kind of a triangle.

Then add the arms, cuff, and hands like below.

Next add the faces like so.

I drew in the legs next, but you could finish the girl's hair first - I put that next below.

And finally finish up the girl's hair by drawing a line from the end of the hair back towards the arm.

Now draw the shoes at the bottom of the legs like so.

Add a buckle to the middle of the belly - a big square and then a smaller square in side it.

Then add the belt.

Now buckles on the shoes.

Stripes on the legs.

Add grass to the bottom.

Then add the rainbows.  Now there are a few ways to do the rainbows.  Below is how I showed my students to do it.  I started with the line from the boys cuff and went up and out to make an arc.  Then I decided it was easier to start at the edge of the page and make sure the arc was parallel to the first and draw back towards the boy.  We made 7 lines.  3 above the part we started at and 3 below.  This makes 6 stripes which is an easy rainbow to paint.  

Many of my students, however, didn't understand my instructions and made rainbows that look differently.  I actually like these rainbows better and next time I do this activity I will try to do it this way.

Next the kids outlined their drawings with Sharpies an used the Sharpies to color in the black belts.  Sharpies are water resistant and wont run once they kids start using paint.

Next we got to painting with watercolor paint.  First I used a bunch of colored markers and drew little dots on the rainbow with the colors in the order of a rainbow to help the kids.  

Then we started with the paint.  First they used green and let it dry.

Then orange then blue.  The paper was beige, so we didn't paint the skin of the leprechaun.

Finally I brought out some markers for them to color in the rest.  I thought that markers would make it easier for them to color in the small details.


And that's how I did it.  I hope you enjoy this and try to do your own leprechaun drawings.
Thanks for stopping by today.