Tag Archives: grade 4

Grade 4 Student

The Fourth-Grade child

Characteristics of Fourth Graders-

  • Are developing a sense of humor; love comics and cartoon characters
  • Can develop feelings of inferiority about their lack of ability todraw what they see
  • Compare their work to that of peers
  • Are open to viewing different art styles and do not yet judge if something is “good” or “bad”

What Fourth Graders Call Do with Materials-

Brushes:successfully mix paint; care (or watercolor sets; wash brushes and clean up

Claydo ceramic coiling; make pinch pots or clay animals; create portrait and figure sculpture; apply glazes

Paintmix colors to make tints and shades; apply watercolor wash. wet-en-wet, and resists

Pencil, marker, charcoalmake a value scale’; create light medium and dark values

Ink:  create a brayer printing, a glue-line print, oil collagraph, or a monoprint on plastic sheet; draw with pen and ink

Papercut skillfully with scissors score, curl; fold origami shapes

Fiber Artsweave with a simple loom (cardboard, straws, paper plate); make decorative stitchery

Sculpture materials: handle plaster-gauze well; do additive sculpture; use papier mache

Fourth Graders’ Understanding of Concepts-

  • Comprehend color scheme based on color wheel: warm versus cool, contrast, mood, “grayed” colors
  • Create the illusion of space through placement, size, and value
  • Use facial proportions correctly; develop a. more realistically proportioned human figure; show movement
  • By looking at art, become aware how artists depict animals and the human figure
  • Identify different media, subject matter, and art forms such as sculpture, tempera, water color, prints, portraits, landscapes
  • Comprehend that form follows function in design, and can point out or bring in specific examples
  • Understand that many artists express themselves and their cultural identities through their artwork
  • Recognize architecture from various climates and cultures of the world on the basis of the construction materials used, including their own regional architecture
  • Can show various styles of art and discuss aesthetics issues: “Could something ugly be art?” “Should the artist care whether other people appreciate what he or she is doing? “Why might mountains look different depending on which culture paints them?” “Should art look real?” “What is beautiful?”

Suggestions for Teaching Fourth Graders-

  • Use distortion, simplification, or exaggeration to create an-abstraction of an object, place, facial characteristics, a still life.
  • Avoid having them copy, as many already lack confidence in their ability to draw. Remind them to avoid trite symbols such as “balloon” trees, happy faces, and rainbows. But talk about real symbols- things that are understood by most people, such as street signs.
  • Introduce still life to foster the decision-making process, highlighting unity, variety, emphasis. Talk about positive and negative space, radial balance, center of interest, focal point, contrast.
  • Introduce proportions of the face; have them do self-portraits: draw fellow students; discuss body proportions; learn to really look.
  • Encourage exploration of color schemes through an open-endedlandscape assignment .
  • Introduce sculpture in-the-round.
  • Compare and contrast two artworks from two different cultures (time or place], on the basis of theme, media, subject, and elements and principles of art.

Fourth-Grade Content Connections-

Language Arts:research skills related to artists; bookmaking.

Tell students to imagine themselves inside the picture looking out at the viewer. Have them write a letter to a “pen pal” about how the world looks from that viewpoint (even if you are a flower or a bowl of fruit).

Mathematicsestimating fractions; shapes (trapezoids, parallelograms, pentagons, hexagons, octagons); use of money; measuring length; creating computer drawings; using calendars; using the metric system.

Have them design a new paper hill and coin for a country or state. It could be based on a political figure, or a profile of themselves as a king or a queen. They should make a design for each side.

Science: ecology; constellations; weather forecasting; space travel; light and color; body systems; machinery.

Have students draw a factory. They should think about how things might work to manufacture something they like (a toy, candy, t-shirts, television sets). They can use ballpoint pen or colored pencil to draw a factory where this might be manufactured.
Have them select a real constellation (perhaps from one that is visible in the month they were born) and draw an imaginary person or creature using the locations of the stars within that constellation.

Social Studiesstate history (politicians and pioneers), regions of the world (tundra, rain forests, deserts); mapmaking; Native American cultures.

Have students do a painting about an event in the life of a well-known person from your state or region that made him or her famous.

Drama:drama from a variety of cultures and periods, improvisation.

Have students learn facts about a famous artist or other individual from your state. They can pretend they are the person, and even wear similar clothing. Have them tell facts about that individual as if they were a robot, once someone “presses their button.”

Art Skills

Art Skills Curriculum for Grade 4

Developing Practical Knowledge In the Visual Arts
Students will explore elements and principles of the visual arts, using a variety of techniques, tools, materials, processes and procedures.
●   Achieved practical knowledge

o   Developing practical knowledge



  • Holding paintbrushes correctly
  • Blending paints
  • Wiping and washing brushes between colour applications
  • Cutting and gluing
  • Application of paints
  • Inking and printing
  • Application of paper-mache
  • Manipulation of paints
  • Manipulation of clay


  • Paintbrushes
  • Palettes
  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Hole punch
  • Stapler
  • Printing rollers
  • Photocopier
  • Clay tools


  • Pencils
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Paper
  • Watercolour paint
  • Acrylic paint
  • Craft materials
  • Printing ink
  • Printing block

  o Self hardening clay

Processes and procedures

  • Drawing
  • Painting using acrylics/watercolours
  • Crayon and dye
  • Colour mixing and over-painting
  • Collage
  • Designing
  • Creating
  • Paper-mache
  • Printing

  o Clay

Amate Paper Cutouts

Amate paper cuts, an exciting art form from Mexico, make an excellent low budget project. I began with a brief exploration of paper cuts made by the Otomi Indians. Their paper is made from the bark of the amate tree. Strips of bark are boiled in an ash solution until soft. Then, they are criss-crossed and pounded with sticks until the fibers mesh, creating a strong paper that retains the texture of the bark. From this paper, the Otomi make sym­metrical cutouts for magical purposes.

Brown wrapping paper or butcher paper can be used to recreate the textured amate paper. Fold the paper and draw half the design using the fold as a tender line. This creates a minor image; when the paper is opened. Keep the design simple. Complex drawings are too hard to cut out. Drawing with white chalk instead of pencil keeps the design from becoming over detailed and mistakes can be rubbed off easily.

The amate designs combine human forms and elements of nature, such as plants, wild or domestic animals, birds or fish. Unique characteristics can be combined to create fan­ciful and symbolic images, for example, the head of a man with the wings of a bird and the tail of a fish.

Cut the double image, then unfold the paper and tightly crumple it. Spread out the design again and iron it between two pieces of wax paper. Use newspaper to protect tabletop and iron. Mount the cutouts on white paper. I prefer to use spray adhesive that allows for repositioning. This must be done outside of class in a well-ventilated area. A little white glue applied sparingly to the chalky side of the cutout will also work.

Composition: Cut-Paper Still Life

Students were seated around five tables. Arranged in the center of each table were two bottles, a pumpkin and two apples. I ex­plained they would be creating a still life, and showed them examples of still-life paintings.

I asked them to look carefully at the subject. I asked each student how the arrangement appeared. Although several were looking at the same objects, they discovered they had different points of view. To some, the apple was completely hidden, to others only the top of a bottle peeped over a pumpkin.

Each student created a still life using construction paper and scissors. First, they drew each object on colored paper and cut it out. Next, they arranged the objects on a sheet of contrasting colored paper. I asked them to arrange the objects exactly as they saw them. This meant that some objects would be in front of others, so we discussed overlap­ping. I pointed out that this did not mean the objects touched each other, although overlapping made them appear to.

When the students arranged their objects, they pasted them down. They added details, such as labels on bottles, with a fine-line, black marker.

We hung the pictures around the room, and students were fascinated to discover how different the subject appeared to each of them. The lesson was a success in teaching students to be aware of the uniqueness of their own points of view. It also produced some beautiful pictures.

Crafts: Designing Jewelry

Jewelry is a motivating topic for a crafts lesson and an excellent focus for discussion of design issues. Students are interested in the variety of purposes jewelry has served throughout history. Chinese empresses wore jeweled fingernails as status symbols, making it necessary for them to be waited on hand and foot! The Chinese be­lieved gems had magical powers, so they often encased the bodies of emperors in jade for preservation.

Students developed either a symmetrical or radial symmetrical design. Jewelry col­lected from flea markets or viewed in basic jewelry texts can provide a variety of examples.

The jewelry was created with construction paper, wallpaper samples and foil papers. Each student had 2 x 2″ (5 x 5 cm) cardboard for a base. The corners may be rounded to form a circle. Students chose papers with a common color to unify the design. They cut six pieces of five different shapes, the same number of each. For example, you may have five blue squares, five blue and green striped triangles, five blue flowered semicircles and five green rectangles. They arranged these shapes in a radial design, working from the center out. By allowing shapes to overlap, new shapes are created. Encourage students to try several arrangements before choosing a favorite.

After securing the shapes to the base with glue, add sparkly beads and baubles collected from old jewelry. Students can also make beads from rolled paper. Pinbacks or safety pins can be hot glued to the back. Some students chose to attach a paper clip so that the piece could be worn as a pendant or bolo tie. Finally, a protective coating of Mod Podge is applied to give the work a polished look.

Creating jewelry is a rewarding and moti­vating design activity. Jewelry connects their interest in fashion to the application of design elements in our modern environment.

Enchanted Forest

The Enchanted Forest calendar project consisted of three parts: picture of forest, small framed rectangular piece (used to write in the name of the month), and five rows of seven squares (used to fill in the days of the month).

The three pieces were glued to 12 x 18″ (31 x 46 cm) construction paper and laminated. Each student received a dry-erase marker so the calendar could be wiped clean each month.

To create the picture, I asked the students to draw a frame around their pictures. This frame serves more than one function. Students feel more secure knowing their boundaries. When coloring, the frame keeps colors from going onto desks. And, students who finish early can decorate their frames, while waiting for other students.

With this project, I teach the students the use of thin-to-thick lines. Also, the project is an example of overlapping, which creates depth in the picture. I asked the students to draw smaller trees on the hills in the distance to increase the depth. I recommended the use of three colors but more could be used with good judgment. What I really wanted was for them to think about color and color combina­tion. We reviewed warm and cool colors and discussed pastel and vivid colors.

The students worked with a pencil on newsprint. When they could show me a sketch, they progressed to drawing paper and a per­manent black marker. Any medium could be used, but most students used watercolor markers.

The results were outstanding! The promise of an original creation suitable for gift giving provided motivation for the students to pro­duce their best work. Having a goal enhanced their artistic abilities.

Leaf Printing

Through the elementary years, students are encouraged to really use their eyes to see what is in the world around them, to put reality on paper. Well, the sky is blue, leaves are green and lots of flowers are red.

“Flowers are red, green leaves are green. There’s no need to see flowers any other way than the way they always have been seen” (song written and sung by Harry Chapin). It is said that Picasso was reprimanded by his teacher in school when he painted the sky red.

I began the lesson by reading the words to the song, “Flowers are Red” by Harry Chapin. I then played the song, and the stu­dents listened to the words put to music. We discussed the story that the song told, and the students shared experiences about draw­ings they had done and comments that teach­ers have made. “The leaves are green so why shouldn’t we paint them green?”

One student said “I know that the sky is blue, but on a hot day it looks yellow to me with the sun shining brightly. If the sky feels red why can’t we paint it red? Why can’t we paint what we feel?” A discussion followed.

Students began by selecting a leaf and printing it on their paper. Then, using paints and the colors of their choice, a beautiful, colorful picture developed. Students added trees with unusual colors of foliage, then chose colors to paint their sky.

Another interesting discovery was that the sky does not just exist on the top of the paper but comes all the way down to meet the ground. It was a wonderful lesson. It was a mind expanding experience, and it caused the students to think about the philosophy of art as they were in the creative process.