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Paintbrush Rocket | 1st Grade – Rainbow Fish
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1st Grade – Rainbow Fish

1st Grade – Rainbow Fish

This lesson is completely STOLEN from Julie Werkman, the wonderful art teacher I student taught with 20 years ago. She is the master of this lesson, a highly creative lady who designed beautiful lessons in a Pre-Pinterest world!

This lesson takes several classes to complete, however, students are never doing the same thing, so they are never bored! In class one… We practiced value mixing by painting with white and blue.  Every table had a couple of white, I would add a little blue, they would mix and paint.  This took the whole first class.


The Second Class, I had pre-traced the shape of the fishbowl on the back of their paper, they cut it out and we then painted with three tones of greens some plants for our fish to eat.  In the same class, students printed gold and silver rocks at the bottom with sponges on a stick.



The Third Class,  We started on our Fish!  There are lots of books that can be read about fish, especially Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister.  I recommend saving it for this day.  Then students traced a basic fish pattern on white paper and added their own fins.  I recommended painting these in rainbow order, but did not insist.



Before or after starting the rainbow fish, I have students as a table organize some colors into a rainbow.  They also pull out the primary, secondary, warm and cool colors.



The Fourth Day, we had a discussion about decorative lines.  We brainstormed lines that would look good on our fish. I demonstrated and they finished theirs.  This class, we had some extra time, we read another book about rainbow fish and practiced our colors again… they did a much better job with their colors!



The LAST Class, we put it all together! I precut some metallic rainbow papers, (the metallic origami papers). students draw details on them, more decorative lines with Sharpie markers.  I cut some thin cardboard about 1″ squares.  They glue them on the backs of all their fish, then glue them onto their fish bowl….. DONE!


The finished product!




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