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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pattern Trees in Oil Pastel

My third graders just finished these barely bare trees. 

Some of the key ideas we focused on included…

  Element of Design: Space
  Making Patterns (Random and Organized)
  Learning to share ideas with friends

In the past I have done this project with 4th grade students, but I needed to make room for some new ideas and just couldn’t give it up completely.

After drawing their tree and horizon, students use oil pastels to create patterns that are both organized and random. For many students the idea of a random patterns is a new concept.

While working on their patterns, students can get really into it’s fun to be able to move about the room and sit with each table and chat with my students as they work.

About half way thought creating patterns in the negative space, I have all of the students walk around and chat with classmates about how they created patterns. Students then took the new ideas that they got from classmates and elaborated on them in their own projects.

I think it’s a nice variation on the silhouette tree with the multi color background

It only takes 2 class periods and they turn out great!





  1. Lovely work - I really like your method of sharing ideas during the lesson - I always do an 'art show' with compliments and comments at the end of each lesson, but this is a better idea as it allows children to implement shared ideas right then and there :)Elizabeth

  2. Thanks Elizabeth,
    I like to encourage collaboration a lot in my classroom. I think it is highly important that students learn to work together and share ideas to strengthen their own work. For whatever reason, maybe just developmental stage I find that around 3rd grade students stop copying their neighbors (which is good), but start to get mad at classmates if even an inkling of something they have done shows up as an idea on a classmates work, so i like to promote sharing and teach them how to do it without completely copying another students idea. I think you will really like the in progress sharing if you try it in your classroom. Sometimes I will even have my students write in progress comments and compliments on a scrap paper to leave for a neighbor. This too has been a really good experience for my kids.