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I usually begin all my classes(K-5) with my artists sitting pretzle-style on
a rug(magic carpet- 'cause art is magical) for a 5-10 min. discussion. Show
the kids Matisse prints with his wonderful cut paper designs. I also share a
little bit about his life and how when in his later years Matisse was
confined to a wheelchair, he created his cut paper (although with gouch-
painted paper) designs. Let them tell each other what they see, how they
would describe Matisse's work, and how they feel about it. Next, demo
"drawing with a scissors" by cutting into a brightly colored paper- leaving a
negative shape as you remove the positive one. Discuss positive and negative
Prepare different sized brightly colored paper.(if your budget permits
Tru-ray or sulfite paper looks great for this). Stressing that they are to
draw with a scissors, have kids create shapes- keeping both positive and
negative pieces. Next they can arrange both the positve and negative paper
and then glue on a larger background sheet. Sometimes they like to share or
trade their shapes.
This project looks great as a mural. I call it a Matisse Mural. The kids glue
their finished designs to large mural paper and I hang it up in the school.
Around the border (or on another separate sheet) they can write about
Matisse, about "drawing with a scissors" or anything else they learned from
this project . Whenever I do a display I always include an explaination of
the goals of the lesson. Sometimes the kids write about what they learned
and I put that up next to the art. Also, I include which The New York State
Art Standards the learning experience addresses- very, very important because
it gives ART validity and importance as as core subject and not just a frill!