Now that I live in Nevada I think longingly of the the dogwood trees blossoming in the midst of forests. Like flocks of white and pink birds they hover among the dark bark of the elms, oaks and maples, anticipating the budding of spring. We don’t really do Spring here in the same way. Still, this project is great for students who do see the dogwoods bloom, and for others, it’s a great companion to the Spring Unit and the book Spring Blossoms by Carole Gerber.
Typical children would be able to look at a tree sample and be able to paint the trunk and branches: it would in fact become a lesson on the structure of trees. Students with disabilities often don’t have the ability to observe a model and then replicate it. For that reason, I created a free printable pdf that you can print on construction paper as the base for your art project.
Once again, this project supports fine motor skills as well as following directions. It also gives your students more experience with manipulating different kinds of art media. For students on the Autism Spectrum, this also forces them to touch something (tempera paint) they may be reluctant to touch: if they are excited about the product, they may be willing to take the risk of trying something new
I am a big believer in creativity in students, especially general education students who develop typically. Unfortunately, some of our students are not adept at handling a pencil or a paint brush. I find that asking a student with an Autism Spectrum Disorder to draw a picture brings a blank stare, something a typical first grader would take up with enthusiasm. Predefined projects like this one help students successfully create a product that looks like something that helps them practice some of the skills they need to complete it. At the same time, the product is something they can be proud of and take home saying “I did this!”
- The free printable pdf of the tree trunk and branches run on light or dark blue construction paper.
- Brown tempera paint.
- Brushes for the brown paint. Finer tipped would be preferable, since this project is executed on 9″ X 22″ paper.
- Pink tempera paint on a paper plate or flat dish.
- Print the pdf of the tree trunk on 9″ X 12″ construction paper.
- Lay the paper flat on a newspaper covered surface. Have students paint the trunks and branches with brown tempera paint.
- Let the brown paint dry. This may be a two day project.
- Mix pink paint (Lots of white with just a little red.)
- Have students put the side of their thumb into the paint and stamp oblong leaves on the stems. Model first.
- Hang up your masterpieces!