Every now and again I get to thinking about my art lessons while in the shower.  And often those have been the times when I come up with original ideas without the inflence of books or the net.  I treasure and nuture these ideas especially, because they are my own – whether or not someone else has thought of similar things before I feel a sense of ownership for my original thoughts.

This version of the chameleon project is one such “shower moment“.  I wanted something where the chameleon pops out of the page.  Something that shows off its great colours and patterns.  What I imagine is not what I always get but its because the original idea had to be moulded and re-thought to suite the needs of the children utilizing the idea – these adaptions are a good thing and not to be confused with failure.

Thankfully I teach 4 classes of each grade so I had plenty of time to see what happened with my ideas for this grade 4 project and could adjust them accordingly.  I do feel for the first class of the week in each grade but they are all my little experimenting scientists in art and are always welcome to make their own suggestions for helping the project along.

I had the kids view and discuss chameleons from pictures I had gathered on the net and put into slide show mode.  We chatted about the body parts – especially which way the front and back legs bend.  We looked at the colours and chamoflage and how the colours change and why. 

Back at the tables we drew the little criters on A5 card in pencil then permanent marker- seeing as it was going to get soggy with glue I thought thin paper wouldn’t be too helpful.

We used small pieces of air dry clay (which I kept cut up between two damp face clothes to prevent the clay from drying out).  Wetting the card, we moulded the clay to form the eyes, tail, spine and feet of the chameleons. Glue would have been better than water to use here.

In the first lesson I had the learners cover the clay and card with white tissue paper using water.  It looked great to begin with.  We could still see the shapes beneath the paperas the water rendered the paper transparent. 

However, when it dried disaster stuck! The tissue paper became opaque once more and peeled off.  The clay fell off and the kids were as disappointed as I was.  Never-the-less we made our plans and moved on.The plan being to pull off what was loose.  Stick the dry clay pieces back in place and go straight into colloured tissue paper after.








The coloured tissue paper was to be applied in a pattern of their choice and left to dry while adding a background of gold paper.  Once the chameleon was dry (in the next lesson) they were to paint patterns on the chamelions body with white drawing ink as it stood out better than the coloured ink.  Once dry the final add was neon oil pastels – in patterns of course but also to mark the edges of the chameleon if it was getting difficult to see.  some children also used these pastels to creat a boarder right around the work.

Page boarders are such interesting things.  Sometimes they are so unnecessary but other times when added, particlarly at the end of a project, they just help to hold the picture together.  Give it a look of completeness.  Such a simple thing to do and yet so effective.