Friday, November 2, 2012


There are owls everywhere these days.  And why not?  They're adorable, full of personality:

Not to mention PERFECT for teaching neutral colors to first graders!  This is a lesson I saw a long time ago on someone's blog.  (so sorry that I can't give credit where credit is due, but I couldn't find it again even when I looked really hard)  I made a Smart Notebook file on owls, neutral colors, looking closely at owls, listening to owls and even watching them via live owl cam!  (If you want the whole Smart Notebook lesson, you can download it here)Then it was time to get to work!

We painted a paper white and splatter
painted brown and black with our
brushes--they did really well.

We painted another paper brown and black
and splatter painted white on (the white
is hard to see).

We made shapes out of manilla paper for our owl bodies:

We also used construction paper crayons
to make night-time backgrounds (not
shown here).
Then we spent days folding our painted papers and cutting out feathers, being careful to overlap them so our owls won't be naked and cold in the dark.  We traced circles onto small white papers and added pupils with Sharpie marker and painted them with stinky paint ("what is this, Mrs. Fresia?" "Just wait!!!").  The next time, we added twisted paper towel branches, orange beaks and feet, and OH MY GOSH, OUR EYES GLOW IN THE DARK!!!  (that stinky paint was glow-in-the-dark Modge Podge).

Face feathers should have been smaller,
but I still love this owl.

This one reminds me of a shaggy dog.
See how it looks like it's landing on the branch?

Someone's feathers are a bit mussed.

Love the perfectly ROUND head!

A few of these are usually chosen for our "Artist of the Month" program, and I like to have the students write letters to the principals (where their artwork will hang for the month) explaining all about their owls and that the principal shouldn't be scared when they see the eyes glowing, but I haven't been that organized this year. 
More adorable owls!

We talked about how the feathers radiate out
from the eyes, and looked at some--I love
how far this student took it.

Great job overlapping and using a variety
of their neutral colored papers to make
their feathers!

Notice that the head is ever-so-slightly cocked.

A group shot--this is about a third of the total owl
population made by first grade.


  1. A lovely project - wonderful to use paper they've prepared themselves :)Elizabeth

  2. Thanks! We actually use this textured old donated paper that's starting to yellow around the edges--I'll be so sad when it's all gone!

  3. Hi Aimee,

    I really like how you explained the project clearlywith text and pictures. The owls turned out great! Can't wait to try this!

    :)Pat, your newest follower

  4. Thanks! The owls are always a big hit, and I really feel like they learn so much.


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