Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Dinner with 1st Grade

Doris Lee’s painting of women preparing a Thanksgiving feast made headlines when it was first exhibited at the Art Institute in 1935 and won the Logan Purchase Prize. The folk themes of Thanksgiving, rural customs, and family life had great appeal to a country still in the midst of the Depression in the 1930s.

I like to share this image with my 1st grade students to identify elements of Thanksgiving: family working together to create the meal, the amount of work each family member puts in for the evening, and where the feast is prepared.  Students love to see the little details, like the cat playing with the little girl and the babies in the high chair.

After discussing the image, I like to talk about how we sit together at Thanksgiving dinner, and what food we traditionally serve in our families.  For the project, I have students draw their Thanksgiving dinner table surrounded by 
their family.       


-9 x 12 in. white paper
-black markers for tracing
-colored pencils or crayons
-12 x 14 in. colored paper for frame
-roll of masking tape to trace dinner table circle

The students will create an aerial view of their Thanksgiving dinner.  This project takes 2 40-minute class periods.  The first day is to discuss the image and how to create the picture.  Demonstrate to the students how to draw food on the table (the right size), and people surrounding the table.  

Watch their work!  Many times, even after explaining how to draw people around the table, I still have students drawing their people on one side of the table like this:

Once the pictures are drawn, have students trace in black markers.  On day 2, have students finish tracing, coloring in their entire picture, and framing with the 12 x 14  colored paper.

                                                                                          Happy Thanksgiving!

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