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Grade: other
Subject: Art

#803. Add It Up Alligators

Art, level: other
Posted Fri Jan 15 16:42:21 PST 1999 by rr (
the art room
special ed., buffalo, ny
Materials Required: construction paper, scissors, glue, envelope for storage
Activity Time: 3 45 minute periods Flexible for non-specials
Concepts Taught: shapes, pattern, fine motor skills

Add It Up Alligators important to create one as teacher product

sequential lessons in shape, pattern and fine motor skills
students will complete each lesson before they are letin on the result of making an alligator 54" from nose to tail. This secret allows the student to stay focused on 1 concept at a time.
Lesson 1: squares and rectangles
Concept to be learned: strengthen shape and pattern recognition, fine-motor and perceptual skills, encourageing imagination, play and sense of self within a group
materials: (per child)
2 pieces 2" x 18" black construction paper
1 piece 2" x 18" yellow construction paper
1 piece 6" x 18" green construction paper
#10 regular business envelope
glue stick, elmer's glue or paste
also make this yourself as a teacher aid, it worked wonders as a discipline aide
Each child learns to cut squares by first folding the black sheet in half 3 times, then unfolding it and cutting along the crease to get 8 squares. Repeat this with the second piece of black for a total of 16 squares.
I allow students to help each keeps everyone at the same stage.
Store the pieces in an envelope marked with the child's name it is important NOT to seal them.

Moving on to rectangles: fold the yellow piece in half 4 times and cut along the crease to get rectangles.

Pattern: I started a discussion on the concept of pattern. A checkerboard is a pattern of repeated squares.
Ask students:What other types of patterns can be formed using squares? Can you make the pattern different using rectangles? Students practice arranging their shapes on the 6"x 18" sheet of green paper.
Who can make the most patterns? Make this a game. Final pattern can be glued to the green sheet

Lesson 2: Circles
Concept to be learned: Cutting circles "freehand" is a challenge for most primary grade students accostomed to photocopied shapes and cut-on-the-line instructions. Here the directions are to cut a black square - no folding- and trim the edges and corners while rotating the square with one hand and cutting with the other. Demonstration required by the teacher.
materials: (per child)
6" x 18" green construction paper cut to a narrow triangle (the tail)
scissors, glue, compasses can be incorporated for older kids
Scrap paper of various sizes for at about a dozen circles for each child. I used black construction paper, but a mixed scheme is fine too.
students will use a variety of scrap paper and cut circles as big as a grapefruit, as small as a ladybug and many sizes in between. Students will arrange the circles from large to small on the precut triangle that will repesent the tail. Glue the circles to the green base after arranging is complete

Lesson 3: Triangles
Students should be curious about the teacher product that has been present to motivate during the tedious cutting and arranging. I spend a few moments entertaining the children with what might be living in the bag that acts up from time-to-time.
materials: (per child)
2 pieces 2" x 10" white construction paper (copy paper ok too)
4 pieces 2" x 2" green construction paper
1 piece 6" x 18" green construction paper, cut to a narrow triangle
Tackle triangles by making 2 cuts in from the edge at opposing angles of the white paper strip. A row of opposing diagonal cuts made close together will yield a pile of triangles and a "scrap piece" with a jagged edge from where the triangles fell away. Save the jagged strip in the childs envelope and repeat with the other white strip and again with the 4 green pieces. (white strips are the 2 rows of teeth and green pieces will become the claws)

Adding it all together....
The secret is about to be revealed!
Using the long, green, narrow triangle and the white jagged strips, demonstrate how to paste along the edge of the green piece to attach the teeth - from wide to narrow tip. This becomes the head of the alligator and children can use scraps to attach eyes.
Using the checkerboard and circle designs (body and tail) attach so the checkerboard is center and triangles (head and tail) are glued to opposite sides.
From the triangle excercise, retreive the 4 green squares cut to a jagged edge and attach to the body section (2 per side) This gets very exciting for the students as they see their efforts coming together.

Each alligator can take on a life of its own by as rows of repeated "U" shapes are drawn on the head and tail to represent the textured look of the reptile. Since baby alligators hatch from eggs, students can design eggs from lunch size white paper bags - adding curved edges and cracks with black marker.

Carefully roll the alligator - from head to tail so they fit into their new homes. They are placed inside their eggs until hatching time ...which you can bet will be a great source of pride for an open house or bulletin board.

This lesson was from the October 1994 issue of Arts and Activities