connecting curriculum and creativity through art

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Festive Elephants of India

In 6th grade, we cover the art timeline and various cultures around the world. So with that being said we( My teaching buddy and I) had the students make festive elephants of India.

Day 1
The students first traced an elephant shape on one side (I had 8 tracers to choose from- all different poses) then they painted using black and white tempera paint and created a "texture" on their paper.

Day 2
We discussed all the awesome designs the people used to decorate their beautiful elephants. The people of India also put lavish materials such as sequins, jewels, and tassels on the elephants and even paint the elephant's toenails! The students cut out the elephants then added tails and ears, then they drew with white oil pastels designs on their elephants, The last step of the class period was to paint with fluorescent paint. The kids LOVED using the bright colors.

Day 3
The first step was to add burlap blankets with ribbons, jewels, sequins and pom-pons. What fun they had making fringes, and adding all the items to their special elephant. The next step was to take a 9x12 piece of paper, add a paper border, glue down to the black background paper (12 x 16) and add a border with white oil pastels and paint. I stress to the students when painting the border use a few colors to compliment your elephant. My students are really understanding that concept! My famous line and they giggle every time

"Just because you get the color samples on a card at the paint store doesn't mean you are going to paint your dining room everyone of the colors!"

Students picked 2-3 colors for your border etc. They giggle at me but they understand what I am trying to point out. These turned out so fun! You know you have a hit when the other classes are excited about the project! This project was a brainstorm idea with my buddy! Her tracers were from a previous project, we just mixed it up!


  1. Gosh, you've been posting one spectacular, original project after another! I love the rich colors, the pizazz of everything you've been doing from India.

  2. this is a great lesson? Would you be willing to share your elephant (in various poses) templates?? What are you thoughts on having them draw them themselves instead of templates? Just curious if you tried that and if it did not that work-is that why you use the templates or is it a time saver?

  3. Lori,
    I'll take photos of the templates and put them on flickr. In 6th grade we usually don't use tracers but was a time saver because we threw in this lesson in between Egyptian and Greek art! :)

  4. Thanks so much! I tried it with my two grade 2 classes:

  5. I love these and can't wait to have my students make them!!! I'll give you some blog love when I get them posted! Thanks for sharing!


  6. Love this project. I did a similar project with my students recently. Love your site.

  7. Another great idea :) thank you for sharing.

  8. Hi,
    I love this :-) We're starting a topic all about India in September and this would be perfect.....can you tell me where I could find your copies of the elephant tracers?
    Thanks a lot,

    1. I just cut some out of tagboard pretty easy to draw. :)