The first class I read the Eric Carle's story The Very Lonely Firefly. We then painted a 12 x 18" paper with blue, light blue and dark blue tempera paint, horizontally and overlapping each color to create a gradual change in value.
During the second class I started with painting stations, with a different combination of colors and size of paper for each part to the firefly. The students were asked to layer the colors on the paper completely filling the paper and then use the end of the paint brush to scratch different types of lines in the wet paint before moving onto the next table. I spent the time picking up the painted papers and putting them on the drying rack as the students worked to complete each paper at each table. They did a wonderful job and loved mixing the colors and all the messy paint.
I had some patterns cut from tag board for the head, wings and butt. I also pre-cut the antenna because they are so detailed and small. We spent the next 2+ classes tracing, cutting and assembling the collages.
It was very time consuming in prep work for me and the class time spent to complete them, but I think it was worth it. It will take less prep next year, since the patterns are already cut, but this is a lesson I will only teach to classes that are well managed because the paint is so messy. My teaching partner, Jayme Durrwatcher completed it, using construction paper, crayons and texture rubbing plates. This is another way to get the finished collages and cut out all the mess.