Posing Pets

Posing Pets lesson plan

Do cats curl up with tails around their noses? Or dogs fling a paw across their faces? Create pets in delightful poses that they’ll hold forever---in paper mache!

  • 1.

    Begin a discussion with students focused on their pets. Allow students to share their experiences with various house pets. Pose questions such as: Did you ever notice the interesting positions pets take? Have you ever watched cats while they bathe themselves? Their positions are both interesting and graceful. Dogs also take expressive stances. They cock their heads to listen to you. Or stand at attention when they listen to a sound that you can’t hear. Ask students to share their observations of domestic pets.

  • 2.

    If possible, ask students to video their pets at home. Bring the electronic video file to class for peers to view. How is the head tilted? Where are all four legs or its fins? What are its tail and ears doing? Students use Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils to sketch positions that pets get themselves into. If students are unable to supply video files from home, search the Internet for similar file examples.

  • 3.

    Students will create a sculpture of a positioned pet. They may use their colored pencil sketches for reference. To begin sculpture’s base, students crumple recycled newspaper into firm balls. Use masking tape to attach them together. Form newspaper into pet’s limbs. If more is needed for the structure, use rolled newspaper tubes to create long limbs. Place them in the correct positions.

  • 4.

    Students cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Mix equal amounts of Crayola® School Glue and water in a plastic bowl. Tear newspaper into small strips, then dip the newspaper into the glue mixture. Wipe away any excess glue, then smooth the wet strip onto the newspaper animal. Cover the animal completely, then add another layer, overlapping the strips as they are applied. Dry overnight after every two or three layers.

  • 5.

    For the last layer, students tear white paper towels into small strips. Apply them in the same way as the newspaper. Dry. Paper mache dries more quickly in a warm room or with moving air. Drying may take one or more days.

  • 6.

    Paint pets with Crayola Washable Kid's Paint. Dry. If the pet is multicolored, dry before painting additional colors.

  • 7.

    While pets are drying, ask students to compose a paragraph about their pets. What type of pet is it? What is the pet doing in the position it is sculpted in? What do you think the pet is thinking?

  • 8.

    Display student sculptures and writing in a prominent place in the classroom for easy viewing.

Standards

  • LA: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • LA: Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown; The Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters by Christoph Niemann; This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers
  • Encourage students to investigate the artwork of animal artists such as Deborah Butterfield and Edward Remington. Students incorporate new knowledge from research into creating their pet sculptures.
  • Students experiences a read by the teacher or other adult that has an animal as the central character. After the experience, students sketch the animal as it appears in their minds. From the sketch, students create 3-D paper mache sculptures of the character. Students display their sculptures in a public place. The sculptures are accompanied by a student-written description of the animal and its characteristics.