Fairy / Forest Houses (2nd Grade)

Lesson Plan by Amanda E. Gross
National Visual Art Standards: 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5
Cognitive, affective, & psychomotor skills
2 or 3 Sessions

Unit Title: Forms
Unit Goal: Houses are forms
Lesson Title: Fairy / Forest Houses
Lesson Goals: Some artists employ natural materials to give a rustic and “fairy tale” quality to house forms.

Lesson Objectives:  As a result of instruction, students will be able to:

  1. Create a fairy house out of natural materials.
  2. Recognize that fairy houses are both houses and “forms.”
  3. Understand that fairy stories and myths are significant in some cultures.
  4. Work consistently, respectfully, and relatively independently.
  5. Critique their own and other students’ artwork.

Vocabulary Words: form, tradition, culture, fairy house, myth, fairy, natural materials (sticks, berries, leaves, etc.)

Visual References: 

Left to right: Structures from Patrick Dougherty, the English BeWILDderwood exhibit, Tracy Kane, and a booooooom.com fort-building contest; Elsa Beskow illustrations, Patricia Polacco’s Babushka Baba Yaga, my demo fairy house (Amanda E. Gross).

Instructional Support Materials and Supplies: Visual resources (listed above), sticks, grass, leaves, berries, glue, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, one 12″x18″ construction paper per student.

Assessment Strategies: Group and individual discussion, final “fairy houses,” observation during work times, critique.

Evaluation criteria / evidence of success: 

  • Student’s fairy house is comprised of surface paper and of natural materials provided.
  • Student can articulate how his/her fairy house is a 3- dimensional form; fairy house shows typical house features.
  • Student articulates during discussion their knowledge of what a fairy is, and what cultures celebrate fairy myths. Student utilizes available visual resources of fairy houses to gain inspiration for his or her own fairy house.
  • Student sketches house, chooses materials, and glues down materials in a safely, respectfully, and relatively independently.
  • Student eagerly offers polite and insightful comments on his/her own and classmates’ fairy houses.

Class Progression:
Day 1: 
1. Motivation:Class discussion: Can anyone tell me what a fairy is? Fairies are important in traditional myths and stories. What is a “tradition”? What is a “myth”? Fairies are important in the traditional myths and stories of Russia, Sweden, Iceland, and many other countries.
2. Introduce Patricia Polacco’s Russian story, Babushka Baba Yaga; Has anyone read this before?
3. Read the story, showing the students the pictures and stopping to ask them questions throughout: What were the houses like of the people who lived in the village? What might a house look like that Baba Yaga and the fairies had in the forest?
4. Explain how houses are 3-dimensional, and thus are “forms.”
5. Present the rest of the visual resources and introduce the lesson: Today we’re going to make our own fairy houses using sticks, leaves, berries, and other natural materials!
6. Explore: Students go to their desks, on which is placed a 12”x18” piece of color construction paper.
7. Students sketch their fairy houses in pencil; Make it big! You’ll cover your sketch with sticks, etc. next class.

Day 2: 
1. Motivation: Review: Who can tell us what we did last class?
2. Introduce lesson: Today, we’re going to make our fairy houses! We don’t want to pick them up, or else the pieces will fall off. We have to give them time to dry, a day or so.
3. Explain that students won’t be using scissors, but will be breaking sticks that they would like to be made shorter
4. Demonstrate how to glue down the sticks onto the construction paper.
5. Explore: Students choose materials for their fairy houses, from a pile on their tables, and create their fairy houses.
6. Reflection: When students are finished with their fairy houses, give them a sheet of paper for a written assessment: What did you learn? What’s one thing that you liked about the project? One thing that you didn’t like or found challenging?
7. When all students are all finished, hold a critique and class discussion. Students consider the following:

  • Who’s house do you like and why? W
  • ho has a house that looks better for fairies, more than people?
  • Who has a house that looks better for humans, more than fairies?
  • Who used sticks really well in their house?
  • What else did people put on their construction papers besides just a house? (Some students may have fairy hot tubs, bridges, and even a chimney, which can lead to lovely discussions about fairies might have these things.)

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