Friday, March 8, 2013

Gyotaku and 3d Grade - Science and Multi-Cultural Connections

Happy Friday everyone!  It is snowing here again! (we have about 6.5 inches already and its still coming down!)  Originally I had a delayed opening and busted my butt to shovel out the driveway before we all had to leave for work and school.  As soon as I finished shoveling, I got a call saying school was now closed!  Well, at least its done!

My third grades have been working on some Gyotaku pieces.  The kids LOVED this!  In fact I am going to develop a Gyotaku lesson for 4th and 5th grade also.  They saw the ones 3d grade was working on and begged to do it as well!  This is the first time I have done this lesson.  I just purchased my rubber fishies this school year.  I also picked up a set of leaves and moths/butterflies.  We will use them also before the school year is out.

This is another STEAM piece as it has a science connection.  It also has a multi-cultural connection.  So to start I showed the students this short video clip...


The video clip shows the students how the artist, Naoki, uses Gyotaku as his art form.  I found this clip a while back when I knew i wanted to do a Gyotaku lesson.  I have also have seen links to it on other blogs. What a great little clip!  I also showed the kids some of the art work Naoki has on his web gallery.

There are many lesson ideas out there in blog land for doing Gyotaku with kids.  These are a few that I found:  Fine LinesDali's Moustache and Art Project Girl.  I'm sure that there are more out there just Google Gyotaku lessons with kids.

I had the students start working by drawing some seaweed, lakeweed onto a piece of 12x15 white sulphite drawing paper with oil pastel.  I gave them light, dark green and yellow.

When they were done drawing, I had them paint their water using only the greens and the blues in our water color sets.  I told them to stay away from using the warm colors since it would muddy the colors and we didn't want our water to look polluted!

While the kids worked on their backgrounds independently at their tables, I called them to the back of the classroom two at a time to print their fish. (one of the classes named them Bob and Gertrude!  They name everything Bob!)  They got to choose whether they wanted to print the fat fish or the skinny fish.  I had both fish pre-printed and on the front board so they could see what each looked like.  We used tempera paint cakes to paint the fish.  This kept the amount of paint at the perfect level for getting a successful print.  I didn't have rice paper, so I cut up some Dippety-Dye paper I had to print the fish on.  It was perfect since it has a soft, flexible quality!

Close-ups of our rubber fishy friends

I placed them in the fiber board trays.  

It was crazy busy to get everyones fish printed but the kids were great following directions and we got it all done in one 30 minute class!

We let our fish prints and backgrounds dry.

This week when the students came in for art they found these supplies on their tables...  Glue sticks, scissors, pencils, painted paper scraps and a tray with black, yellow and orange paint on it.

All the painted paper scraps are leftover from an arctic landscape 4th grade is working on. More on that next week. 

In the second class the students cut out their fish and chose where they wanted to glue them in place.  They used the painted paper scraps to cut out fishy friends, shells, etc...  we used the eraser end of pencils to dot in fish bubbles, gravel, sand, what ever they wanted it to be.  a couple of the kids made the orange and yellow dots into fish eggs! I love it! :)  

These are just a few of the finished pieces from my Tuesday classes.  Everyone was thrilled with their end result!

Well, I am off to enjoy my unexpected day off from school!  The temperature is supposed to be in the high 50's this weekend and next week!  I can't wait for Spring!  Have a great weekend!  

Mrs.C  :)


  1. Where did you buy the rubber fish?
    Did you ever try it with a real whole fish?

    1. Sax through School Specialty. Never used a real fish! I would never be able to get the kids to touch it, lol !!!