Thursday, November 3, 2016

Matisse Paper Cutouts (2016)

This is a favorite project for me that will probably be a repeat every year---it's a good way to get my 2nd graders to just relax! Check out my previous posts for this project here and here.

Made a few big changes to the project including a pretty big emphasis on geometric and organic shapes and using glue sponges.

I Can tell you something about the artist Henri Matisse.
I Can cut organic and geometric shapes.
I Can identify and sort organic and geometric shapes.

Day 1:
Introduced Matisse with this great video!

Then we looked at his artwork and discovered that he used a lot of shapes and dived into organic vs geometric. After we talked about organic and geometric shapes, they paired up with dry erase boards and I put different shapes up on the SMART board and they had to identify them as organic or geometric. After a few rounds of that,  I showed them my example and told them to start cutting (without much instruction) and gave them a large envelope to keep pieces in.

Day 2:
Reviewed organic and geometric shapes using Plickers (USE IT, you only need 1 device!). As a review of Matisse they filled out their artist book pages,which have gotten a little revamp from last year. I'll update on those soon. After their page was filled out I showed them my demo of cutting a variety of shapes and sizes in different ways to get their wheels turning. They spent the rest of the time cutting away and adding to what they already had cut last time with reminders to be cutting both organic and geometric.

Day 3:
Reviewed the shapes with a little shape sorting as a whole class using laminated shapes. Then they heard a Matisse book that I highly reccommend. Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter, found here on Amazon.

After the story we watched my demo video of arranging and gluing and talked about composition. "Bad" examples are always important during this step for my kiddos to really understand what makes a composition work (and not work). 

The second big change for the project was using glue sponges to assemble their artworks. It made a HUGE difference in craftsmanship and glue amounts...i'll NEVER go back for this project.  Not everyone finished gluing so I had them toss out or take with their extra paper that they weren't using on their projects and only had them put the pieces they were using on their projects back into their envelopes. 
Love this little section--started off as a gun (a no go!) and transformed into a spigot! 

Day 4:
Students who didn't finish last time had time to finish and we wrapped up by filling out part 2 of our artist book page and filling out a rubric for the project that included a shape assessment. Check it out, let me know what you think. My elementary art team has been working super hard on developing rubrics this year...

Love love love love LOVE this project. The color! The shapes! The movement! They just can't go wrong...


  1. I love this! Would you mind sharing your "demo" presentation of examples & non-examples of arranging a composition? I'd love that! :)