Friday Art Feature: Northern Lights Silhouettes

19 October 2012
YAY for last minute art inspiration on a Friday!  We had a big old math test this morning ... and then I think a stomach bug hit my class and they started dropping like flies.  By last block, I only had 16 students left in the class.  We were talking about the Northern Lights a few days ago in class, and I remembered a project I had seen on pinterest that reminded me of the Northern Lights.  So, I grabbed some black paper and chalk ... and we got started.

We started by drawing and then cutting out a tree silhouette (we used black construction paper trimmed to 8.5 x 11 size).  As I'm integrating poetry into each of our art projects this year, I launched into a mini-lesson about concrete poetry.  We brainstormed a list of words and phrases students could use, then they filled their trees with concrete poetry.  We used sparkle gel pens to write our poetry (they show up well on the black construction paper - and I LOVE a little sparkle in our art).

I then showed the students some images of the Northern Lights.  Although my students live "in the country" up here in Ontario, most have never seen the Northern Lights.  We then took a second piece of black construction paper (also trimmed to 8.5 x 11 size).  They did a quick trace of their tree silhouette on the new piece of construction paper, then started blending chalk colours to represent the northern lights.  Students had to "colour and blend" in an upwards motion to really get the effect.  When students were satisfied with their backgrounds, they glued their tree silhouette onto their background.  After laminating (that chalk is MESSY!!!), we stood back and admired our masterpieces.  (Only a handful finished up today, but most are just about done).

Happy Friday!!!



  1. Love it! We did concrete poetry today too! I gave them free choice but many used a Halloween theme. I wish that I taught my class art as it is so much nicer to integrate the two together. Jen

  2. So beautiful. You inspire me to integrate more art!

    Young Daze in 5th Grade

  3. Ohh...those are fabulous! I like how you incorporated the poetry on the tree. Very nice.

    Teaching in Room 6

  4. These are so incredible and meaningful! I had to keep stopping when I typed this so I could look at the pictures again!!

  5. Jen, those turned out great! I love all of your art ideas. They have inspired me to do more art with my kids this year.
    Confessions of a Teaching Junkie
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  6. Just spectacular! I'm featuring this post on Bagels and Blogs tomorrow. :)

    Math Coach’s Corner

  7. Your creativity and obvious joy of teaching is an inspiration. Thank you for inspiring me.

  8. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS IDEA! We are big on poetry in my class, and we haven't done the concrete poems yet. I would have never thought to do Northern Lights, and that is absolutely the best! Thank you for being such an inspiration.

  9. What an AMAZING idea!
    I love how you connected poetry with art - definitely something to stimulate and challenge the students.
    I'm going to put this on my (ever-growing!) list of ideas to implement ASAP :)

    I'm so glad I stumbled on your blog - I'm your newest follower :)

    Joy in the Journey

  10. I LOVE this and can't wait to try it with my fifth graders. Thanks so much! You have the best ideas, and I'm so grateful you are willing to share them.

  11. Hi Jen -
    This is off-topic, but I wanted to talk with you about teaching in Canada. My husband is Canadian and we're moving this summer to Ontario or Quebec, depending on where he is working. Would you be able to answer some questions for me?

    Susan Torrance

  12. Just found your website - Absolutely love this idea! Wonderful use of poetry and art combined! Kudos!

  13. These are just stunning! Thanks for sharing your brainwave with the rest of us.

  14. I love it! I have repinned a few of your tree projects and have now been implementing them into my classroom! Thanks for being so creative!

  15. Thank you for sharing your inspiring lessons. I did this wonderful art/poetry with my class yesterday - they turned out fabulously! Every student was completely satisfied and proud of their final product.

  16. Love this! Blogging about it and pinning it....I love it that much!

    Question: does the lam stick to the chalk?

    Peacocks & Penguins

  17. LOve your trees! I want to make them, but I can't seem to make the patterns, can you share how you made them?