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Fun with Hieroglyphs
Create a large mixed media design using picture writing or "hieroglyphs". Students can incorporate their own symbols into the design.

Ruth Goldfaden, Gardner Elementary School, Detroit



sketch paper, scrap paper
white drawing paper (11 x 13", heavy enough to wet with watercolors)

(Note: The use of better quality materials for this project could mean the difference between a successful creative experience and one that is frustrating)

oil crayons (if available)
water paints (such as Prang or Crayola)
gold and silver metallic markers (optional)
various colors of construction paper (12" x 14") for mounting

Step 1
Students were encouraged to use some of the symbols they had seen and also to incorporate their own symbols to create an interesting visual design. They might also want to communicate an idea, or write a name. On small sketch paper design and arrange symbols until coming up with final design. Students were told it might be easier to begin first by dividing their paper into a few rows or columns with lines, selecting either a vertical or horizontal format:

Step 2
Lightly pencil final design on large white drawing paper , beginning first with column lines. These lines can become part of the final design.

Step 3
Trace over or outline penciled designs with a dark marker.

Step 4
Apply color to design with various materials. We begin with crayons and markers and the use water paints over and around the crayon . This creates a resist effect where the paint does not adhere to the oil or wax crayoned areas.

Step 5
When complete and dry, designs can be mounted on slightly larger (12 x 14) sheets of colored construction paper.

Step 6
Students were allowed to add gold and silver "accents" and border designs to their work. They were cautioned not to overdo it with the metallic colors as this might detract from the rich coloring of their design. After mounting their designs on contrasting color paper, students could incorporate some of their design elements in the colored border.

This lesson was completed over 4 class periods of 50 minutes, with 28 to 34 4th and 5th graders. At the beginning of each class we would view our work and discuss progress and ask questions. I encouraged students to analyze and plan the composition of shape, color and contrast. Early finishers were encouraged to evaluate their work and perhaps go back into it and re-apply crayon and paint to enhance contrast and depth of color, and clean up pencil marks, etc.

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