Kids love to doodle, in math class, social studies, wherever. Some of their drawings are fantastic- and they don’t even realize it. Whole worlds are created in these drawings…why not use them? This wonderful, short lesson encourages creative writing and art by investigating these doodles. It’s quick and fun. The art and creative writing that students produce is amazing.
In this lesson my seventh graders make a quick scribble, turn that scribble into a living creature, and then make that scribble a superhero complete with super-human powers, called a Doodle Hero. They even have to come up with its “Most Embarrassing Moment”.
Aidan’s work exemplifies a colored pencil blending technique I taught them. By choosing analogous colors and overlapping them, students were able to develop a gradient effect within their Doodle Hero. What Aidan wrote about his hero: Clora-ful can get energy from color and transfer it into beams of light. When he gains his energy, everything turns black and white. His Most Embarrassing Moment was when he fell into a bucket of paint and became colorful in a world where color is illegal.
All you need is paper and colored pencils and/or markers. You could also use water color paints, or other art materials you have on hand, but I would keep it simple.
First I showed them my short video of how I made mine (see it here) or you may demonstrate yourself. Normally I do demos right in front of my students, but with this art and writing lesson I found that showing them the video saved class time. It was interesting to compare student responses to my live demonstration versus a video demonstration. (If you haven’t done it already, try videotaping demos for your students and see how they work for you. A white board video may even be the way to go.)
The most wonderful part of this drawing and writing lesson is the divergent art produced. Each student took it in a completely different direction. In Nico’s he drew wings, rockets, segmented legs, teeth, claws, and patterns. What Nico wrote about his Doodle Hero: It is able to fly at supersonic speed by using its gigantic rocket and large wings. Its Most Embarrassing Moment was when he turned around while he was skiing and with his rocket accidentally caused an avalanche.
This is where students can be silly and have some fun. Students can either write about their own work, or the work of their peers. It requires them to observe carefully and decide on what superpower that hero would have. Then based on that power, they have to develop a storyline for their most embarrassing moment. Some students were so into this they made ‘sidekicks’ for their hero, as well as scenery. Others went as far as developing a backstory so we could better understand where that hero was coming from.
Some students were inspired to create whole worlds for their Doodle Hero to live in, complete with other characters, cities and ‘back story’. What Emma wrote about her Doodle Hero: Si has the ability to teleport wherever he wants. His Most Embarrassing Moment’ was when he teleported into a girls’ bathroom. Awkward!