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Grade 2 Portfolios – “My Many Colored Days”

This project is a great way to use last year’s broken crayons! You can even assign students the job of peeling paper off the broken crayons just for this purpose…. some kids LOVE to do this!!

“My Many Colored Days”, written (but not illustrated) by the beloved Dr. Seuss, is the inspiration for my Grade 2 portfolio lesson. Dr. Seuss wrote this text more than 20 years before his death, but wanted someone else to illustrate it. After his death at age 87, his widow brought the text to his editor, who found artists Steve Johnson and Lou Francer to successfully capture the effect Dr. Seuss had hoped for. In this beautifully illustrated book, feelings and moods are compared to a spectrum of colors in a way that both kids and adults can relate to.
Second graders will use both positive and negative space, along with the familiar technique of crayon resist, to make their portfolios reflect their own unique feelings and moods:
1. Fold a 4″x6″ index card in half “the hot dog way” (lengthwise) and draw a simple “gingerbread-style” person on the fold.
2. Cut out and save both the positive and negative shapes.
3. Using a crayon, draw a horizontal line across the middle of your portfolio. No need to use a ruler – you don’t need to measure anything and it doesn’t even have to be straight!
4. Now draw two somewhat “vertical” lines (they can be a little slanted) so that the front of your portfolio is divided into six sections. Use a different color for each line.
5. Place your cut-out person inside the portfolio and use the side of a broken crayon (with paper removed) to make a texture rubbing of it.
6. Change colors and move your person to a new spot and make another rubbing. It’s okay (and actually desirable) to have the people overlap into different sections. You can use both your positive and negative shapes to make your rubbings.
7. Keep changing colors and making new rubbings until you have at least 7 or 8 “people” on the front of your portfolio.
8. Using watercolors, paint each person, but change colors when a person crosses over into a new section. Paint all the people this way.
9. After you’ve painted all of your people, paint the background of each section a different color than any of the colors you used on the people in it, and a different color than the other backgrounds next to it. Experiment with mixing new colors to reflect your different moods and feelings!
10. Finally, use a black UF Sharpie to add expressions to each of your faces, to go with the colors you painted them.

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