Before beginning the project, I gave the students a two week notice that they each needed to provide a grayscale printed photo of an animal. I gave them the option to email it to me if they don't have a printer at home. I told them that it could really be any animal as long as it was a close up and the photo should be about the size of their hand.
When it was time to begin the project, the first step was to have the students paint their background. I asked them to select one color but a few begged to use two colors and I agreed, because why not. I suggested bright colors that the grays would really pop on. Turquoise and pink were popular choices.
The next step was setting up my two classroom projectors around the classroom, dimming the lights and teaching the students how to use them to project their image onto their canvas. They worked together with a partner to figure it out and then traced their animals with a white pencil onto the background. This ended up taking a lot longer than I expected and if I teach this project in the future, I'll definitely find a couple more projectors to borrow.
From here, I printed out some grayscale images for the students to reference that went from white to black in 10 steps and were number 1,2,3......10. I had the students all start by looking at their photo and finding the areas that were a shade of 10 (black). They all used their photo for reference and paint the black into their image. The next step was to find all of the 1 shade (white) and paint that. Next we all found the shade 5 and painted that. From there the students were to find the different shaded 2-9 and to paint them accordingly. Although this is easy to explain, it is a quite difficult process, especially for 9 year olds.
They really blew my mind though, I didn't realize how amazing that these would turn out and it was sooooo awesome watching the students persevere through this. They were sooooo proud of themselves and I was an extremely proud teacher (like usual).