Years ago, I wrote a grant, and got table easels and canvases for the kiddos. We went outside and painted, and it was a lot of fun. Since then, I've made the canvas painting an annual tradition for 4th graders. They puzzle over the easels as they move from Kindergarten up to 4th grade, waiting for their time to use them. The project varies from year to year, but the canvas/easel painting has become a rite of passage for my 4th graders. This year, we looked at the work of Monet, and discussed how he layered his colors, and how he did not draw first. We started our canvases by using cool colors and white, to fill in a background with brushstrokes, mixed colors, and floral shapes. The next step will be to use warm colors to add in butterflies and dragonflies- but shhhh- don't tell the kiddos- they don't know yet. And, hopefully, if we hold it all together and keep up the good work we've started, we'll use black paint to add some structure lines.