In my work with the wide age range of Kindergartners to Seniors in High School, I've decided that my older students need more basic skills. So I've made a strong attempt to find some "big ideas" and find a way to bring them down to the elementary level. While some of these skills come with big concepts, I feel like younger students can "get it" to a certain degree. They may not understand completely, but I believe that exposing them to these ideas will help them as they get older and are able to apply their skills with a higher level of thinking based on the natural maturity process.
With that said, I decided to expose my 2nd graders to the concept of shading and values.
I got out my "big kid" shading pencils and demonstrated how if you pushed really hard you could get really dark and that if you didn't push much at all it would be much lighter...a very 2nd grade approach to shading techniques.
We drew masks inspired by Africa with simple shape designs. The masks turned out to be pretty generic looking but they are still cool. After the students finished shading, they chose from a variety of colored paper to glue their masks on.
Some students "got it" while others didn't, but that's ok. They were willing to try!