First Grade Creates Beautiful Place Mats

This was a lesson that has now sparked a collaboration with various teams based on a two things: beauty and eating.

I wanted to do printmaking with my first graders but I wanted to change it up from last year.  Previously, first grade made large cards printed on with a large piece of styrofoam.  I wanted my students to make more prints but not use a lot of different papers.

We read a book called Only One You in which a fish gets some life lessons from his parents.  One of the lines reads, “Appreciate art.  It is all around you.” The moment I read it, I thought about this project.  How cool would it be to make a place mat using printmaking techniques.  How cool would it be to laminate it so the students could actually use their work of art. Form and function.

I had students use a large piece of construction paper, 18″ x 12″.  They folded the paper to make four corners  in the middle of the paper.  This would help them understand where to place their printmaking plate.

Students made their printmaking plates out of the Inovart styrofoam printmaking blocks.  Luckily they are already cut to a 4″ x 6″ rectangle.  They did a really great job scratching their designs into the foam, not poking through. Students also performed well as they rotated through the various centers which were divided by colors.


On day two, I had each student use the texture stamps as a border.  This was a little tricky. We learned a new vocabulary word: border.  They learned it though and the results are awesome.


An idea has formed for next year.  I would love to laminate their place mats and keep them at a center.  Then, to co-inside with a nutrition unit, we can make healthy meals out of construction paper (collage).  Students can tape their plates to the place mat.  They can change their meals. It would be great to showcase healthy meals but stressing colorful pieces (vegetables) and craftsmanship (a neat meal is more visually appealing and we are more likely to eat.  Stay tuned to more developments on this.







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