Charley Harper Birds: 3rd Grade

PicMonkey Collage


One of my favorite things about teaching is HOW MUCH I LEARN through teaching.  Seriously, my self-awareness has skyrocketed through my daily interactions with children.  Plus, my students are always teaching me things about the world around us. If I teach a lesson about owls, children will raise their hands and offer up facts about owls that I had never heard of!  I’m stunned and thankful to be surrounded by such wonder. Learning and teaching aren’t parallel lines moving down a one-way street, they are constantly intersecting, interchanging, and changing directions.


3rd graders have been learning about collage this quarter and I wanted to introduce a brand new artist for this project. After a little bit of research, I stumbled upon illustrator Charley Harper (who is actually from WV, my home state!) My own creative wheels were spinning  as I filled my cup with knowledge about this artist and put together a powerpoint presentation for the class.

Henri Matisse defined collage as “painting with scissors,” so I encouraged 3rd graders to think about this perspective as they began their compositions. Students created their own scenes depicting minimalist birds with sharp, clean details.

While we certainly looked at and discussed many of Harper’s collages, I intentionally didn’t give students too much direction. I wanted to see where they took this project.  Here are some images of their progress.





Aren’t they fascinating? I think that, together, these collages could form a storybook. Hmm…




Have a great day!

-Mrs. Heinlein

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