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One Fish, Two Fish, Paint a New Fish!

This First Grade lesson comes from Deep Space Sparkle, one of my favorite art lesson resources. I thought it would be a great color theory and line project to start out the year. The first graders remembered learning about the primary colors last year in Kindergarten, and this was a great way to review mixing primaries to create  secondary colors. We also discussed creating patterns by repeating various types of  lines.


  • 12×18″ paper
  • Individual palettes for each student with red, yellow, and blue
  • Oval templates (large and small)
  • Black Sharpies
  • pencils
  • Large and small brushes
  • Water cups for rinsing brushes
  • Black and white paint


I followed the same procedures as Deep Space Sparkle. We read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss and talked about rhyming words and opposites. The students traced 3 large ovals and 3 small ovals onto their paper using a Sharpie. They added eyes, fins, tails etc, but I told them they didn’t have to add scales or other details yet. They painted the large fish with the primary colors first, and then moved on to mixing secondary colors for the smaller fish. If they wanted to, they could use all three colors to make brown for sand or rocks. I gave them some white and blue paint to mix a tinted color for the water.

On the second day, we finished painting all of the fish and water, and talked about lines. Lines can be horizontal or vertical, they can cross or intersect. They can be curved, zigzag, dotted, broken, curly or bumpy. Using a small paintbrush dipped in black paint, the students outlined their fish, and added a pattern of lines to each one. They enjoyed having two class periods to work on the project, and the black outlines were really worth the extra time.

The results: Click on the image to enlarge.

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