Watercolors and Happy Memories

Level: K-8th ESL

Duration: 1-1.5

Goals and Objectives: To introduce watercolors, encourage self-expression, and remind students of happy memories.

Vocabulary: “____ makes me happy”

Materials: Watercolor paper, construction paper, slips of lined paper, staples, watercolor paints, soft & small brushes, water cups, paper towels, pencils, colored pencils



Teachers prepare a template for students:

  1. Cute the watercolor paper into 7”x10” pieces and the lined paper into 4”x10” slips
  2. Mount the pieces of watercolor paper onto the construction paper with staples
  3. Staple the lined paper onto the construction paper underneath the watercolor paper.

Painting a happy memory:

  1. Teachers hand out materials (except watercolors) and ask students to draw a happy memory.
  2. Students begin by drawing in pencil the scene of a memory or place that makes them happy.
  3. Teachers hand out watercolor materials and explain how to use water colors. Explain how adding a little or a lot of water will change the saturation of the color.
  4. Students paint in watercolor over their pencil drawing.
  5. Students write on the lined paper a description of the scene they painted. A simple phrase they could use would be “________ makes me happy.”
  6. Students can refine their painting with colored pencils once the watercolor paint has dried.

Our students treated and understood using watercolors better than I had anticipated. Most of our students were really involved in and excited about their paintings, they really seemed to enjoy quietly dedicating themselves to expressing their happy memories and their paintings. With such a diverse class it can sometimes be difficult to capture everyone’s interest, but in that regard I believe this project was one of our most successful. The writing at the bottom of the painting was also good practice, especially for connecting visuals to text.

Examples of what our students painted:


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