Connect with prior knowledge using Henri Rousseau and his jungle-themed art work. In this four day lesson, students create a fantasy jungle. Students will need to view one or two pieces of Rousseau's artwork and talk about what they see, feelings his works evoke, and describe some element in his work that could be considered fantasy. Have students share their definitions and understanding of what fantasy entails. Allow students a class session to practice drawing and brainstorm for ideas on how to arrange their composition.
You should be prepared to supply visuals, whether through you school streamline with an educational tv service. Here in South Carolina I use South Carolina Educational Television "Streamline." You may download clips from Animal Planet, Discovery to make a real world connection with students. You can check for understanding by asking questions about what students know about animals, habitat and behaviors of animals - all of which will tie in with some of their studies in science. I always try to pull in bits and pieces of other subject matter to show students the relevance and relationships it has with visual arts. Magazines, brochures and other imagery may also be included. What you are looking for in this lesson is not a cookie cutter of a Rousseau work of art, but a child's interpretation of a fantasy jungle. Students should not be expected to create exactness in re-creating the animals. They should only be assessed on what you already know about their skills, and the developmentally appropriate style for students of this age. I had my students use tempera paint to color their jungles and threw in a value mixing lesson as well throughout the rotation. Note: in our school, we are on a 5 day rotation with fine arts. Projects are geared toward utilizing the 5 days of the rotation. We have been doing this for 5 years now and it has raised the quality of the artwork as students get more in-depth with the content, skill and study, and have more time to do a more thorough job on follow through and completion.