Second graders absolutely rocked a bunch of principles with these masterpieces inspired by Henri Matisse's "The Goldfish". First students discussed patterns found when you look at objects, both natural and man made, reeeaaaally close up. We then used these patterns as inspiration to make four of our own. Student employed one color of oil pastel in each section on a 12" x 18" paper, but they could use any shade of that color. (They mostly got that idea).
In week 2 we talked again about complementary colors (I describe it as how you might compliment a friend who has a trait that is very different. "Ava I love how your red hair is so different from my brown hair, and I am complimenting you about it"). Students then used complementary colors to paint the sections on their papers.
In week 3 we talked a bit more about Matisse, and looked closely at his painting. We talked about how even though he was painting pretty realistically, the way he painted the four corners kind of look like our pieces. We then drew cylinders, based on a short intro to 3D shapes, and filled them with water and fish and put them on tables. These were cut and glued in session 4, but we also moved on to a different project that day, because these almost third graders can do that part in a flash!
I know a lot of people do something similar, but I got my inspiration from the fab Kristin Kimmell, one of the best art teachers I know!