Bonjour! Paris has been one of my favorite cities even before I ever visited in person. Growing up in Louisiana, we were required to learn how to speak French from 2nd grade on. I continued in high school and in college because the language was so beautiful and the culture seemed so sophisticated and amazing. I loved how every detail of the city that radiated art, and I couldn’t wait to visit. I’ve been so lucky to go to Paris twice, and it was a magical moment to see the Eiffel Tower in person.
It’s a joy to share this love of France in my art classroom. The students already know a little about the Eiffel Tower coming in, so we share what we know and go from there. I show them an informational PowerPoint about the Eiffel Tower’s history and then, for the grand finale of the Eiffel Tower intro, we watch a cool Bastille Day video of a fireworks show shooting off the Eiffel Tower. Ooh la la… The kids love seeing that!
Then I show them in my demo how to draw the Eiffel Tower on their paper. Even before I get started, one or two of the 1st graders say that’s too hard to draw. I ask everyone if they can draw a triangle, a rainbow shape (semi-circle), a straight line, and an “x”. I tell them that’s all they need to know to draw the Eiffel Tower, and then I show them how.
I found this wonderful 6-step tutorial on how to draw a basic Eiffel Tower. I go through step by step and ask for volunteers to compare what’s different from the 1st step and the 2nd step, and I draw it. Then we compare what’s different from the 2nd step and the 3rd step, and I draw it. Then we continue until the Eiffel Tower is drawn. Everyone thinks it’s done at that point, but wait! We brainstorm what we might see in the air around the Eiffel Tower in Paris. That truly could be anything, so the students just name off what they think would be awesome to see, and I draw it. It’s fun to create a drawing together with the whole class’s ideas.
I show them how to avoid having their Eiffel Tower float away by grounding it in the drawing, and then I show them how to add color by painting it with tempera paint (after they’ve re-drawn their pencil lines with Sharpie.) Lots of color! It’s fun to see them amaze themselves by drawing a really cool Eiffel Tower, then adding the color layer.
This is a great project to play traditional French music while they draw and to read one of my favorite art books, I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, to them while they paint. Enjoy…à bientôt…