Curriculum Songs and Art Collage For Textures: Composing Tunes For Learning The Elements of Art & The Elements of Design (1-6)



Lesson Overview:  Students were presented with a model I had created several years ago used for teaching color theory (primary and secondary colors.)  A color wheel was created and the song was sung to familiarize the students with the idea of taking a familiar tune and changing it to fit what we were studying (Red, Yellow, Blue sung to the tune of Three Blind Mice.)  As a group, we brainstormed topics and possible choices for songs.  The students selected texture as the element of art as well as the song Yankee Doodle to work with.  A short discussion was all it took to get the multi-aged group (grades 1 – 6) on track for this assignment.  The tune Bumpy Lumpy evolved and they were all surprised at how they were able to become composers!

Goals:  To first compose a song using familiar verse that is relative to art vocabulary then to create a piece of artwork that demonstrates knowledge of the terminology acquired.

Materials Needed:  A selection of folk songs and nursery rhymes students will be familiar with in melody and rhythm.  Listing of art vocabulary (Elements of Art & Principles of Design: line, shape, form, space, texture, color, value, rhythm, movement, variety, emphasis, unity, balance, pattern (repetition).  As the songs are written, a variety of lessons for art will be inspired. For Bumpy Lumpy, a mixed-media approach was used to create an interesting abstract collage (objects with textures: cardboard, sand, variety of tempera paints, white glue, pallet knife, yarns, feathers, fabrics, plastic bubble wraps, yarns, leather scraps, metal sheeting, old metal washers…)

Classroom set-up:  Rectangular tables covered with newspaper for artwork production work best; a circle group on the carpet with chalkboard for brainstorming ideas for tunes is ideal or a flipchart and marker if working as one group. 

Evaluation:  Students were assessed as they participated; knowledge of art was demonstrated by the ideas in the brainstorming session as the group created/composed words for their new tune.  A couple of the students asked “why” we were writing songs.  Others jumped in enthusiastically and wanted to use their thinking caps.  One student observed immediately that a lot of my art words were also musical terms  (hallelujah!) I was delighted with the outcome of this lesson.  The students rallied to create a song; I think they were pleasantly surprised at their own results. This is an excellent way to work cooperatively; for a large class, small groups of 6-8 would work well if there are parent volunteers assisting to keep the group(s) focused.

Bumpy Lumpy

(Sung To the Tune of Yankee Doodle)


Bumpy lumpy on the page

Swirling round and moving,

Long and fluffy soft and hard,

Creating lots of textures,


Bumpy lumpy make it cool,

Bumpy lumpy textures,

Lines and shapes and patterns too

Amazing dancing colors.



Red, Yellow, Blue

(Sung To the Tune of Yankee Doodle)


Red, yellow, blue.

Red yellow, blue.

See how they mix.

See how they mix.

With these three colors we can make the rest,

You’ve never seen such a beautiful mess.

Red, yellow, blue,

Red, yellow, blue.

Mix them up now.

Mix them up now.

These colors can paint the world so bright

It gives the people such delight,

Red, yellow, blue, red yellow, blue…

























Making an effort to increase student learning by integrating  music will help children gain meaningful context to their lives.