I tried the lesson from last month's School Arts magazine with my first graders. This was a three week lesson for my first grade students.
Week one we practiced drawing many types of fish. I used step by step drawing books and photocopies at each table. The students folded their papers into eights and followed along with me at the board to draw the first two fish. Then they could choose any they liked to fill their paper.
Week two I demonstrated the entire process of creating a plate and making prints from the plate. Students then went back and selected one fish drawing from the first week and traced that onto their styrofoam plate. (I had these precut to fishbowl shapes by tracing a butter lid off the edge of the paper.) Older students could easily do their own. This would have been an entire 40 minute class period for my crew.
Week three we did a quick review of the printing process and I showed them where to find supplies and where to store prints when done. Each table had a thick sponge on a foam tray. The sponges were wet on one side so students could pick up the sponge and swipe it across their paper. My class made two copies each without reloading the plated. I explained the second would be lighter and this is called a ghost print. The students write their names and table # immediately on both sheets of paper before I placed the markers on their tables.
Possible extension/Closure: Read the story "Rainbow Fish" and take a small sheet of fancy paper and cut it into enough spaces for each child to glue a special scale to their fish.
Styrofoam plates (5" square per student)
Crayola waterbased markers
Drying Rack or clothesline