Today we did Lie-Down Painting a la Michelangelo. Yes, we used real paint. I had the children work in pairs to sketch a design on large paper, then they taped it under the tables and the fun began! Smocks, of course. I only gave them poster paint, since it's thick. Paint for each child, a brush for each child, a jar of rinse water to share. It took about 45 minutes to read and discuss the short biography of Michelangelo, half an hour for their planning/sketching time, and half an hour for the painting time. My only suggestion is that you should have the cleaning spray for the floors and a pile of cleaning cloths at hand right away so that you can give them to the teams as soon as they are done painting. Also, it helps if the teacher goes around and gives each team 8 pieces of masking tape, stuck to the edge of the table, instead of the children trying to tear off their own tape and tape up the paper while two other teams are trying to take the tape away from them because they need it next.
By the way, expect that children will get paint in their hair. I don't know why but there it is.
Bio we read was the chapter from Collier's Junior Classics, volume 8. I posted a review of this book; find it here: Road to Greatness (Collier's Junior Classics, Volume 8)
The review I wrote includes a list of all the people from history for whom there are biographies in this book. It's a wonderful set for homeschoolers -- the very best quality -- and I love that there's a quote from Walter de la Mare in the introduction to the series.