Summer Art Challenge

summer art challenge

I am going to introduce this summer art challenge to my students next week.  I did this summer art challenge a couple of years ago and we had a lovely display in the fall.  The parents of the kids who participated thanked me for the ideas.  Whenever their kids said they were bored, they told them to pick something from the list. It’s been awhile since I updated the list of challenges, so I went over it today to freshen … Read more…

Bird Pictures with First Graders & Studying Audubon

First graders create bird paintings after learning about Audubon.

I am so proud of how well my first graders drew these beautiful birds and I’m excited to share them with you. We started by reading the beautiful book The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon.  This book is a wonderful connection to science as Audubon was a fascinating man who studied the migration of birds and painted them.  Your budding scientists will love this story. The students looked at reference photos of birds from books.  … Read more…

End of Year Kindergarten Fingerprint Art

A fingerprint and hand art project at the end of kindergarten.

Our Kindergarten teachers approached me with a request for an art project for the back cover of their memory books.  The kids have filled out pages in their memory books all year and they wanted a colorful back cover. I found a fun and easy way to make fingerprint art on the Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails blog.  Then, we used a great end of year poem by Helen H. Moore. We started by dripping water in pans of … Read more…

Non-objective Drawings by 3rd and 4th Graders

NonObjective Drawing (4)

I love non-objective art. Non-objective art means that the art does not represent or depict person, objects or places.  It is a picture with lines, colors and shapes as the subject. I teach this drawing project every year and the results are always beautiful. The children learn about concepts such as types of line, organic and geometric shapes, shading, values, variety of sizes, variety in general, overlapping, texture (from rubbing plates) and how to categorize non-objective, abstract and realistic art. … Read more…

Color Scheme Studies with 3rd Grade

Color Scheme Studies (3)

My third grade classes studied color theory by using the color wheel.  They learned about many different color schemes including warm, cool, neutral, primary, secondary, rainbow, analogous, monochromatic and complementary.  First, they started by coloring in this Color Wheel worksheet.  (I added monochromatic and neutral to the list.) On 8.5″ x 5.5″ white copy paper, the students drew a design that had rhythm through the use of repeating lines or shapes.  We talked about how rhythm in art is similar … Read more…

Reflections on Intentions

Medieval Banners

I was honored to be included on a list of recommended blogs from Art Mouse House.  I have just recently started following Art Mouse House and it is a very new blog.  It already looks like it’s going to be a wonderful blog with lots of fresh ideas and clear explanations. I read her post about setting an intention and found myself nodding my head in agreement the whole time.. thinking, yep, that’s totally what I believe too!  I’ve been … Read more…

Paper Hats with 2nd Graders

Making Paper Hats with 2nd graders

This is just a quick post to share with you a simple and fun project for the end of the year.. paper hats!  The kids started with a long strip of construction paper, drew designs on their hats with construction paper crayons, punched out shapes and added fun paper extensions from the scrap box.  The strip was placed around their head and stapled by me. We got more use out of our paper sculpture techniques poster (below).  Easy.  Fun.  Practice … Read more…

Art Around the World – Sketchbook Prompt Cards

I am super excited to tell you about my new pack of sketchbook prompt cards.  My Art History Sketchbook Prompts have helped out a lot of art teachers and I wanted to make more.  My students enjoy learning about different art works and they like getting small nuggets of information along with the chance to create artwork inspired by what they see.   The new art history prompts are called Art Around the World – a set of 14 task cards … Read more…

Making Talking Sticks with Kids

Making talking sticks by painting and decorating branches.

Earlier this year, one of the second grade teachers approached me about an idea for an art/social studies collaboration.  She had read a story to the children about a tribe which used talking sticks. She thought the students would be interested in making their own special talking sticks.  This could be a great project to accompany character education on taking turns and listening. Talking sticks have been used in native tribes of the Northwest Coast (North America) and in Western … Read more…

A World of Artist Journal Pages Review

I am excited to share with you the book A World of Artist Journal Pages.  It just arrived in the mail yesterday and it is thick.. just full of inspiring art pages.  And I am super excited because five of my art journal pages have been published in the book! I put together a video flip-through to show you some of the pages of the book.  I have really low voice and my voice is even scratchier with a sore … Read more…

Making an Assemblage & Learning about Louise Nevelson

Learning about Louise Nevelson and making an assemblage with children

  I have seen variations of this project many times but have never tried it with my students.  I am pleased with how our assemblages turned out!  This was a great opportunity to clean out the junk in the classroom and teach about using found objects. My Primaries (or first grade) learned a little about American sculptor Louise Nevelson.  There is a short clip on YouTube that explains about her artwork. I put a call out to families to donate … Read more…

Paper Masks and Paper Sculpture Techniques

Paper Sculpture Techniques Poster

These lovely paper masks were made by my second graders.  The students learned different paper manipulation techniques including controlled tearing, punching paper with Fiskars squeeze punchers, cutting with paper edgers , crimping paper with a paper crimper, making forms, cutting spirals, folding zigzags and more. I created a poster with paper manipulation techniques using ideas that I had seen on other sculpture posters, like this one.   I should have made a poster like this years ago.  I have referred students … Read more…

Printing with Cardboard Strips: First Grade

Easy Printmaking: Stamping with Cardboard Strips

My first graders created these unique and expressive pictures by stamping with pieces of cardboard. Here’s how you can print with cardboard.  First, cut pieces of cardboard into strips small enough for young kids to easily hold.  Pour a bit of black paint on to newspaper.  Dip the edge of the strip into the paint and stamp on your paper.  The black lines of the faces were all made by stamping with cardboard.  After the paint has dried, color the … Read more…

Easy Dot Pictures

Pointillist Pictures

I was out for a couple days with a sub earlier this year (around Valentine’s Day) and I found this easy dot picture idea.  Since it was around Valentine’s Day, I left in my plans that kids could make hearts for their design or if they wanted to draw a different design that was fine too.  The steps are simple and easy, which is great for a substitute lesson.  I usually don’t leave paint for sub lessons, but I figured … Read more…

Tissue Paper Bowls – Paper Mache

paper mache bowls 2

I’m excited that I am now part of the Elmer’s Crafty Blogger Crew!  I have long been a fan of Elmer’s products and already frequently use their glue sticks, glue bottles and paper mache paste.  I decided since I am elbows deep in paper mache already, I would create some fun paper mache bowls. Learning Activity Topics: art in three-dimensions, paper mache, translucent quality of materials, layering Activity Description: Students will use paper mache paste to layer tissue paper and … Read more…

Our Silhouette Mural is Finished!

2015-03-22 21.23.35

Our silhouette mural is finished!  It went pretty quickly once we got started.   Each of the figures represents different subject areas at school.  Students in grades 4-6 did most of the painting and I had some students in 7-8 grade do touch-ups, edging and fine details.   I made a video slideshow of the steps we made to paint the mural to show for the whole school.  The school presentation has lots of photos of students in it.  I made … Read more…

Inspired by Artist Justin Vining: Abstract Whimsical Landscapes

Abstract Whimsical Landscapes

This may have been my favorite unit we studied all year!  We looked at the whimsical landscapes of contemporary artist Justin Vining.  Here is one of his paintings: We watched videos of him talking about his influences, watched time lapses of his paintings and emailed him some questions about himself.  He responded to our questions in this interview I posted previously.  This was a perfect artist to study for us because Justin lives in Indiana in a rural area and … Read more…

Emily’s Blue Period – Personal Collages for 3rd Graders

personal collage details 2

Our school librarian introduced this book to me and I think it is such a sweet story.  This book is called Emily’s Blue Period by Cathleen Daly.  The illustrations are lovely. This is a story about Emily, whose parents are divorcing and now she has two homes.  She goes through her own “blue period” of sadness. Emily was learning about Pablo Picasso, his Blue Period and his collages in her art class.   Her art teacher asks the class to … Read more…

Shape Paintings and Color Mixing with Kindergartners

Shape Paintings

Wow, I’ve been so busy.  Aren’t we all though, right?  But really, this is one of the most busy times of year.  Parent-teacher conferences this week and March is when the yearbook needs to be finished up.  I also put up an art show at the public library (which I will post about later) and we have been working like crazy on our mural in the hallway!  The mural is almost done and I am just waiting until everything has … Read more…

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