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About Marcia Beckett

Marcia is an elementary art teacher and loves painting, drawing, sculpture, art journaling and clay. Her blog, Art is Basic, features many exciting art projects for kids.

New Award Certificates!

I have new Award Certificates in my shop!  These are suitable for classroom teachers and art teachers.  They can be modified and used for a variety of reasons. I also have a set of Yearbook Cover award certificates.  I had a custom request to make certificates for winners of yearbook cover contest for a school.  I decided to include a modified version in my shop for other schools who may have an annual contest for yearbook cover designs. Finally, this is … Read more…

Design Your Own Fidget Spinner: Free Download!

Fidget spinners are all the rage! Design and color your own using this pre-drawn sheet. (Note: this is just a drawing for fun, not to actually spin.) I was inspired to make this sheet after I saw an art teacher share an artwork her student made by tracing fidget spinners. I thought it could be a fun activity for your kids who are obsessed with these.  I know my daughter loves these silly things! For the free high resolution download, … Read more…

Designer Tree Houses

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Hi!  One day when I was sick I left a sub lesson plan for my students to design their own tree houses.  I printed out examples of tree house drawings for inspiration, like these here and here.  There is also this resource by Art Sub Lessons which has many pictures of real tree houses for inspiration. I did not leave a lot of directions or specific requirements, but encouraged creative thinking and unusual designs. Here are some of our whimsical pictures.  I think … Read more…

Medieval Paper Mache Figures

00002Paper Mache Knights

This is a project from the archives.  I used to teach a combined 5th/6th grade class until this year.  Every year, we made medieval paper mache figures.  The 5/6s studied the Medieval period in their social studies class.  We used newspaper and foil to create the armature of these figures.  Then, we applied paper mache over the body.  Model magic or air dry clay was used to make the heads.  Model magic actually works the best, in my opinion.  Clothes, … Read more…

“Wild About the Arts” Fine Arts Night

5Fine Arts Night

It has been several weeks since our Fine Arts Night and I have been waiting until things settled down here to write all about it. Many, many thanks to my co-worker Katie McEnaney for taking photographs of the event! “Wild About the Arts” Fine Arts Night We had our first ever Fine Arts Night.  The night combined musical performances, an art show and art activities to celebrate the arts!  We decided on an animal theme. We displayed one artwork from … Read more…

Art Using Train Tracks

Train Track Drawings

In my last blog post, I reviewed the book Old Tracks, New Tricks.  It is a super cute and creative book. The book itself is good for up to about 1st or 2nd grade, in my opinion.  The kids at my school saw me drawing this train track picture and some of the 3rd graders wanted to try it.  I’m thinking 1st through 3rd grade might be best for this art project.  I will test it with the Kindergartners and … Read more…

Review of Old Tracks, New Tricks– Children’s Book about Trains

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Get the whole free download here!  I have a fun book to share with you today.  Innovation Press sent me a free copy of Old Tracks, New Tricks to review. I selected to receive this book because it looked cute and I thought my 3 year old son would really like it even if it was too young for my classes.  I think this book would be most appropriate for Pre-K to grade 2. The book is adorable and so creative! … Read more…

Mixed Media Collages by Kids – Inspired by Sabrina Ward Harrison

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In my last post, I showed you some of Sabrina Ward Harrison’s artwork and talked about what she shared with us at her artist visit.  Her artwork is very inspiring, messy and beautiful.  Please check out the other post to learn all about this artist.   After the presentation, smaller groups of kids in grades 3-6 had a collage workshop with Sabrina.  She demonstrated how to use Mod-Podge to paste down pieces of her pinwheel shape. While she demonstrated the … Read more…

Mixed Media Artist: Sabrina Ward Harrison

sabrina art wheel shape

We recently had artist Sabrina Ward Harrison visit our school to give an artist talk and workshop with the kids.  Today I am going to introduce you to her artwork and life as an artist.  In Part Two of this post, I will share with you some of the amazingly diverse mixed media collages that the students made in response to learning about her artwork.  All of the artwork on this page was made by Sabrina. Her message to the … Read more…

Clay Masks with 3rd Grade

Clay Masks

  To make these charming clay animal masks, we used plastic face molds (with a layer of plastic wrap in between) as a slump mold for the clay.  Another option was to use the back side of a styrofoam bowl to shape the mask.  The children added and secured the parts of the face.  After firing, they were painted with clay glazes.

Iron Pour Event

Iron Hearts

This month I participated in an Iron Pour event.  This was put on by a group of iron artists in our community.  My friend invited me to do this because she had done this last year and thought it was awesome. This is not something I would ever be able to do on my own because it involved an insane amount of set up, involving dangerous materials, smashing bathtubs, etc. First, we bought sand molds from the shop.  Then, I … Read more…

Easy Coffee Filter Snowflakes

My kindergartners recently made these pretty coffee filter snowflakes.  The process is simple.  First, color the coffee filter with Crayola washable markers.  Then spray with water.  The colors will run and blend together.  Let dry. During the next class, fold the circle in half three times.  Cut out shapes as you would a regular snowflake.  Unfold and glue to a black piece of paper. Add designs with metallic paint markers or Crayola Metallic Markers.

Tree of Life and Talking Sticks

I forgot to share these pictures of our display when I wrote the blog post about Talking Sticks.  My co-worker Jayne taught the lesson behind these talking sticks which were Tree of Life acrylic paintings on canvas boards.  They were done by middle school kids.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

Kindergarten Confetti Hearts for Valentine’s Day!

Here is a fun and beautiful Valentine’s project!   I call it “Confetti Hearts”  with a side of Matisse.  This idea came to me after seeing these painted hearts on Pinterest. Start by tracing a heart template or free handing it if the kids are older. Then using one of my favorite products, Kwik Stix, add dashes and dabs of the “paint”  all over the heart, like confetti.  You can surely use oil pastels or paints, but Kwik Stix have the … Read more…

Talking Sticks

The talking stick is used in many Native American traditions. Whoever holds the stick has the right to talk.  The talking stick is used to make sure that each person in a group has a chance to express his or her own thoughts. Everyone else has to show respect and remain silent. When the speaker is finished talking, he or she passes the stick. My 2nd graders created beautiful sticks with wire, chenille stems, beads, feathers and paint to be used as … Read more…

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