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Animal Cloth Paintings inspired by Korhogo Cloths


My 3rd grade classes learned about African Korhogo Cloth paintings. They had been studying Africa in their Social Studies class.  Here are some of the resources we used:  information about the cloth paintings and a couple of YouTube videos– Take a Look at African Korhogo Cloth and Senufo Art (although I do caution you that there is some tribal nudity at the beginning of this documentary in the intro, so start it after 20 seconds in).  There is a really cool tribal dance portion … Read more…

Animal Personality Drawings

Here is a really fun twist on self-portraits!  I teach the grades K-4/5 at my school and the middle school art teacher is in charge of grades 5/6-8.  We have a new art teacher at the middle school level this year and her name is Jayne Baitinger-Peterson.  She comes to our school with over 30 years teaching experience at the elementary level and she has been enjoying the change with middle school youth.  She gave me permission to share these … Read more…

Chicks at School

Chick Art Project

We have some chicks at school.  Chicks, like baby chickens. One of the science teachers taught the kids about the life cycle of chickens and the kids watched as the eggs were incubated and hatched. They grow so quickly! With all the excitement of the hatching chicks, the students were thrilled to create some chick artwork.  Here is a mural/bulletin board that students in grades 2-3 worked together on. Next, we did a step-by-step project in kindergarten to make a … Read more…

Watercolor Animals with 5th and 6th Grade

Watercolor Bird Painting

With all the fancy projects an art teacher can find on Pinterest, sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics.  Simple drawing and painting of familiar subjects.  This week my students drew art manekins.  You could see much more concentration in the students than while doing other projects.  I was looking through the folders on my computer and found these animal watercolor paintings my students had made last year. For more watercolor lessons, check out these old posts: How … Read more…

Stuffed Animal Still Life Drawings with 1st Grade

Stuffed Animal Still Life Drawings

Do you want to know what will really get first graders excited about drawing still lifes?  Have them bring in their own stuffed animals!  I invited the kids to bring in their favorite stuffed animals to draw.  I also had a garbage bag full of my own stuffed animals from home in case someone forgot to bring in one. I demonstrated how to observe the shapes and positioning of the stuffed animals and then I let the kids get to … Read more…

Animal Shrinky Dinks in Summer Art Camp

This summer I taught a one week art workshop called Artsy Animals.  The camp had kids going in to grades 1-4 and it took place for 3 hours every day.  Now camp was much more laid back than regular art class, so we did not accomplish *as much* as 3 hours of school time, but I think the kids had a really good time. We made Shrinky Dink necklaces!  Each student got one sheet of Shrinky Dinks Crystal Clear paper.  … Read more…

Rubber Ducky Public Sculptures in St. Joseph, Michigan


A couple of weeks ago we took a summer trip to my brother’s cabin in Michigan.  We spent some time in the lovely city of St. Joseph, Michigan.  It is right on Lake Michigan and we enjoyed playing in the sand, walking on the piers, eating ice cream, playing on the beach playground, splashing on the splash pad and tinkering around in the two children’s museums.   As an art teacher, I was delighted to see large public art sculptures of … 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…

William Wegman: Photomontage Project for Kids

My third grade students learned about the photography, films, paintings and children’s books by contemporary artist William Wegman.  I actually talked to Bill on the phone and had an interview with him, which you can read in this blog post. William Wegman is known for his anthropomorphic photos of dogs dressed in various costumes. Anthropomorphic means giving human characteristics to animals (or other non-human things.) We read his books, watched some of his short films and saw pictures of his … Read more…

An Interview with William Wegman


Wow, do I have a treat for you today!   I had the amazing opportunity to talk with American artist William Wegman on the phone.  Bill is well known for his photographs of Weimaraner dogs, dressed in all sorts of costumes and settings.  Did you know he has also written and illustrated children’s books as well as created films and paintings?   If you’d like to see some of his artworks, there is a wide selection on his Pinterest page. Two of … Read more…

Fruit and Flowers, Mice and Me!

Fruit and Flowers Watercolor

Fruit and Flowers: I colored in the sketch that I showed you here.  I mostly used colored pencils, watercolor pencils and watercolor paints. A Mouse: My 5th/6th graders are painting animals and my go-to demo is always a mouse or hamster.  I love cute rodents.  The kids are always astounded when I show them how to make furry texture with a fan brush!  So fun.  Do you have go-to images you use when demonstrating techniques? Me: Here I am at … Read more…

Paper Mache Masks — 3rd & 4th Grade

These paper mache masks by the 3rd/4th grade received lots of compliments when they were hanging in the hallway. The class was studying Native American history in their Social Studies and we looked at some Pacific Northwest Coast masks and we discussed the functions of masks in general throughout the world. We started with a mask form (made of paper mache) that I ordered in a class pack from Nasco.  From this starting point, the students built up and embellished … Read more…

Polar Bears and Snowmen

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I was inspired by the polar bears at We Heart Art so I taught a painting project with my 2nd graders.  The students could choose to paint either a polar bear or snowman with white paint.  Hats, scarves, snow and facial features were drawn on with oil pastels or cut from the scrap box.

Kindergarten Felt Collage


This was a 2 day project.  We decided as a class what our theme would be for the banner.  We chose the jungle.  Next, we brainstormed types of animals in the jungle.  Each kid signed up for one animal to make.  We cut these out of felt.  Next, I hot glued them on to a piece of burlap and green felt.  The kids also raided the fabric scrap box for extra details.