Day of the Dead | Symmetrical Paper Skulls | 1st Grade

October 31 to November 2 is the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead.  My first grade students learned about the celebration a bit in their Spanish class and then in art class, we read a story about the holiday and drew these symmetrical skull pictures.  The book we read was Day of the Dead, by Tony Johnston.  It’s a nice story with great pictures.  My only complaint is that the book is very very small, so the kids have to all gather around real close to see it. After the story, we talked about symmetry and the kids traced a skull template and tried to decorate their skulls with symmetrical designs.  Sequins and tissue paper were also available as an option. This was kind of … Read more…

Reach for the Stars – Back to School Bulletin Board

I hope you are enjoying your first few weeks back to school!   Here is a Reach for the Stars bulletin board my students made as their first art projects. The tape letters were made by 1st graders.  I don’t know how people use painter’s tape for this technique, because it just caused my paper to rip.  I discovered the Post-it Label Roll which worked great to block out the letters. The kids painted over the label tape with a crayon resist method and then the tape easily peeled off without ripping the paper. The stars were made by the Kindergarteners. The collage hands were made by the 3rd/4th grade class.  They traced their hands and then cut out magazine pictures and drew things that they … Read more…

Have You Ever Drawn Flowers with Watercolor Pencils?

The week after winter break was up in the air.  Due to construction, we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to use our art room and we didn’t know if we would have easy access to supplies.  I planned for most of my classes to complete observational drawings during that week period, since they all could use the same supplies and learning to observe the edges and shapes of objects is great training for the eye. It turns out we were able to use our art room and I left the flowers out all week for the kids to draw.  It was one of the most relaxing weeks of the year!  The students were also thrilled to try out watercolor pencils, which … Read more…

15 Favorite Posts from 2013

  Another year is rapidly coming to a close, so I thought I would spend some time reviewing my favorite projects and blog posts from this year.  Here are my favorite posts, in no particular order! 15.  How to Paint Gorgeous Clouds with Watercolor 14.  Clay Castles 13.  Postage Stamp Art Project 12.  Heart Photography Project with 3rd Grade 11.  25 Amazing Books for Teaching About Art 10.  Editorial cartoons are a unit I teach every year.  We even were lucky enough to have an editorial cartoonist visit our school! 9.  2nd Grade Masks Inspired by Alaska 8.  Landscape Scroll Paintings 7.  Four posts in a series “On Teaching Art”  On Teaching Art:  Art vs. Craft. The second post was On Teaching Art #2: Organizing … Read more…

Lego Art Projects

Our school is building an addition, so I thought projects related to “building” would be fun.  Legos are the perfect building blocks! So, we designed our own mini-figures with this template.  I originally saw this idea from The Art Teacher’s Closet. We also stamped with Legos (idea via Lego Stamping from Filth Wizardry).  Thanks to wonderful bloggers for these two ideas!  My students LOVED them!  They were so excited about these proejcts. Place your piece of paper on top of a piece of felt (to allow some squish room).  Then, get your Legos full of black rubberstamp ink and press on the paper.  We also used game pieces from the game Perfection.  I lucked out and found two of these games at a garage sale … Read more…

5 Valentine’s Day Projects for Kids


Each year, I tend to try something different for Valentine’s Day.  I like to spice things up, don’t you? Here are some from the past that I have done. 1.  Valentine’s Heart Collages  2.  Cool Hands, Warm Heart 3.  Easy Clay Hearts for Kindergarten  I have made these for Christmas presents, but they would be perfect for Valentine’s Day. 4.  Maps of My Heart (by Kindergarten) 5.   Styrofoam Printed Valentines Follow @marcia_beckett

Holiday Round Up


Two of my classes made pictures frames like these: They turned out really cute and I did not take pictures until after the kids glued their pictures in, so I did not want to post any of the frames with their pictures in it. This year, I did not do too many holiday art projects, but here is a round-up of some that I have done in the past. Sock Snowmen  Snowflakes with Glitter Snowglobe Pictures Picture Frame with Tooling Foil Dreamcatcher Style Ornament Winter Landscapes I usually do these in January, but this could be a holiday landscape. Clay Heart Ornaments  (I did these again this year, but forgot to take pictures.)

Mixed Media Canvases with Kids


Thanks for your kind comments about my fingers!  They are actually healing much faster than I expected. As you might know, I am a lover of all things mixed media!  I also enjoy occasionally teaching an after school art workshop for my students (I’d love to do more, but since my daughter goes to daycare it’s a bit tricky.)  I thought painted canvases would be a great gift for kids to give someone in their family, so I decided to do an after school art class which I taught today.  The kids in this class were in grades K-5, so I had quite a range of skill levels.  23 kids signed up! 1st grade artwork I bought a bunch of canvases, scrapbook papers and paints … Read more…

Found Object Faces– 1st grade

Found Object Faces-- 1st grade

(these are the projects I burnt my fingers on!)  USE LOW TEMP GLUE GUNS!!! Anyways, these are really charming and fun projects. The 1st graders learned about recycled art and how to use unconventional materials in art.  We read 2 books by Hanoch Piven, which feature portraits made out of objects. The children brought in objects from home that represented aspects of themselves and we assembled the parts into faces in art class.   We used foam board and matboard for the base of the faces.   Scroll down to see more examples of the artwork! Here are ones we made last year.

Frogs in a Pond (with Monet) 1st Grade


            I love lessons where I can tie in different areas of study, art history and art techniques!  This is a project I developed that incorporates study of frogs, Monet and watercolor painting. To start this project, we learn about the artist Claude Monet and his paintings of ponds and lilypads.  We read a book about Monet: (This series is awesome for read-alouds in class.  I love the picture books about art, but I want the pictures in the book to be actual pictures made by that artist.  I don’t like picture books that have art created by a different illustrator.  For example, if the book is about Van Gogh and none of the pictures in the book were painted … Read more…

Artsy Christmas Presents for Kids


Are you wondering what to get a child in your family for the holidays?  As an art teacher, I see what the kids really like and what they gravitate towards to when they are given free time in art. These are some popular items for kids that I have personally used and recommend.  Most of these can be found at your local Target or Michaels (or other craft/art store).  Don’t forget to print off a coupon online if you are buying from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.  Also, if you’d rather shop from your home in your pajamas, I have linked to Amazon. Please also use with adult supervision until you are sure your child can handle the materials on their own. If you are an … Read more…

Symmetrical Felt Wall Hangings


For this project, the first graders learned about symmetry and fabric arts.  I tied this lesson into quilt making and the children identified symmetry in some pictures of early American quilts and discussed why people would make quilts and why they would use scraps to sew their quilts. Then, using burlap, felt and fabric scraps, they made their own fabric wall hanging showing symmetry.  We used regular Elmer’s glue to  adhere everything.  At the end, I brought out buttons and gems and those were hot glued on.

Complementary Color Collages– 1st Grade


Complementary Color Collages by the 1st Grade This project introduces the first graders to complementary colors.  I show them the color wheel and I explain how the complementary colors are across from each other on the color wheel.  They are the “opposites”.  If you mix the two of them together you would get a brownish or grayish color.  We talk about the primary/secondary colors and focus on the pairs of red + green, blue + orange, and violet + yellow.  At this point, a kid usually will point out the intermediate colors and I show them how those also have complementary colors.  For this project, we focus on the complementary pairs I have listed above.  I also read them this cute book called “The Orange … Read more…

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