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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…

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…

Primary Color Hands for Kindergartners

Here is a simple lesson to introduce your students to the primary colors. We started out by reading the book Mouse Paint, which is a fun story to teach about primary colors. My kindergartners, while I love them dearly, were having difficulties lately with classroom procedures. We needed to go back to the basics with simple materials until they understood how and why to clean up. I pulled out this idea that I got about 11 years ago when I first … 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…

Googly Eyed Sticker Monsters

Sticker Eye Monsters

With Halloween coming, this is an especially fun open-ended project for little kids.  I did this with kids up to grade 3 and they were super excited to come up with their own monsters. Supplies needed (Amazon affiliate links used): Peel and Stick Wiggle Eyes Wiggle Eyes Stickers On A Roll Multi-Color Markers, crayons or other coloring tools White or colored construction paper Handouts for inspiration:  Monster Dice Drawing and Examples of Monsters This is a real simple introduction and … Read more…

3-D Bedroom Constructions and Perspective

Student-directed vs. teacher-directed and choice vs. “cookie cutter projects”  (I hate that phrase, it’s so annoying) are big discussions with art teachers online lately.  This is an example of how teacher-directed projects (perspective and interior models) can include lot of student choice and opportunities for creativity. When I went to the Art Institute of Chicago this Spring, I was lucky to be able to see the traveling van Gogh bedroom paintings exhibit.  My friend Dawn told me that she used … Read more…

Doodled Drawings, Collages and Sculptures

Doodled Drawings (3)

It’s summer time!  This wrapped up my 10th year of teaching at my current school and 13 1/2 years teaching total.   The good news is that since I was so busy this year, I have a huge backlog of art projects to share with you.  I will probably write them all up this summer and then save some of them for the busy times next school year. Doodle patterns are always good for focus and concentration. This project is also … Read more…

Earth Day Oil Pastel Drawings

Endangered Birds

For Earth Day, my 4th & 5th grade class drew endangered trees and birds using oil pastels.  The entire lesson took about 3-4 class periods to finish.  The students each used a picture of their tree or bird to recreate on a piece of 9″x12″ paper.  We talked a little bit about layering and blending colors with the oil pastels.  We were able to go outside on Earth Day to enjoy the sunshine while drawing. Our Earth Day committee came … Read more…

Showing Depth in Landscapes: 2nd Grade Drawing Project

My second graders recently learned about simple ways to show depth in an artwork. I gave a demonstration on my new document camera and showed them how rivers and roads that go back in space would be wider in the front and narrower in the back.  I demonstrated how things that were far in the distance would be smaller than things in the front.  The use of overlap is also a way to show depth.  I showed the students this … Read more…

A World of Your Own: Creativity Drawings

A World of Your Own (7)

I have a fun creativity drawing project and excellent children’s book to share with you today. I came across this book called A World of Your Own by Laura Carlin and thought it looked intriguing, so I ordered it. I love the illustrations in the book and the story encourages children to think of how they would imagine a world of their own. On a day when I was out sick, I left this book for the substitute teacher to … Read more…

Spirals, Flowers and Patterns: Learning about Hundertwasser

Dab and Dot Markers:  Hundertwasser inspired art project

“A good picture is when the picture is full of magic, when you can feel the happiness in it, when it makes you laugh or cry, or when it makes something happen. It should be like a flower or a tree. It should be like Nature. It should be that we miss it when it isn’t there.” Hundertwasser Friedensreich Hundertwasser believed that nature and beauty was the key to happiness. He was born Fritz Stowasser but created his “artist name” … Read more…

Dr. Seuss Art Project for Kids: 2nd Grade

Dr Seuss Style Art

I love Dr. Seuss’ art.  Did you know in addition to writing books he created over 10,000 works of art.  Amazing!  The book The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss is a must-have for art teachers who love Seuss. My students, of course, also love Dr. Seuss and read many of his books in their language arts class. We watched a YouTube video about the Secret Art of Dr. Seuss and one with a slideshow of his artwork.  The second slideshow … Read more…

Manga Drawing with Kids

My students had a blast drawing Manga faces again this year.  I tried this lesson previously with great enthusiasm and results.  I printed off lots of handouts I found online of cartoon faces, eyes, noses, mouths, hairstyles and accessories.  The kids used these sheets plus books to put together their Manga portrait.  I encouraged the students to include background patterns or accessories (such as a basketball) or a pet (like the dog) to tell a little about the character they … Read more…

3 Art Projects Using Leaves

Leaf Art Activities

Summer is the perfect time to create art with your child.  Nature provides endless inspiration for art.  Here are three fun art activities using leaves that you can do with kids or just on your own! This post was created as part of the Elmer’s Crafty Bloggers team. Learning Activity Topic:  Using nature to inspire art Educational Foundation: 1.  Identifying and sorting items from nature 2.  Using shapes and variety to create a composition 3.  Learning about negative and positive … 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…

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