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Second Grade Sundials

A few weeks ago I read in my school’s weekly blast that second grade was learning about sundials and that they would be creating their own sundials. I was immediately inspired to collaborate with the grade 2 team to create a cross-curricular clay sundial. This project was easy-peasy. On day one, we talked about the science behind sundials. When I showed students the example, they asked why aren’t there numbers on it. During my research prepping for this, I discovered that to make a sundial that actually works, you have to go outside and measure the sun every hour. I explained to my second graders that since art is only 45 minutes long, we would be doing texture instead of numbers.

So on the first day, students got a slab of clay and a circle template. They cut out a circle and smoothed the edges. Then they used a bunch of different texture stamp thingies to create texture on their slab.


Before the discs went into the kiln, I poked a hole in the center with a straw. Here they are after being bisqued:


Students got to choose what color straw they wanted and I hot glued it into the center.


These were finished by coloring on the surface with crayons and then painting over the crayon with tempera paint. This created a neat resist effect.

It was so fun to collaborate and create something that encompasses science and art. I love doing these kinds of projects because they really strengthen overall learning.

Great job second graders!

❤ Mrs. K


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Clay with K-3

Greetings from the art room! I wanted to share the ceramic artwork my kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders have been working on. All of the following projects are twists on lessons I have taught in the past so I won’t go into too much detail here, (except for 2nd grade’s turtles). Click the links below to see the step-by-step process for each project 🙂

Kindergarten Penguins

Last year when I did penguins with my kinders we used tempera paint and glitter to paint them. I had a lot of kids request to use more colors than just black, white, and orange so this year we painted them with watercolor. I love the multi-colored designs!

1st Grade Rainbow Fish

I think I have read the Rainbow Fish out loud to kids at least a thousand times. I know all of the words to the story without even looking at the pages – it is one of my absolute favorite childhood books. This year’s 1st graders were so inspired by the beautiful sparkly illustrations. They were super excited to use Sax Versa Temp Pearlescent Paint and Sax Versa Temp Metallic Paint to paint their creations. One group ended up needing 2 class periods to paint so when they finished on the second day, they created a pyramid “habitat” for their rainbow fish.

2nd Grade Turtles

I have been collecting turtles since I was a little kid. I brought my turtle collection into school to sit on my windowsill and the kids have been going bonkers over all of them. 2nd graders were so thrilled to make their very own ceramic turtles. We began with a pinch pot which we then added features to by doing scratch & attach.

They added all kinds of cutie details like hats, bows, soccer balls, and even baby turtles. The turtles were completed with Sax Versa Temp Fluorescent Paint.

3rd Grade Animal Faces

Last year’s batch of 3rd grade animal faces came out great. I decided that it would be helpful for students to use a template for their slab so I die-cut a bunch of circles that they could trace. This ended up being super helpful to manage the size of the final clay projects.

3rd graders could choose to use the neon or the shimmery colors to paint their animal faces.







Lions and tigers and bears OH MY:

Dragon, Monkey, Koala:


A uni-bear, a spider, and a squid:



The Titanic?!?!?!!!!!


For more clay projects, check out THIS POST with 4th & 5th grade’s clay projects 🙂

❤ Mrs. K


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Fluorescent Stamped Robots

Hello! I started this project forever ago with my 2nd graders but between snow days and sick days, it has taken a looooong time to finish. Now that all the classes have completed their artwork I am so excited to share these amazing stamped robots with you! The first day we began by talking about robots. We talked about how robots are used in the world today and how they are used in fictional stories and movies. We talked about how robots are made up of geometric shapes. Then, we dipped and stamped.

I was running really low on black tempera paint so I decided to see how these would look with white paint on black paper. And I must say – I love ’em! Instead of using watercolors or tempera cakes, we used Sax Versa Temp Fluorescent colors.


I have been using this paint for everything lately – it looks good on black paper, white paper, and even clay! Students also found the glowy neon colors enchanting when they painted their robots.

To top this project off, each student did a little bit of creative writing about their robot. I am always so tickled by the zany things that kids come up with when they are writing.

Great job 2nd graders!

❤ Mrs. K


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Pumpkins Inspired by Yayoi Kusama

Ever since I found out that the artwork of Yayoi Kusama will be displayed at the High Museum in 2018  I have been HYPED. There is so much to love about this artist – from the fact that she is a woman to the fact that she has been creating artwork (paintings, sculptures, installations – you name it!) for several decades, any way you look at it Yayoi Kusama is impressive. I love her bold graphic style and now, so did my second graders! We began by looking at some of her artwork and noticing that she often creates sculptures of pumpkins that have polka dots.


We bean our own version by drawing a pumpkin on construction paper. Students could choose any color they wanted because Kusama’s pumpkins are often multi-colored or other colors besides orange. I showed students how to draw a pumpkin by making an oval in the middle with curved lines on the sides.


After drawing, students used white paint to go over their lines. Then, they dipped a marker cap and stamped to make polka dots.

A colorful pumpkin patch:


The next week, student carefully cut out their pumpkins and glued them to another piece of construction paper. Then, they drew geometric shapes (triangles) in the background and traced over the lines with markers.

This was such a fun project and a really great twist on making pumpkins. Way to go 2nd graders!

❤ Mrs. K


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Eco Summit Quilt & Craftsmanship Poster

I LOVE teacher workdays. There is nothing quite like the peaceful sound of silence which is very conducive to getting work done. I am so thankful that I just got two because I have completed an amazing display and created a cool resource for my classroom. Lets start with the display.

My principal asked me to create an installation where students could reflect what they learned on Eco Summit day. Eco Summit day was a few weeks ago and it was AMAZING. It was basically a conference about the environment and students got to attend different workshops where they learned about fuel, water, animals, and the environment. As the leader of Eco Team I was so thrilled that the entire school would get some schoolin’ about the environment!

The art teacher who was here before me had the students create this really awesome display with cool colors:


I really wanted to create something that would complement this so I decided that we would use warm colors. I was planning to create the same type of thing but then i was presented with an ENORMOUS vertical bulletin board. I was intimidated about filling it up! So whilst I was perusing through my blog feed, I spotted Art With Mrs. Nguyen’s quilt project. I was INSPIRED and knew it would be the perfect way to display the Eco Summit work.

I showed 2nd-5th graders a PowerPoint about modern quilting artist Libs Elliot. We talked about geometric shapes and negative space and quilts. Students got to choose their colors to create their own quilt square. They got one square, one triangle, and one rectangle. They could fold and cut to create a geometric quilt square.

Those blue booklets in the pictures are what they used to take notes during Eco Summit. They chose their favorite fact that they learned and wrote it on their quilt square.


With nearly all of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade creating a quilt square, I ended up with several hundred pieces. I measured out my gigantic bulletin board and figured I would be able to have 25 columns and 11 rows. I picked the 242 best squares and created a pattern of colors in Microsoft Word. This felt like doing a really weird crossword or Sudoku and I actually really enjoyed this problem-solving aspect of putting this thing together.


In the end it didn’t really matter because the colors were so mixed up that I don’t think you can really tell that it is a pattern. It still looks pretty near though! The lighting in the hallway isn’t fantastic so you will just have to take my word that it looks much better in person.

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I can’t wait for the kiddos to see it all put together when they get back from the long weekend!

I also had time to create a resource for my classroom that I have been wanting to make for a while. My art teacher friend Alex made one for her classroom and I finally made one too! This craftsmanship poster will serve as a guide to students showing how to use art materials properly.


And now I am off to check off a bunch of other things on my to-do list. 🙂 🙂

Mrs. K


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Moana Landscapes by 2nd Grade

The idea for this project comes from the Apex Elementary Art Blog. I wanted to start off the year for 2nd graders with a step-by-step drawing project. I often get the sense that my students are confident painters but when it comes to drawing their hesitation and doubt is very apparent. Drawing is a very difficult skill. You have to use a part of your brain that does not often get exercised to look at something and try and figure out how to remake it on your paper.  Most art media is much more forgiving and mistakes can be hidden or changed. Drawing can be frustrating for elementary kids because it is an art form in which imperfection becomes obvious very quickly.

That being said, I personally find that it is easiest to draw when using a drawing book or a youtube tutorial (lately I am obsessed with Draw with Jazza) so I wanted to bring that same experience to my students so they could gain some confidence. We began by drawing step-by-step together. The drawing was excellent for reviewing different kinds of lines and shapes and parts of a landscape (foreground, middle ground, background). Here is an animation of the steps:


The kids drew with pencil and then traced over their lines with sharpie. We talked a lot about overlapping and size placement to show depth. A lot of students were wondering why there are flowers floating around in the foreground and I really didn’t have a good answer for them so I finally just turned on the Moana soundtrack and said that it is supposed to be from Moana. This seemed a reasonable enough answer to distract the students from the obvious weirdness of the foreground flowers. We continued the Moana jam sesh as we painted.

I love all of the unique details my students added to these whimsical landscapes like dinosaurs and sheep and houses and trees and all kinds of cutie little things.

Mrs. K


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Glue Resist Hearts

I really love the glue resist on black construction paper. I have done it in some way every year since I began teaching. For a while I had the kids make autumn leaves and even did a few where they made their initials. I can definitely say that this iteration of the project is my absolute favorite. In fact, this might be one of my favorite projects that I have ever taught because the product is just so incredibly beautiful. So how did we do it?

We started off talking about symmetry. We identified symmetrical shapes together.


Students drew a heart on a piece of black construction paper and filed it up with expressive lines. Then they traced over all of their lines with liquid glue. The trick here is to make sure to keep the glue bottle close to the paper and squeeze and move so it doesn’t get blobby.

The next day, we talked all about warm and cool colors. We sorted out the colors on the board so students could reference while they colored.


Originally I was going to have the kids use oil pastels but I decided to take the plunge into the ocean of messiness that is chalk pastels. And I am GLAD that I did! These were totally worth the mess which wasn’t even as bad as I thought it would be. The kids did a great job coloring their work using warm and cool colors.

I love love love LOOOOOVE how these came out and I want to do more chalk pastel amazing vibrant magic artwork with other grades asap.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

-Mrs. K


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Guitars in Grade 2

I have done guitars before and wanted to give em’ a fresh twist this year. The lesson is based on one from Art With Mrs Nguyen . com. We began by looking at guitars and artwork from Mexico. Students looked at the wooden tables and drew what they observes. They traced over their lines with black crayon and painted with brown tempera. This made the paper look like it had a wood texture!

The next week, students used templates and construction paper to cut and glue the shapes. The week after that, we added designs and the yarn strings. I had the kids come up to the example and draw music notes on the doc cam:


They used crayons or oil pastels to create details:


I love they way these turned out, it was so much fun for the kids to get to trade colors and shapes with their friends and make connections to music class!

Nice work 2nd graders!

❤ Ms. K



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Second graders were wild about this fantastic cake project! We began by looking at the artwork of Wayne Thiebaud. Students compared and contrasted his paintings and noticed that most of his work looks realistic and uses bright colors. Inspired by that, they set to work! On the first day, students created a design in their sketchbooks. We did step-by-step drawing to make our cakes look like they have 3D form. It was tricky to get the lines curved just right so that it looked like the cylinders overlap. Students who really got the hang of it could add a piece cut out of the top. The next week, students drew their design onto a big piece of paper. They could add details to really personalize their cake too. They traced over all of their lines with colorful permanent markers.

The next class, students painted their cakes with fluorescent liquid watercolor. I am usually a HUGE fan of Sax brand watercolor but I must say that their neon set is not that great – it is really thick almost like glue and the colors are super transparent. It also feels kind of gummy even after it dries. That being said, these still turned out absolutely beautiful and look delicious enough to eat! The confetti background really brings the party spirit.

Nice work second graders!


❤ Ms. K


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Usually when I hang displays of artwork, the displays are homogeneous and feature the same project from a variety of different classes. I was inspired by a recent conversation about displaying artwork to mix it up a bit for kindergarten, 2nd, and 3rd grade’s self-portraits.

I had an art teacher a long time ago who always said that when displaying artwork you should mix up the projects so that viewers don’t compare the works. Each student’s work should be appreciated on it’s own and that is easier to do when the work is surrounded by a variety of projects.

Since kinder, 2nd, and 3rd grade all finished their self-portraits around the same time, I thought it would be fun to display them all together. They are so colorful and the mixture of media and methods is really awesome to see!



I love how each one is so unique — even though the students experienced the same demonstrations and used the same materials during the process, their products are all so different!

If you are interested in seeing any of the step-by-step lessons for these self-portraits you can see kindergarten’s here, 2nd grade’s here, and 3rd grade’s here.