Please Don't Eat the Artwork


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Art Club just completed their crystal paintings and they are amaaaaaazing! This project was based on one from The Lost Sock Blog Students began by sketching crystal designs. Each table had a folder with tons of different crystal clusters and how-to-draws. Some of the kids caught on to drawing crystals really quickly and some struggled with ti quite a bit. I think it was difficult for some students to get the angles of the lines right to make the crystals look like they had form. For the struggling students I ended up making a design that they could trace BUT they had to change something about it to make it creative. This ended up being really helpful and in the end I think all of the students were pretty happy with their designs and pleased with their overall work.


My Example

After sketching, students drew their design onto painting paper ad traced over their lines with Crayola Twistables.

Next, they used water colors to paint inside of their gems.

The last step was to paint the background with black liquid water colors and sprinkle salt for texture. I love how these turned out, they are all so unique and creative!

Great job art club!

❤ 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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Stamped Sculptural Buildings

This project was a big hit with 1st graders!


We began by reading the book Iggy Peck: Architect and talking about the job of an architect. Then students practiced drawing different kinds of buildings in their sketchbooks using geometric shapes. The next week, we dipped and stamped various objects in black paint to create big buildings.

The third week, students used crayons to color in their buildings. They also got to visit an enormous scraps box and choose different colors of construction paper scraps to use for their pop-ups. We talked about sculpture and 3D and everyone had to include at least 3 pop-ups on their building.


Creating pop-ups was a challenge, especially having to incorporate them onto the building in a way that made sense and didn’t just look messy. Most of the kiddos god the hang of folding the paper to create a tab on which to put the glue. They really came out great!


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3rd Grade Matisse Collagraph Prints

This project was inspired in part by Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists as well as another teacher in my county English Avery. I wanted to kind of re-think the way I have been doing collagraphs with 3rd graders to make it easier to get successful prints. For the past few years, I have been doing a collagraph lesson based on the artwork of Jasper Johns. It is actually one of my most looked at blog posts! While it is a very good lesson, the same issue always pops up when printing. Basically, it is very difficult to get every student to create their artwork backwards on the printing plate because it will print backwards. Inevitably there are always upside-down and topsy-turvy prints that illicit disappointment from students.


So this year I figured we would switch it up and create more abstract prints in order to alleviate some of the confusion. I was inspired to base this project on Matisse because we could include so many concepts like geometric/organic shapes, abstract art, and positive/negative space. On the first day, we looked at artwork by Matisse and talked about these concepts. I even showed students a picture of me in front of giant Matisse works at the Vatican!


Kiddos used card stock and cardboard to create their printing plate. They drew and cut out an organic shape and used a hole puncher to create negative space.


The next week, we talked about complementary colors and created a collage to print on. Students chose their complementary colors for a background and used fancy scrap booking scissors to cut around squares that they glued down. They also glued down any pop-ups on their printing plate so they could be ready to print on the 3rd week.



The third week we printed.


First, students rolled out about a pinky-sized amount of ink onto the phone book with a brayer. Then they rolled the ink onto their plate.



They flipped it over onto the complementary colored collage and used a spoon to press down.


Last, they peeled off their collage very carefully to reveal a print.

I am so pleased with how this project went, I feel like the amount of successful prints was much higher and that students really understood the process and concepts. Way to go 3rd graders!


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Starburst Designs

The idea from this lesson came from Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists and from


I really love this project because it was pretty open-ended and provided a great opportunity for students to get their doodlin’ on. I have always loved to doodle and find that not only is it a meditative and relaxing process, it can also improve comprehension and creativity. Check out this fab TED Talk about doodling!

We began with a very tedious day of drawing line segments, points, and angles. When I used those terms there was almost a riot in the art room — “WHAT MS KATZIN? WE HAVE TO DO MATH TODAY!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!”

Muahahaha — little did they know it would lead to a beautiful design!

You start with a horizontal line anywhere between 3 and 5 inches. Label the line segment with “A” and “B”


Next, draw a dot in the top middle.


Connect the dot to A. . .


And then to B. Then draw another dot.


Then connect that dot to A and B.


After the first couple of dots, there were some students who caught on really quickly. I had those students fill up the rest of their paper on their own. They needed 5-6 dots on the top and bottom of their AB segment. They had to make sure their design was balanced and filled up the space. For the kids who needed a more step by step approach, we went dot by dot together.


Next, 4th graders got to use colorful permanent markets to trace over their lines. Because our last project was so restrictive with colors, I let students have free choice of the colors they used for their starburst design – the only criteria was to show contrast.

The last couple of days were spent filling in the shapes with patterns and doodly designs. Students used sharpies and colored pencils to fill up their starbursts. Then, they cut them out and glued to colorful construction paper.

This was a really neat project. It was one of those projects that empowers young artists because it had such a high success rate and was so visually pleasing. Great job 4th graders!

❤ Ms. K



Anansi the Spider

There is a really amazing secondhand bookstore not too far from me that I like to visit every once in awhile. I have a serious problem in bookstores – I will spend hours in the children’s book section. Maybe it’s because I worked in the children’s section of a book store for a while. Maybe it’s because I have really happy memories of going to the library with my mom when I was little. I have always LOVED children’s books. (I would even love to write one some day!) Lately I have perused the books to find inspiration for art projects. When I found this book I just knew it would make a great project for 1st graders.


I didn’t want to reproduce the illustrations but I wanted to capture the spirit of the story and pictures. We began by creating textured painted paper. Students mixed 2 primary colors to create a secondary color and used a fork to add texture.The next week, we drew a web of expressive lines using while oil pastel on black paper. Students cut their paper into geometric shapes to create a spider body just like Anansi from the story.

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I think these are tremendous and the kids are excited that we got done just in time for Halloween! 🙂


Architecture Blueprints

The idea for this project came from Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists. Kinders became architects in the art room and learned all about designs, shapes, and stamping. 002 (3) We began by sketching buildings, houses, and skyscrapers. A big thank-you shout out to my dad who is an architect for donating “blueprints.” I was informed that architects no longer design on blue paper due to the chemicals and the fact that in 2014 there is such a thing as technology to do that sort of thing. My dad gave me tons of awesome building plans to show the kids. 013 They looked through books from the media center to get inspiration for their buildings. 006 007 005 004 002 003 015 The next week, we printed by stanmping white shapes on blue paper. It was a delightful mess! 005 (2) To wrap up the project, kinders used tempera cakes to paint their buildings. 003 (5) 003 (4) 001 002 (4) 003 (3) 004 (3) 005 (4) 005 (3) 004 (4) 006 (2) 006 (3) 007 (2) 008 (2) 011 007 (3) 020 019

The theme of architecture will take us into our next unit of sculptural houses 🙂


Snowflake Snowmen during #Snowpocalypse



Yesterday around 11:00 when it began to snow outside, first graders marveled at the magical white flakes while they made snowmen. One student excitedly shouted “Its snowing and we are making snowmen!” to my delight (yay for making connections.) Little did we all know that the next few hours would bring a dystopian mayhem that would ultimately shut down the entire Atlanta area and create a frozen wasteland of abandoned cars, stranded people, and wintry chaos. In a city where people drive like maniacs on sunny days, this polar fiasco has caused complete insanity and a traffic nightmare.

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During my 4 hour commute last night (a 12 mile distance that usually takes 20 minutes) I was amazed at the kindness of people to each other. I saw people shoveling roads, checking on each other in cars, and helping neighbors. I am very lucky to have gotten to a safe place in a relatively short amount of time. My heart goes out to all of the people who were en route for 7, 8, 9 + hours and those who are even still out there stuck in their cars or sleeping in stores. Mimosa Elementary had several students and a couple dozen teachers spend the night — what a crazy situation! I am beyond thankful that everyone is safe and sound.



This project (inspired by this project) began innocently enough and who would have known that it would end on what is being called #HOTHlanta #snowpocalypse #Atlantarctica #snowmageddon #snowJAM2014 ? We began by reading Snowmen at Night and noticing the parts of a snowman (arms, noses, scarves, hats, body, head, mouth, eyes, etc.)


First graders learned all about symmetry when they created snowflakes out of white paper. This process was as complicated as Atlanta traffic has been over the past 24 hours:



Researching YouTube came up with beautiful examples of snowflakes that were just a bit too complicated for my 1st graders. Before even attempting this I had my BFF over at try to make some snowflakes. I figured if a 25-year-old Fitness Creature can do it then so can a bunch of 6 year olds.  I found that the “best” way — I use that word generously — was to have the kids fold a square up and draw triangles on it while I went around and drew a curved line.

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They created the body and head on day one. Some of the snowflakes ended up being cut in half and flipping it around to make a whole shape reinforced both symmetry and math concepts.


Day two was spent adding details. Students used painted paper scraps to create a nose, hat, and shoes. They used crayons for the arms and mouth. Two buttons became the eyes. (Check out those neat-o loop/loom bracelets . . . those things are all the rage!)

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A ribbon became the scarf.

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One finger dipped in white paint made snow.


I love how these turned out, they are so fun and unique just like snowflakes and just like first graders!

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* * * * * Stay safe in the snow, y’all! * * * * *

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Math Club’s Perimeter Collages

Every other Wednesday, eager 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders come into the art room for Math Club. They bring their breakfast and work in groups on fun math problems and projects. We are working our way up to a competition in the spring where students can compete against kids from other schools. One of my goals at the end of last year was to start an art club. Unfortunately, I do not have a magical Harry-Potter time turner and there simply aren’t enough hours in the week this year. So I hatched up a devious plan (muahahaha) to incorporate art into math club! By doing cross-curricular projects kids get to experience the best of both worlds. I wanted to do something that would not be too much fo a challenge for the first project since this is the inagural group for Math Club.

We began by getting into groups and cutting up scrap papers.


Students glued their paper onto a 12×18 piece of construction paper.


Then, they used rulers to measure the sides and added up the sum to come up with an overall perimeter for their collage.

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The kids had a lot of fun collaborating to make mathematical art. 🙂

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First Grade Dragons

First graders learned about primary colors, secondary colors, tints and shades to create beautiful painted paper dragons. This project was a big hit last year and this year’s batch of first graders did not disappoint!

We began by mixing primary colors to create secondary colors. We used paint scrapers from one of my favorite art suppliers ROYLCO to make our paper have texture.

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When the papers were dry, I cut them into squares and rectangles for the dragon’s body.


6×2 for the tail
6×4 for extra details
6×4 for feet
6×6 for the head
12×5 for the wings
12×5 for the body

Students cut their colorful painted paper into dragon body parts using their knowledge of lines and shapes.


They shared scraps to create a colorful dragon and even used crayons to add details like fire, castles, clouds, and rainbows!

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Next up for first grade is Dinosaurs! 🙂