Please Don't Eat the Artwork




This project is a great S.T.E.M. connection. I was inspired by Artwithmsgram’s Tessellation Monsters.

We began by learning all about M. C. Escher and his famous tessellations. Students found inspiration in the bold, graphic quality of his work and began “sketching” on iPads using the wonderful app iOrnament. This app is really cool because there are options for colors and line thickness as well as many choices for tiling or tessellating. I had originally wanted to use another app which didn’t work out but thanks to iPad Art Room I was able to find another option. The kids came up with some really creative designs!

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They took a screenshot of their favorite concept and emailed it to me. I have compiled all of the designs class by class into albums on Imgur. That way, the kids can access their work from any computer and check out what their classmates created as well. Check out our virtual sketchbook albums HERE. I projected my email inbox on the whiteboard so kids could see who sent me the work.


The next part of the lesson was really tricky. Kids had to come up with 3 different ideas and make them tessellate across the page. They traced a square onto sketch paper. I found that the easiest way to explain this was to use the analogy of legos or puzzle pieces. Some kids caught on really quickly and were able to come up with wonderfully creative ideas.

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The trick here is to keep it simple. Students quickly realized that if their shapes were too complicated it would be very difficult to tessellate or repeat a shape.


Most ideas were monsters or faces but the kids had the freedom to design anything they wanted. They traced over their designs with sharpie and used complementary colors to color with markers.

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Students could show a pattern of complementary colors any way they wanted. Some kept it simple and clean while others played with creative designs.

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Art in Israel

This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Israel for 10 days with a program called Birthright. It was a whirlwind adventure of hiking, food, friends, sunshine, desert, bus rides, history, and culture. In short — it was incredible.


Israel is a country full of natural and man-made beauty and I was so excited to see so much art everywhere — especially public art all over mostly in the form of monuments or commemorations.



The architecture is beautiful; especially in Jerusalem where all of the building are made out of limestone.

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The columns, arches, and aqueducts are Roman inspired. Walking through Jerusalem felt like traveling back in time a couple of millenia. The stone streets were smooth weathered with hundreds and hundreds of years of wandering feet.


Check out this awesome mosaic:


We went to the room where The Last Supper (supposedly) took place:


The mystical city of Tzfat is famous for artists and musicians. There were plenty of both selling art or playing music in the streets.


A harpist playing the harp under a statue of a harpist playing a harp:



This is a beautiful and intricately carved wooden ark where the Torah is kept. This was in an old Synagogue that was also filled with beautiful stained glass windows.


A stained glass window with the “tree of life” symbol:



tzedakah or charity box outside the synagogue:


The amazing waxworks in a small candle shop (made by weaving wax — WOW!) :


We got to meet and talk to one artist named Avraham. He was so inspiring and creative! Here he is in his studio shop:


Beautiful contemporary Kabbalistic art:


If you know me in real life, you know that I absolutely love street art. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem had some really cool tags and graffiti.




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One very special art related moment occurred at the top of Mount Herzl (the military cemetery). A woman had an easel set up and she was painting a gorgeous landscape with oil paints. It was such a beautiful moment for an artist on top of a mountain in the sun.



Israel is full of vibrant art. From street art to monuments, from paintings to architecture there is creativity throughout the country.And the beauty doesn’t stop at man-made — there is plenty of artistic and natural beauty.




The Dead Sea:

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The desert:

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And of course the marketplace!:
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I enjoyed every minute of my time in Israel and I cannot wait to go back and continue to explore such a vividly beautiful country. I am excited to use my experience as inspiration for my own art and to inform my teaching through understanding of other cultures. 🙂





Space Invaders

3rd graders learned about mosaics, street art, grids, complementary colors, and pixels for our Space Invader project. I got this idea from Artsonia when I was student teaching and have since lost the exact link. (If you know the origins of this lesson, please share!)

We began by watching this video:

We talked about pixels and video games and students came to the conclusion that the person who made this video probably thinks that video games are destroying the world. New art forms met old when we compared artwork by street artist Invader to images of some old school mosaics. Students made a real-world connection when they noticed that both artworks reminded them of Mine Craft which is a super popular computer game.

We began by creating a grid using some prior knowledge of math and measuring. This was a pretty tricky process and required a lot of step-by-step instructions, differentiation, and peer cooperation. Students measured out inches on their 9×12 paper on all 4 sides and used the ruler to create straight lines. I had some students write the number next to each inch mark so they could match it up when they drew the lines.



The next step was to create a Space Invader design. Students used markers to outline their creatures and chose their complementary colors. With all of the squares, it could get kind of visually jumbled up so some students decided to write letters in the squares to show where they were going to glue what color.

I pre-cut construction paper into 1×1 inch squares and students could take what they needed from the trays and fill up little recycled yogurt cups.



These came out AWESOME!!! Most of the kids really loved this project and you could hear a pin drop when they measured out their lines. They used team work to help each other be successful and shared ideas and tips on construction and production.



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That last picture is an image of the self-assessment rubric. I thought it would be interesting to see what grade the kiddos would give themselves and whether or not my opinion matches. (Please excuse the “Scale” that does not make any sense, I used the rubric from another lesson.)

Here is the awesome display hanging outside of the front office suite. I decided to add some key words and vocabulary to spruce it up.


When I did this lesson as a student teacher it was during the first 8 weeks of school and it was completely crazy. I am glad it went so well at the end of the year. Only one project remains to be completed for most of the grades. Next up for 3rd graders is weaving with yarn. 🙂