Please Don't Eat the Artwork


Leave a comment

Monochromatic Value Scale House Weaving Texture Landscapes

I had trouble coming up with a simple title for this project because it was so involved and included so many different standards, concepts, and techniques.


Teacher Sample

On the first day, we used my Value Scale Handout to practice mixing tints and shades. Students also got to look at the “recipe” for the colors by playing the popsicle game.


The next week, each table chose a primary or secondary color to use to create a value scale. Students used forks to scratch texture into their paper. For the third week, students chose a piece of construction paper that matched their value scale to create a monochromatic artwork. They used crayons and texture mats to create more visual texture.


The first step of building the landscape was to fold the value scale like a brochure an cut it into thirds.


One of those rectangles was cut as a wavy line to create the “hills” that the house is tucked into.


The other two rectangles were cut in half. I showed students how to create a warp and a weft and they chose papers that had a lot of contrast to weave. I showed the kids how to draw “lollipops” and told them to cut on the line and stop at the pop. This ensured that they had a decent warp that they could weave the weft pieces into. I also advised the kids to weave from the back since the lines were easier to see.

That was about as far as we got in one day. The next time we met, students cut out a roof, a chimney, and details for the sky.

Third graders will get to choose between these and their O’keeffe flowers to present in the art show in December. 🙂


Icecream Value Scales

Thank you Mini Matisse for this great lesson idea! 


We began this lesson talking about value, tints and shades. Every time someone says “tint” students clap their hands over their heat to make a Tint Tent. Every time someone mentions “shade” we make a circle over our heads to represent a shady tree. This movement incorporation is a great way for students to remember vocabulary! On the first day, we created a value scale with the popsicles from this post and students completed a value worksheet (found HERE)by mixing colors. The second day, students folded paper into 6 equal sections and created tints and shades of a chosen color. They used a fork to scratch in texture.

018 019

During our next meeting, students cut apart their squares and created an ice cream scoop shape that kind of looked like Pac-Man ghosts. They put their “scoops” in order from lightest to darkest.

022 020

Students picked their construction paper background and used crayons to create a pattern of lines and shapes.


Check out these sweet works of art!

008 003 007 006005002004



Emoji Color Wheel Adjective Flowers

Last year I did a similar version of this project and I really wanted to pump it up with some pop-culture references and common-core connections this year. So, I threw in emojis and adjectives!


An emoji (I explained to my 2nd graders) is the little smiley face that you send in a text message. This lead to the conversation – how can colors show emotions? We described how different colors make us feel and realized that we were naming adjectives.


To create the flowers we began by making painted paper and cutting it into circles. We used scraps to create complementary colored petals. (This also tied into the whole feeling thing by talking about how you feel when someone compliments you.)


Then, students used oil pastels to create emojis and write an adjective to describe the face and the feeling. These turned out hilarious and adorable!

013 010 008 012 (2) 002 (2) 011 (2) 011 012 020 021 038 018 023 017 039

Leave a comment

Secondary Spiders


002 (2)

First graders were very busy and learned all about secondary colors and arachnids for this project. This project was inspired by a post over at Artolazzi.

We began by reading The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.

The Very Busy Spider Erin Carle

We talked about secondary colors and created textured painted paper. Next, students used white oil pastels on black paper to create a web.


Then, students cut their papers into semi-circles and traded with a friend to have a spider body with 2 colors. They cut the papers to make them symmetrical and glued them to their web background. They cut another piece of painted paper into 8 strips and folded them into zigzags for the legs.


Eyes and mouths or fangs were added for details. They turned out great!

001 (2) 002 003 (2) 004 005 (2) 006 (2) 006 (3) 007 (2) 032 033


1 Comment

Starry Night Landscapes



I was so inspired by this lesson from Cassie Stevens for 4th grade’s first project. We began by looking at and talking about Starry Night. We played the art crit game I See, I Think, I Wonder to talk about the artwork. Students got a kick out of these videos:

We began with a background of blue/purple/black tempera paint. Students used the tips of their paintbrushes to create the directional lines and texture from Starry Night.


We also created painted paper using intermediate colors (and some tints and shades) and paint scrapers for texture.


The painted papers were cut up and used to create the ground and woven houses.




The results are stunning, what a great way to kick off the year!

013 014 015


017 018 019 (2)


002 (2) 005 006 011 (2) 010 004 007 009





Las Guitarras de Paracho

When I saw THIS LESSON at I knew it would be perfect for my 5th graders. Most of my students at my home school are Hispanic and many of them have relatives or are from Mexico. The real world connection made this lesson so successful! We began by talking about the town of Paracho, Mexico. We watched a few clips from this documentary and looked at pictures of the town to get some context.

Next, we reviewed intermediate colors and created painted paper with texture.


The 12×18 pieces were cut in half so students could mix and match and trade colors and textures.



I brought in my guitar and managed to stumble through Ode to Joy in an attempt to impress my 5th graders. #epicfail They were polite enough to clap haphazardly.

010 012

They used templates to cut out the shapes of their guitars. . .

015 007 009

And assembled everything onto black construction paper.


Strings of yarn were added as well as details with oil pastels.


047 044 046 052 051 056

016 (2) 012 (2) 014 (2) 013 (2)

Rock On!





Sculptural Lines


Well hello there Dear Readers! At this moment in time I am currently basking in the greatness that is #SB’14 a.k.a. Spriiiiiinggggg Breeeeeeeaaakkkkk!


The last couple weeks in the art room have been a frenzy of work and production. First graders worked hard on their line sculptures and they turned out vibrant and colorful! We began with some painted paper with textured lines.

003 003 (2)

The next week, we talked about positive and negative space and students cut out their lines and glued them to construction paper. One of the first grade science standards is shadows and light so I thought it would be a great connection to have students include shadows under their pop-out lines.

Rainbow Hearts:

001 (2)


003 (4)

This Rocks This is Fun Do it Again:

005 (2)

Characters from the Lego Movie:

006 (2)

With Flowers:


Hashtag Win:

002 (2)

With a Minecraft Creeper:

004 (3)

Domo on a Banana Skateboard:

007 004 (2)



Pikachu and Pokeballs:


This one is awesome, the little guy created amazing shapes and shadows!

012 006

Like a Boss:


014 036



Chemeleons here, there, everywhere!


3rd graders created amazing 3D paper chameleons for their sculpture unit. The step-by-step instructions can be found HERE. We began by creating painted paper with intermediate colors.


After a lot of folding and cutting, the chameleon’s bodies were assembled. There was a great math connection with angles, rulers, and academic language such as types of triangles and  vertices.


Students traded their papers to have an assortment of colors anc created the legs, heads, tongues, and all sorts of details!

008 (2) 019

On a skateboard:

007 (2) 015 009 (2) 014 010 012 012 (2)

A superhero with “laser eyes”:

014 (2) 013 021

With a magnificent mustache:


Ash from Pokemon (check out the hat and Pokeball!):

020 003 (2) 003 004 (2) 006 007 009 006 (2)

Here are a couple of videos that got the kids really pumped up about the project:

Leave a comment

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.

022 026

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

004 003 002 001


See You Later Alligators

One of my goals as an art teacher is to foster creativity in my students. It is extremely important to me that their projects are not cookie-cutter-carbon-copies, rather they are as individual as the individuals who made them. The last unit of art curriculum for the county denotes that crafting is involved. I type crafting with a grimace and a shudder because in my humble opinion crafting is a cheap way to do mass-produced art.

I was bored to tears by weaving with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders because really, how much creativity is involved in manipulating some yarn? Sure they can choose their colors but in the end all the projects basically look the same. Weaving with paper allows for a little more creative freedom. These woven alligators were inspired by several pins on Pinterest as well as from Art With Ms. Gram

I wanted to make sure that they did not all look the same so I made tried to give students as many choices as possible. They chose which shade of green construction paper they would use for the body and  the way they made painted paper. They came up with their own the symbols which were painted in metallic tempera. Students designed their own  eyes and teeth, and the shapes for features such as arms, legs, and tails. I think these look wild and fun and ended up really reflecting the spirit of first (soon to be second!) graders.

We began by mixing primary colors to create secondary colors for painted paper.


Students used their painted paper to weave into a piece of green construction paper for the alligator’s body.


Some alligator bodies on the drying rack:


Then heads and tails were added with more green paper.


First graders cut eyes and teeth out of white paper:


Details and symbols were painted on with shiny metallic tempera:


The display is a farewell to first grade:

013 (2)

Some alligator close ups:



016 (2)


017 (2)


018 (2)


015 (2)

014 (2)


009 (2)

010 (2)



007 (2)

008 (2)


These have so much personality and the kids are super excited to show them off. I will leave you with this excellent joke: