Please Don't Eat the Artwork


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Squid Sculptures

One day I was playing around with some supplies. I drew with some Mr. Sketch Water Color markers and sprayed the paper to create a beautiful tie-dye effect. I folded and rolled the paper when it was dry and voila– a project was born. I realized the folded paper looked kinda like a squid and thought it would be a fun sculpture project. This was originally intended for 4th grade only (to be honest, it was probably way to easy for them) but since I had a 5th & 3rd grade class that were ahead of everyone else I decided to do it with them too. After trying this out with 3rd, 4th, and 5th, I think it would probably be best for 2nd/3rd. Despite the lack of challenge, most of the kids really enjoyed making these.

On the first day, we create the beautiful paper. Students were encouraged to chose a color scheme and use patterns of lines. After they finished their tie-dye paper, they created patters on a piece of construction paper.

The second day, we used a lot of office supplies. Students got a kick out of this but really they need to learn how to properly use a stapler. They cut the construction paper into strips and carefully stapled it to the bottom of the watercolor paper.

Then they rolled the paper into a cylinder and stapled it at the top and bottom. They folded two sides in like gift wrap to create the top of the squid’s head. There was a lot of peer support for this step. Seeing the kids collaborate to help their classmates be successful was pretty cool!

Two holes were punched and a string was tied on to hang it up. Then students could use googly eyes or sharpies to create eyes and a face.

These were a big hit – they all turned out super cute!

❤ Mrs. K


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Flower Pot Resist Paintings

First graders did a fabulous job with these flower pot resist paintings! We began by drawing patterned vases. Then, students drew an arrangement of blossoms inside.


Once they finished drawing, they traced over their lines with oil pastels and used water colors to paint their designs.

Most of these paintings were finished just in time for mother’s day. How lovely!

Nice work first graders!

❤ Ms. K


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Pattern Pets

This project is based on a lesson from Mini Matisse. My 1st and 3rd graders loved creating pattern pet sculptures! We began with a piece of 6×4 card stock paper, colored pencils, and permanent markers. Students drew patterns with the markers and colored with the colored pencils.

The next week, each student got a handy handout that showed how to draw different animal’s heads and tails. Students did not have to choose from the handout, they could create their own pattern pet too. The handout was useful to get them started though.


Students used another little piece of card stock to draw, trace and color their pet’s head and tail. Then they cut and glued it to the body. They created a 3D pop up body by cutting an arch shape in the folded paper.

They are sooooooooo stinkin’ cute!!! All of the kids were really into this project and they turned out great. This will definitely be one that I come back to again and again — some 2nd graders even requested to make these sometime this year so you might see them again!

❤ 🙂








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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




Psychedelic Succulent Still Life Paintings

The idea and resources for this lesson came from Art With Mrs. Nguyen! When I first saw her blog post about this lesson I was so inspired that I made one myself with gouache and watercolors!


I cannot emphasize enough how awesome this project is. It was a great way to kick off the school year with 5th graders because it gave them so many choices and opportunities to be expressive with colors, patterns, and composition. This one really involved a lot of choice and voice! We started off on the first day with a PowerPoint and handouts with examples of different succulents — both can be found in Mrs. Nguyen’s incredible TpT store!


Students were encouraged to add visual texture to their succulents for detail and use expressive lines and shapes to create a pattern on their pot. They added 2 horizontal lines for a table or the ground. The final draft was on 9×12 paper and all the lines were of course traced with sharpies. 5th graders could paint the background however they wanted using watercolors. They used colored pencils to color in their cacti. I showed them how to create gradients using analogous colors and they did not have to make their plants realistic. Many kids chose vibrant rainbow colors or used color schemes for their favorite sports teams to give their artwork a personal twist.


To get the table to look like realistic wood, we drew from observation by looking at the wooden tables in the art room. I also did a demonstration of how to make a galaxy design with watercolors and a few kids used salt to create lovely texture!


Awesome job 5th graders!!

❤ Ms. K


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Last semester I took a class at Georgia State University on Asian Art. I was so inspired to do some of the awesome projects with my kiddos!


The first day, I showed students examples of Koinobori wind sock fish. They are used in Japan during festivals to show members of the family. Student’s loved making the connection to weather, a unit they did for PBL.

We used templates to trace the fish shape on 12×18 paper. Students cut the shape out and unfolded it to create a symmetrical fish shape.


They created a pattern with lines and shapes and traced over it with sharpies.


The next day, 1st graders used red, yellow, and blue tempera cakes to mix colors and create a vibrant design.


The last day, students used stamps to print patterns on newsprint paper. They cut the patterns into strips and glued it to the tail.

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As they stamped, I rotated around the room and punched holes so they could tie a string to hang their fish. Then they glued the edges and put it all together.



The best part about this project (aside from the science, math, and social studies connections) is when the kids swing their fish and they catch in the wind the tails move really beautifully. There is something truly special about kinetic artwork and 1st graders were not only engaged and excited but really motivated for this project! Here are some of the fellas swingin’ their Koinoboris around:

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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! 🙂



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.

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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.

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


Check out these sweet works of art!

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Senufo Mudcloth

4th graders ended the school year with a great project that incorporates line, shape, pattern, contrast, color schemes, and symbolism.

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We began by talking about Senufo culture and looking at a variety of artwork including 2D and 3D works. Students were inspired by the West-African motifs and patterns and created a border around a square piece of paper using symbols and patterns.



Students were allowed to choose the animal they wanted to feature in the middle of their composition. I encouraged them to pick an animal that has significance to them in some way. Some students brought in toys or pictures to reference and I also provided step-by-step drawing pages of animals.




After tracing over everything with sharpie, 4th graders chose an analogous color scheme to use for the background. They painted with liquid water-colors and sprinkled on some salt at the end. I love the contrast in these paintings, they really turned out great!

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This lesson was inspired by this lesson from Art is Basic. First graders enjoyed creating windsocks for our 3D sculpture unit!

We began by talking about what windsocks are for and making a great science connection (first grade science curriculum includes a lot about weather.) We used crayons to draw a variety of lines on our paper and paint over them with water colors.

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The next week, we talked about printmaking and stamping and used all kinds of fun shapes to stamp on paper.

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On the backside of the paper, students used tempera cakes to mix colors and make a stripey rainbow.


Week 3 was spent constructing the windsock. I walked around and stapled the line paper into a cylinder while students cut their painted/stamped paper into strips and folded zig zags and spirals. They glues down their strips and used hole punchers and yarn to make it hang.

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A big THANK-YOU shout out to the parent resource center volunteers who hung up all the windsocks in the hallway!

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