Please Don't Eat the Artwork


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Chika Chika Boom Boom Paintings

Kinders experimented with water-color paint with their Chika Chika Boom Boom Paintings. We began by reading the infamous story.


The kids love this book and even knew the song from this video:

Chika Chika Boom Boom

We began by practicing writing letters with bright colored crayons. They could draw uppercase and lowercase letters and use as many colors as they want! Then we broke out some brand spankin’ new water colors.


Kids discovered that if their brush was “thirsty” they would need to add more water and dip it in the paint again. Students used their knowledge of shapes to design a coconut tree. Some students even added the big yellow full moon from the end of the story.

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The extra-curricular connection was successful in reinforcing letters, shapes, colors, and the alphabet! 🙂

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Complementary Flowers

Second Graders learned all about Complementary Colors to create flowers. I was inspired by this lesson over at Deep Space Sparkle. We began with a color mixing magic show and carousel painting. Students cut circles out of their painted paper for the middle of their flowers.

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They glued the circles onto big paper making sure to give each one “personal space.”

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Then, they used the scraps to make petals. We talked about how complementary colors live across the street from each other on the color wheel. Students noticed that “complementary” sounds a lot like “compliment” and we talked about what it means to give someone a compliment.

The next time we met, 2nd graders used tissue paper to add more petals.

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Some kids who finished early had the opportunity to decorate their flowers with construction paper crayons. Overall this project turned out beautiful and was extremely successful at teaching complementary colors. 🙂

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Georgia O’Keeffe’s Flowers and Skulls

Third graders did an amazing job with their first project of the year! We began by talking about Georgia O’keeffe and looking at some of her most famous artwork.

They were amazed to learn that she painted more than 2000 paintings in her lifetime and was fascinated by flowers and skulls. 3rd graders were inspired to create their own O’Keeffe-style paintings. We began by sketching out an idea by looking at flowers, skulls, and bones. Students were encouraged to come up with an original composition that fills up the space, goes off the page, and is based on realistic designs.


Students chose their favorite sketch and made their “final draft” on big paper. They traced over their design with sharpies. Intermediate Colors were used to fill in the designs with beautiful colors. The kids loved using liquid water colors to get a tie-dye effect and create vibrant, bold artwork.

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Picasso’s Hand Holding Flowers

The idea from this project comes from The Artrageous Afternoon Blog. It is based on Picasso’s Hands Holding Flowers. I remember this artwork used to hang in the hallway in my parents house in a yellow frame and when I was a kid I was always interested in the simplicity of it and the way that the flowers were so bright and bold against contour-line hands. Who is the giver of these flowers and who is the receiver? It is such a perfect moment captured in a unique way.


Kindergartners replicated the spirit of this artwork with their own hands holding flowers. We began by drawing patterns of lines and shapes on paper.


Students used construction paper to trace their hands and cut them out.


They used scraps from this project to create torn paper flower stems.


They even got to look at real (fake) flowers to see what parts of a flower look like.

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We used tissue paper and more scraps and bits from other projects to create the flowers.


These were really fun to make and they look kind of wild. I have mentioned before that I try really hard to steer away from “craft” projects (which this very easily could have been). Craft style projects all end up looking nearly identical and they have such neat craftsmanship that an adult might as well have made it. I want my students to have ownership of their work and have as little of my aesthetic or influence as possible. Kids should feel empowered as artists; how often do you hear an adult say “I am terrible at art, I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life!” Hopefully my students/future adults will never utter these words and will instead go forth into the world as creative and innovative thinkers and problem solvers. (Even if that means having some crazy looking authentic art!)














You gotta hand it to them, the kindergartners sure bloomed into amazing artists! 😉

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Mexican Cactus Pots

When I saw this post from Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists blog, I knew my 4th graders would love the project. We began by talking about Mexico — the climate culture, and a little history. This was a great authentic experience for my students as many of them are from Mexico or have Mexican heritage. We discussed the types of plants that grow in Mexico like cactus, cocoa beans, and chile peppers. We also looked at traditional Talavera Pottery and noticed the beautiful designs, colors, and repetition. Students were inspired to sketch their own plants in pots.



We began by making pinchpots and adding texture for detail . . .

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Then, students used the coil, slab, and pinch methods to create plants to go inside. . .



After they went through the bisque kiln, 4th graders used glaze to paint. . .



The colors came out so vibrant — they plants really look like they are  alive!

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