Please Don't Eat the Artwork


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Fluorescent Stamped Robots

Hello! I started this project forever ago with my 2nd graders but between snow days and sick days, it has taken a looooong time to finish. Now that all the classes have completed their artwork I am so excited to share these amazing stamped robots with you! The first day we began by talking about robots. We talked about how robots are used in the world today and how they are used in fictional stories and movies. We talked about how robots are made up of geometric shapes. Then, we dipped and stamped.

I was running really low on black tempera paint so I decided to see how these would look with white paint on black paper. And I must say – I love ’em! Instead of using watercolors or tempera cakes, we used Sax Versa Temp Fluorescent colors.


I have been using this paint for everything lately – it looks good on black paper, white paper, and even clay! Students also found the glowy neon colors enchanting when they painted their robots.

To top this project off, each student did a little bit of creative writing about their robot. I am always so tickled by the zany things that kids come up with when they are writing.

Great job 2nd graders!

❤ Mrs. K


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The idea for this lesson comes from Deep Space Sparkle. 

Students began by mixing tints and shades of blue to create a gradient value scale. The next day, everyone could choose either small or big bubble wrap. Aqua paint was carefully applied to the bubbly side with a paintbrush.

Students were encouraged to work together to flip their bubble wrap onto their gradient paper to “print” bubbles. They gently pressed down and were absolutely amazed at their bubble prints!

The next week, we talked about how to show form in a drawing by creating shadows adn highlights. Students were challenged to create a sphere with a light source as well as a jelly dome shape.

After practicing with pencil, students used chalk pastels to create colorful jellies and bubbles.

The last day, everything was assembled. The colorful jellies were cut out. Scraps of tissue-paper tie die paper were used to create the tentacles. Students had the option of curling them or leaving them flat. Seaweed and kelp was added to the background with oil pastels to create a sense of depth.

This is definitely one of those projects that I will be doing year after year. The process was so much fun and the products are AWESOME! There are so many different techniques and a lot of vocabulary encompassed in this project — it was perfect for 5th grade!

What is in the middle of a jellyfish?





❤ Mrs. K

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Emoji Prints

Happy New Year! This school year seems to have flown by. I can’t believe it is already halfway over! I have been having a very relaxing break and as I am starting to get prepared for getting back into the swing of things, I figured I would share this home run project inspired by Teach and Shoot Blog.


So it has been a while since I have done printmaking with Styrofoam like this. Last year I ended up rage-quitting printmaking with 4th grade because my very well planned out lesson ended up being waaayyyy too complicated. I wanted to be ambitious with the lesson this year but have the kids create something very simple. I think that is the key to printmaking — keep the subject matter simple because the technical aspect can be very difficult. We began by creating an analogous background by making tissue-paper tie dye paper. Students chose colors next to each other on the color wheel and used water to make the tissue paper bleed. I have really been digging this technique lately!

Next, students sketched their Emoji idea. I told them no poop emoji. When we get back from break I am planning on displaying these in the hallways and I simply can’t imagine my admin’s reaction to me hanging up pictures of poop on the walls. So NO POOP EMOJIS!! They pretty much got to choose any other face emoji that they wanted. After they sketched their idea, they used a yogurt cup to trace a circle onto a piece of foam. they used hatching and cross hatching techniques to create contrast in their carving.

I thought a lot about how I wanted the actual printing lesson to go. I have done printmaking in a variety of ways over the past several years. I have used a variety of ink colors and tempera paints. I have had kids roll the ink onto phone books and onto lunch trays. I have had kids print one time, three times, or as many times as possible. I have had a set of supplies per table, per student, or just at one table and called kids over. All of these methods have their pros and cons and really depend on the age and dynamic of the group of kids. This year I figured we would just go for it and each table got two sets of supplies: a small tray, a brayer for rolling ink, and black printing ink to print 4 times on the same piece of paper.

I’ve got to say — I was absolutely astonished at how lovely the process and products turned out! I was really apprehensive (which I even admitted to my students!) about this project being successful. I told my students that I did not want them to feel discouraged about making art. I wanted them to TRY YOUR BEST. Whatever the magical combination was, printmaking went wonderfully.

I am rethinking my dislike for printmaking after seeing these amazing creations!

Great job 4th graders! 🙂

❤ Mrs. K


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Pumpkins Inspired by Yayoi Kusama

Ever since I found out that the artwork of Yayoi Kusama will be displayed at the High Museum in 2018  I have been HYPED. There is so much to love about this artist – from the fact that she is a woman to the fact that she has been creating artwork (paintings, sculptures, installations – you name it!) for several decades, any way you look at it Yayoi Kusama is impressive. I love her bold graphic style and now, so did my second graders! We began by looking at some of her artwork and noticing that she often creates sculptures of pumpkins that have polka dots.


We bean our own version by drawing a pumpkin on construction paper. Students could choose any color they wanted because Kusama’s pumpkins are often multi-colored or other colors besides orange. I showed students how to draw a pumpkin by making an oval in the middle with curved lines on the sides.


After drawing, students used white paint to go over their lines. Then, they dipped a marker cap and stamped to make polka dots.

A colorful pumpkin patch:


The next week, student carefully cut out their pumpkins and glued them to another piece of construction paper. Then, they drew geometric shapes (triangles) in the background and traced over the lines with markers.

This was such a fun project and a really great twist on making pumpkins. Way to go 2nd graders!

❤ Mrs. K


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Cool and Warm Stamped Hearts

Third graders just finished up their cool and warm stamped artwork. We began this project by talking about the warm and cool colors. Students used watercolor paint and tempera to create a colorful background. They sprinkled salt on their wet paint for texture.

The next week, we talked about the artwork of Peter Max and Keith Haring we compared and contrasted their artwork and had a great class discussion talking about all of the elements and principles of art that are present in each artist’s work. Students were especially inspired by emphasis and symmetry to create their prints. They used a variety of materials to stamp on top of their paintings.

We talked a lot about symmetry for this one and I showed students how to create symmetry by stamping a shape on one side and then doing it again on the other side. We also talked a lot about balance and emphasis. I absolutely love how these prints turned out, they are so much fun!

Great job 3rd graders!

Mrs. K


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Autumn Trees by Kindergarten

Kindergarteners began this lesson with the story “Sky Color.”


This story is super cute, it is all about a young artist who discovers that the sky doesn’t always have to be painted blue. I always find that my blue paint/crayons/markers/ANYTHING is the first to run out because it is the most popular color for filling up a sky. I wanted my students to know that the sky can be many different colors so this book was perfect to lead us into the project. Each student got a white oil pastel and filled their paper with  clouds. Then, they used water colors to paint “sky colors” which made their clouds magically appear!

The next week, we watched the BrainPop about Fall. We talked about all of the changes that happen when Fall comes especially the beautiful leaves. We reviewed color mixing too. Students drew a tree on top of their sky color background with a brown oil pastel.

They start off with a vertical line and then make it thicker. Next, they draw two diagonal lines to make the letter Y. They draw another vertical line in between and make all of those thicker. The little branches are created by creating little Y’s.


Now the original idea for this project comes from here and they used aluminum foil to create the leaves. With my first batch of kinders I also had them use aluminum foil and that was the only time we did it that way because they did not turn out great. Most of the foil trees just looked like a big ol’ blob of paint on the paper and the detail of the branches was lost. So I racked my brain – and my supply closet – for something else we could use to print leaves. I found a stash of pine cones and they turned out to be absolutely PERFECT for this! So all the other classes used pine cones to dip and stamp yellow and red paint.

These are just absolutely charming:

Great job kindergarteners!

Mrs. K



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Usually when I hang displays of artwork, the displays are homogeneous and feature the same project from a variety of different classes. I was inspired by a recent conversation about displaying artwork to mix it up a bit for kindergarten, 2nd, and 3rd grade’s self-portraits.

I had an art teacher a long time ago who always said that when displaying artwork you should mix up the projects so that viewers don’t compare the works. Each student’s work should be appreciated on it’s own and that is easier to do when the work is surrounded by a variety of projects.

Since kinder, 2nd, and 3rd grade all finished their self-portraits around the same time, I thought it would be fun to display them all together. They are so colorful and the mixture of media and methods is really awesome to see!



I love how each one is so unique — even though the students experienced the same demonstrations and used the same materials during the process, their products are all so different!

If you are interested in seeing any of the step-by-step lessons for these self-portraits you can see kindergarten’s here, 2nd grade’s here, and 3rd grade’s here.


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Kindergarten Stamped Velentines

This lesson was inspired by a project from Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists!


On the first day, we read a super cute book called “The Shape of My Heart” Kinders loved the rhyming words and colorful illustrations.


Students drew the letter V at the bottom of a big piece of paper. Then they used cardboard and black paint to dip and stamp!


They also used marker caps, cylinders, and smaller cardboard pieces to create Xs and Os. The smaller sized stamped hearts were made by me – I hot glued a rolled piece of poster board. The next week, students used tempera cakes to paint their valentines. Aren’t they sweet?!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤



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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!