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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Clay with K-3

Greetings from the art room! I wanted to share the ceramic artwork my kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders have been working on. All of the following projects are twists on lessons I have taught in the past so I won’t go into too much detail here, (except for 2nd grade’s turtles). Click the links below to see the step-by-step process for each project 🙂

Kindergarten Penguins

Last year when I did penguins with my kinders we used tempera paint and glitter to paint them. I had a lot of kids request to use more colors than just black, white, and orange so this year we painted them with watercolor. I love the multi-colored designs!

1st Grade Rainbow Fish

I think I have read the Rainbow Fish out loud to kids at least a thousand times. I know all of the words to the story without even looking at the pages – it is one of my absolute favorite childhood books. This year’s 1st graders were so inspired by the beautiful sparkly illustrations. They were super excited to use Sax Versa Temp Pearlescent Paint and Sax Versa Temp Metallic Paint to paint their creations. One group ended up needing 2 class periods to paint so when they finished on the second day, they created a pyramid “habitat” for their rainbow fish.

2nd Grade Turtles

I have been collecting turtles since I was a little kid. I brought my turtle collection into school to sit on my windowsill and the kids have been going bonkers over all of them. 2nd graders were so thrilled to make their very own ceramic turtles. We began with a pinch pot which we then added features to by doing scratch & attach.

They added all kinds of cutie details like hats, bows, soccer balls, and even baby turtles. The turtles were completed with Sax Versa Temp Fluorescent Paint.

3rd Grade Animal Faces

Last year’s batch of 3rd grade animal faces came out great. I decided that it would be helpful for students to use a template for their slab so I die-cut a bunch of circles that they could trace. This ended up being super helpful to manage the size of the final clay projects.

3rd graders could choose to use the neon or the shimmery colors to paint their animal faces.







Lions and tigers and bears OH MY:

Dragon, Monkey, Koala:


A uni-bear, a spider, and a squid:



The Titanic?!?!?!!!!!


For more clay projects, check out THIS POST with 4th & 5th grade’s clay projects 🙂

❤ Mrs. K


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Choice Based Clay with 4th and 5th Grade

Clay is my FAVORITE. I love how clay awakens senses that are not always activated in the art room – it feels interesting in your hands and smells like the earth or a river or a rainy day. Clay is so special because many of my students only get to use it once a year, in my classroom. In the past I have done clay projects where every student makes a version of the same object. This year, I wanted to challenge myself and my students to have more of a choice-based opportunity for exploring and creating with clay. I was apprehensive at first because so much can go wrong with clay as a material. It can dry out too quickly while you work with it or too slowly before it goes into the kiln. It can ‘explode’ inside of the kiln. It can break or shatter or bottom out. With so many ways that things could go wrong, I was determined to set up the unit with as much structure as possible to help things go right. And I must say — it was an incredible success! To be honest, I am astonished at how smooth, fun, and efficacious the entire process was. So — here is how I did it. . . .

On day one we talked about the rules for clay. No clapping your hands to make dust, no covering your hands with water to make mud, no stabbing the clay with the tools, no spaghetti-noodle stick out pieces (which would inevitable snap off and break) no giant solid chunky pieces (which would inevitably explode), absolutely NO throwing clay, etc.


The first day also had some clay challenges for students to complete. They had to create a pinch pot, a coil, a slab, and scratch and attach. If there was time after the rules and challenges, students could explore with clay on their own. If they ended up creating something on that first day they could keep it or save it. Most of the kids ended up “trashing” their clay but there were some who started or completed a mini project that first day.

On day two students sketched their idea for their project. They were required to label their sketch with what clay form would be used to build it. For example if a kid was making a tea cup, they had to label it “pinch pot” and “coil.” They did not use clay at all this day, I emphasized that it was important to have a detailed blue-print of how they would be constructing their project because since there were so many different ideas it would be impossible for me to sit with everyone and help them build. They had to be a little independent for this one!

On day three each student got a pre-cut chunk of clay. They could get more if they needed. Having the clay already measured out really seemed to help with size management. I kept all of the chinks of clay in a big plastic bin and sprayed them lightly with water. I would usually prepare the clay in the morning or even the day before so this was super helpful for keeping clay fresh.



Students had that entire third day to build their designs. Many of them quickly realized that their ideas were too ambitious. So – the backup plan for everyone was to make a pinchpot or a cupcake. I showed every class how to create a pinchpot/coil cupcake just in case students ended up needing an idea to fall back on. We talked about how it is ok if an art idea doesn’t work out the way you intended, all artists go through a trial and error process! I think that having a backup plan helped kids from getting too discouraged if their initial idea didn’t work out. And some kids even chose to do a cupcake as their first choice design!

Since this was so personalized, several popular themes emerged. Most of the creations seemed to fall into the following categories: food, pop culture, animals, and sports.


Lots of pizza:



Pop Culture


Nintendo/Video Games:

Star Wars:

Rubix Cubes:


Memes & Minions:

SpongeBob & The Flash:

Harry Potter:

Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, & BayMax:




There were tons of great slab constructed projects:

And many creations that combined construction techniques:

My favorite thing about this process is that students were able to have a deeply personal connection with their work. The kids got to create something that expressed their interests, hobbies, and passions. Each and every project is as unique as the kid who made it. Navigating the logistics and organization of this project has inspired me to do more choice-based projects in the future. 🙂

❤ Mrs. K



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Paper Chameleon Sculptures

These paper chameleon sculptures are always a huge hit with 3rd grade. In the past we have created painted paper to use but this year I switched it up and had the students use construction paper. We followed the step-by-step instructions found HERE create the body and heads for our chameleons. They are all so creative!

❤ Ms. 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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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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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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Heros VS. Villains (Paper Mache Masks)

I am so impressed with the creativity and problem solving art club members showed during this project!

At the beginning of the year, I had found a bunch of plastic mask forms in my storage closet. I have always wanted to try paper mache with students but have always been deterred from just the thought of the logistics of classroom management. So when I had Art Club up and running somewhat smoothly, I figured it might be something they could handle.

Originally the plan was to just do masks – maybe portraits or something. But then two of my art club members came early one day and started talking about having super powers. One student said he would use his powers for good: to help people. Te other student said she would use her powers to steal and be evil!

This conversation inspired me to give my art club students the prompt: create a hero or villain! On the first day, we sketched our ideas. Students had to illustrate a hero and a villain and choose their favorite to elaborate upon. They included powers, an origin story, and info about an arch nemesis.

On the second day, we used a paper mache technique to cover the mask forms. I mixed 2 parts school glue to one part water. Students dipped 2inch newspaper strips into the mixture and started to layer them onto the mask form. This day was incredibly messy but super fun!

The next few weeks were used to design and engineer the look of the masks. Students had to come up with a color scheme plan in their sketchbook before they could get paint.

I also set out a whole bunch of craft materials for them to use like wires, yarn, sequins, glitter glue, and twisty wire. They pretty much had complete freedom for how they wanted to design and decorate their mask to bring their hero/villain to life. Some students had a big engineering challenge for how to create 3D aspects or how to achieve a certain effect they were going for. In the end, these turned out to be hilarious, authentic, silly, meaningful, memorable, and fun. Check em out!


The Popper




The Puppet Master


Waffle Man


News Lady


Star Gazer


Father of Rain


Night Cloud




Berry S’more


The Phantom of the Night


Heat Breath Man


Fruit Man


Glitter Girl


Bow Giver


Lightning Strike


Lightning Lady


Perfect Line Lady


Way to go art club!!


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Collaborative Community Sculptures


Thank you to my art teacher friend Noelle for the inspiration for this project!

I am all about some collaboration this year! I think projects with collaborative group work really help to build character development and teach real-world communication skills. Anyway, for this project we started off using Google Earth on ipads to research buildings in our community or places that are interesting.


Students were allowed to choose their own groups and they got together to decide which buildings to create and who would do what. They were pretty much welcome to use anything they wanted in the art room (within reason) to make their communities but they had to have a road to connect everything and at least some elements that were 3D. They used foam, pipe cleaners, wire, phone books, maps, cardboard, scraps, paint, markers, poster board, tape, and any other odds and ends they wanted.


^ Check out that White House! ^


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^ A Soccer Field ^


^ The Statue of Liberty ^


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^ This student loves outer space and built NASA with a rocket launching! ^



^ The Magic School bus ^



^ This student made a house for each member of her group 😀 ^


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^ Pipe Cleaner Tree ^



^ The foil building in the top right is a Starbucks ^



This project spanned several weeks. The last day was used for a walk-around critique. Students were responsible for completing a critique sheet about their own work as well as their classmate’s.


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The “Glow” is something the group did well and the “Grow” is something they can improve for next time. I love when kids write stuff, it is hilarious! (And good practice for testing and life in general)