Please Don't Eat the Artwork


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Prickly Pear Cactus Collages

Kinders loved making these prickly pear cactus collages! This project included a variety of art techniques and a ton of vocabulary. It is definitely one I will be revisiting next year!

We began by reading Mix it Up which is a really fun interactive color mixing book. I usually put it up on the Document Camera and call kids up to “mix” the colors. They are absolutely blown away by the “magic” book – it is super fun! After reviewing color mixing, students create a green paper by mixing blue and yellow. They use a fork to create prickly or spiky texture.

The next class, we talk about desert landscapes. A horizontal line is drawn across the paper. Above the line, kids use white oil pastels to make clouds. Below the line, they use a texture mat to create textured sand. They paint the sky blue and the ground brownish-gold.

The next week, students use cups to trace circles onto their green paper. They cut out the circles and glue them to the desert background with the biggest at the bottom ad the smallest at the top – just like a prickly pear cactus.

The last day of the project begins with the adorable story Hug Me. Then, students use cardboard to stamp spikes and cotton swabs to stamp flowers.

One of my kindergarten class was a little behind so we used black paper for a night time landscape. The other classes created the sunny daytime desert. I think both look great!

❤ Mrs. K


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Little Trees

First graders learned all about color mixing, shapes, texture, and stamping for this project. We began by doing carousel painting with tints and shades of green and orange.

The next week, students created a purple background by mixing blue and pink. They used a fork to scratch texture into the wet paint.

That did not take up the entire 45 minute block so we were also able to start tracing and cutting circles from the tints and shades papers.


The last day, we assembled everything together. Students overlapped their circles and glued them down with just a dot of liquid glue.


Then, they used cardboard and marker caps to dip and stamp tree trunks, branches, and snow!

These are so sweet!

Great job first graders!

❤ Mrs. K

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Kinder Pumpkins

Kindergartners are just finishing up their pumpkin paintings so I figured I would share a few in time for Halloween. We began by reading The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin which is a adorable rhyming story with gorgeous illustrations. Then, we drew pumpkins using an oval and curved lines on big white paper.


Students painted their pumpkins by mixing red and yellow paint. The next week, we created texture on purple paper by rubbing crayons with a texture mat. Then students cut out their pumpkins and glued them. They chose a piece of green paper and drew a leaf which got cut out and glued to the stem of the pumpkin. With scrap papers they rolled little lines into a cylinder and unrolled it to make a curly spiral vine. I do not have any pictures of the process but here are some great examples of the final product:

I love these precious pumpkins!

❤ Mrs. K



Tissue Paper Portraits

This project is inspired by this post from the Hudsonville Art Program blog!


When I saw the example of this lesson on Pinterest, I knew it would be a fun one for my kindergarteners. We began by mixing primary colors to create secondary colors with bleeding tissue paper. Students tore different shades of reds, yellows, and blues. They overlapped their tissue paper pieces to create orange, green and purple.


I created a mixture of glue water that they painted on top of the torn tissues. This will ensure that the papers stick to the white paper and don’t fall off. However, the paper also looks really beautiful if you let the tissue papers fall off but the colors aren’t as vibrant and the bleeding isn’t as apparent.


The mixture is one part glue and 2 parts water. I stirred it up several times throughout the day with a popsicle stick to make sure it was diluted. Kinders found out that bigger pieces of torn paper worked better and they were fascinated by overlapping to make new colors.


The papers came out so beautiful! The next time we met, we did a guided drawing of a self-portrait. Students were encouraged to add personal details and use their knowledge of lines and shapes to draw. They traced their drawing with a sharpie and cut and glued it to their colorful background. They could also add a pet or their name if there was time.

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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! 🙂

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Secondary Spiders


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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!

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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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Primary Parfaits and Secondary Sundaes

Kinders enjoyed learning about primary and secondary colors to create Primary Parfaits and Secondary Sundaes. We began by reading Lines that Wiggle

lines that wiggle

We used crayons to create a background of lines and shapes. I have to give a big thank-you shoutout to Cassie Stevens Blog for the brilliant idea of having kids work on the floor. I know what you’re thinking “Why in the world would you make kids work on the floor especially when you have such lovely tables and anyway children are not barbarians?” The answer is quite simple: when kids work on the floor (especially kindergarteners) not only do they not care but it is so much easier to help them and have them pay attention. At first it was scary but it ended up being a great classroom management strategy!


The kinders used tan and grey paper to cut out a triangle cone and a half-circle bowl. The next class was spent doing some Color Mixing Magic and Carousel Painting. The next time we met, they cut circles out of their painted paper and glued the pirmary and secondary colors into the bowl and cone.


A mixture of brown paint and glue was used for the “chocolate syrup” and glitter became sprinkles (it also became a sparkly nuisance all over my classroom and even in my shoes. . . ? Glitter is ALWAYS worth the shimmery mess!)

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First Grade Dragons

First graders learned about primary colors, secondary colors, tints and shades to create beautiful painted paper dragons. This project was a big hit last year and this year’s batch of first graders did not disappoint!

We began by mixing primary colors to create secondary colors. We used paint scrapers from one of my favorite art suppliers ROYLCO to make our paper have texture.

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When the papers were dry, I cut them into squares and rectangles for the dragon’s body.


6×2 for the tail
6×4 for extra details
6×4 for feet
6×6 for the head
12×5 for the wings
12×5 for the body

Students cut their colorful painted paper into dragon body parts using their knowledge of lines and shapes.


They shared scraps to create a colorful dragon and even used crayons to add details like fire, castles, clouds, and rainbows!

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Next up for first grade is Dinosaurs! 🙂


Color Mixing Magic Show and Carousel Painting

Teaching is performing and this is one of my favorite “performances.” This lesson works well with k, 1 and 2 (kids past that can see right through the magic). I meet the kiddos at the door wearing my wizard hat:


They are SO EXCITED to come into the art room when they see this hat and I get comments that range from “Bruja!” to “Soooooo beautiful!” to “are you a magic person?” (To answer that last one – yes, yes I am.) Once they are all settled around the demo table, we begin our magic show. I have a tray of cups of water:


And I ask my students what I need to do magic. A hat! Magic spells! Potions! A wand! Food coloring is my magic potions:


My giant blue crayon is my magic wand:


Together we say the magic words “Abra-cadabra-please-and-thank-you!” (Because Please and Thank-You are magic words. They make grown-ups magically happy and more likely to do what you want!) We mix the primary colors together to create secondary colors. It is so magical the kids are amazed. The grand finale is mixing them all together to make brown. What a show! After the magic show, students participate in what I like to call Carousel Painting. I have described it a few times before but this year the process is smoother than ever and the results are stellar.

Students begin at their table and “magically” turn their 9×12 white drawing paper into a hot dog. Then they magically turn that hot dog into a square. The result is 6 squares which will be painted 6 different colors. Younger students have trouble with this so it helps to have a crayon handy to draw the lines for them.

Each table is set with a big place mat, paintbrushes, and a plate of paint. The colors of paint match the table color. Students are instructed to fill in ONE of their squares and do a quiet thumbs up signal when they are finished. When everyone at the table is finished, its time to move like a carousel to the next table. I direct them where to go “blue goes to green, green to purple, purple to orange, orange to yellow, yellow to red, red to blue. GO!” They walk slowly and carefully so they don’t have a traffic jam.


Students MUST carry their painting on top of a place mat (just like at Waffle House!) so the paint does not get on their hands or on the table. I give them about 3-4 minutes at each table to complete their square. The kids are really good about peer-tutoring and helping one another finish and stay on track. When the entire class has made it around to all of the tables, they bring their painting on the place mat over to the drying rack.


Then, the kids are given a wet wipe to clean their hands and table. It is usually a very noisy and active day in the art room but it is something everyone enjoys and the results are great!