Please Don't Eat the Artwork


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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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Eco Summit Quilt & Craftsmanship Poster

I LOVE teacher workdays. There is nothing quite like the peaceful sound of silence which is very conducive to getting work done. I am so thankful that I just got two because I have completed an amazing display and created a cool resource for my classroom. Lets start with the display.

My principal asked me to create an installation where students could reflect what they learned on Eco Summit day. Eco Summit day was a few weeks ago and it was AMAZING. It was basically a conference about the environment and students got to attend different workshops where they learned about fuel, water, animals, and the environment. As the leader of Eco Team I was so thrilled that the entire school would get some schoolin’ about the environment!

The art teacher who was here before me had the students create this really awesome display with cool colors:


I really wanted to create something that would complement this so I decided that we would use warm colors. I was planning to create the same type of thing but then i was presented with an ENORMOUS vertical bulletin board. I was intimidated about filling it up! So whilst I was perusing through my blog feed, I spotted Art With Mrs. Nguyen’s quilt project. I was INSPIRED and knew it would be the perfect way to display the Eco Summit work.

I showed 2nd-5th graders a PowerPoint about modern quilting artist Libs Elliot. We talked about geometric shapes and negative space and quilts. Students got to choose their colors to create their own quilt square. They got one square, one triangle, and one rectangle. They could fold and cut to create a geometric quilt square.

Those blue booklets in the pictures are what they used to take notes during Eco Summit. They chose their favorite fact that they learned and wrote it on their quilt square.


With nearly all of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade creating a quilt square, I ended up with several hundred pieces. I measured out my gigantic bulletin board and figured I would be able to have 25 columns and 11 rows. I picked the 242 best squares and created a pattern of colors in Microsoft Word. This felt like doing a really weird crossword or Sudoku and I actually really enjoyed this problem-solving aspect of putting this thing together.


In the end it didn’t really matter because the colors were so mixed up that I don’t think you can really tell that it is a pattern. It still looks pretty near though! The lighting in the hallway isn’t fantastic so you will just have to take my word that it looks much better in person.

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I can’t wait for the kiddos to see it all put together when they get back from the long weekend!

I also had time to create a resource for my classroom that I have been wanting to make for a while. My art teacher friend Alex made one for her classroom and I finally made one too! This craftsmanship poster will serve as a guide to students showing how to use art materials properly.


And now I am off to check off a bunch of other things on my to-do list. 🙂 🙂

Mrs. K

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Glue Resist Hearts

I really love the glue resist on black construction paper. I have done it in some way every year since I began teaching. For a while I had the kids make autumn leaves and even did a few where they made their initials. I can definitely say that this iteration of the project is my absolute favorite. In fact, this might be one of my favorite projects that I have ever taught because the product is just so incredibly beautiful. So how did we do it?

We started off talking about symmetry. We identified symmetrical shapes together.


Students drew a heart on a piece of black construction paper and filed it up with expressive lines. Then they traced over all of their lines with liquid glue. The trick here is to make sure to keep the glue bottle close to the paper and squeeze and move so it doesn’t get blobby.

The next day, we talked all about warm and cool colors. We sorted out the colors on the board so students could reference while they colored.


Originally I was going to have the kids use oil pastels but I decided to take the plunge into the ocean of messiness that is chalk pastels. And I am GLAD that I did! These were totally worth the mess which wasn’t even as bad as I thought it would be. The kids did a great job coloring their work using warm and cool colors.

I love love love LOOOOOVE how these came out and I want to do more chalk pastel amazing vibrant magic artwork with other grades asap.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

-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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Hot Dogs and Cool Cats

I am absolutely thrilled with how these warm and cool color pets went down in first grade. The kiddos were so excited about this project and both the process and product are super fun!


On the first day we talked about warm and cool colors and how to use shapes to draw a cat and dog. Students created a guide for the colors in their sketchbooks.


Then they used This Handout from Teachers Pay Teachers to look at the different shapes that make a cat or dog. I really likes using these handouts as a guideline because it gave the kids a lot of choice and voice for how they wanted their animal to look.



The next week, each student picked if they wanted to do a cat or a dog. They drew their animal BIG on a piece of paper and traced over the lines with sharpie. Then, they decided upon a warm or cool color scheme to paint with water colors.


The third week was used to put it all together. Students had to choose a piece of construction paper that is the opposite of their color scheme. They used crayons and texture mats to create texture in the background.


So I feel like every single art teacher in the world has a big ol’ book of wallpaper samples or patterned scrapbook paper tucked away somewhere in their classroom. And I really wanted these to have some more visual pop so we used those decades-old wall paper samples as a rug/bed for the cats and dogs. The kids absolutely loved being able to choose a patterned paper to cut into an oval. They cut out their animal and glued it down.

Hot diggity dog first graders! These cats and dogs are really cool!

❤ Ms. K


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Warm & Cool Self Portraits

The idea for this project came from Artsy Artful Amy .com!


This project took a looooooong time for 4th graders to complete and I still have kids coming to visit in the morning or during lunch to finish. But I must admit it’s totally worth is because these self-portraits are turning out absolutely beautiful.


On day one, we begin by talking about the proportions of a face. Students use mirrors to practice drawing their self portrait in their sketchbook. They also start brainstorming words that describe themselves. If anyone was having trouble coming up with descriptive words, they could ask their friends and the people at their table to describe them. Thinking of words turned out to be tricky for some, I had to remind students that we are looking for adjectives and descriptive words so no, “potato” is not going to fly.


The next art day, students used a ruler to create horizontal lines going down a piece of 9×12 paper.


They drew a simplified version of their self-portrait on top of the lines. Next, they were supposed to fill the rectangle spaces with their descriptive words and trace everything with sharpie. I showed them how to split up the words to make it fit around the face and how to streeeeetch their letters to fill the space horizontally. This was also tricky because some students started doing acrostics or drawing waaayyyy too small. With a bit or practice and patience, most were able to get the hang of it.

The next step was to choose the color schemes. Young artists decided if they wanted their face to be warm or cool and the background had to be the opposite. Then they used water colors to fill in each space with a different color. This step was tricky because many students instinctively wanted to paint their whole hair shape one color but they eventually got the hang of painting each tiny shape different.


I am SOOOOO excited about these masterpieces, I can tell the kiddos who really put in effort are so proud of their work. I love how personal and expressive these are and it was a great way to get to know my 4th graders. This project is definitely one of those that I will have in my art teacher bag o’ tricks for years to come.

❤ Ms. K!



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If the Dinosaurs Came Back

First graders contemplated what would happen if the dinosaurs came back for this awesome project. There are a few different versions of this project that I have seen and since my own dinosaur lesson for 1st grade really needed an update I figured I would give it the Ol’ College Go. (What does that even mean anyway? I didn’t try at all in college. So I guess I gave it the ol’ Post-College Go.)




We began by reading the adorable book If the Dinosaurs Came Back and noticing the contrast of the illustrations.


We sketched dinosaurs from looking at toy dinosaurs, paying careful attention to shapes and details. I was the Tracing Sheriff and arrested the ‘perps who tried to trace. It just turned into a blob, HA! Do your own work, draw those shapes! 


Then, first graders created a background and wrote a sentence about what would happen if the dinosaurs came back. They traced over their lines with sharpie.

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The next week, we chose one of our dino sketches to draw B I G on another piece of paper. Students could choose to make their dinosaur be warm or cool colors. They added color by painting water on top of tissue paper. These artists were so amazed to see the colors mix and bleed together! WHAT BLOOD?!?! Not real blood guys . . . c’mon, calm down. 


The last step was to cut out the dino and glue it to the background.  Students tried their very best to put together a comprehensible sentence which described their illustration. This ended up being a lot more challenging than one would think due to spelling and punctuation and capital letters and such but Firsties gave it the Ol’ Post-College Go. For your benefit dear reader I have translated the following works of art from First-Grade-Anese to English. Enjoy!


If the dinosaurs came back they would play with me on the playground. 


If the dinosaurs were alive they would help the city. 


If the dinosaurs came back they will help the circus. 

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If the dinosaurs came back people could give them makeup. 

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If the dinosaurs came back they could take swimmers on rides at the beach. 

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If the dinosaurs came back they would make great ski slopes. 


If the dinosaurs came back they would take children for rides. 

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If the dinosaurs came back they could go on a boat. 

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If the dinosaurs came back they would be a car. 


Other excellent answers included: they could do my laundry, they could cook my food for me, they could do my homework for me, and they could help me win at video games. My own personal answer: If the dinosaurs came back they would wash all the paintbrushes off for me at the end of the day. But since the dinosaurs are in fact not here I will just have to do it myself 🙂



Glue Resist Fall Leaves

This year’s batch of second graders succeeded in creating beautiful fall leaves! Check out our process here.


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Cool Dinosaurs in Hot Places (Take 2)

Last year’s version of this project was successful in teaching warm/cool colors but I thought the product looked kind of cheap. I am a big fan of layers and mixed media so projects that only feature one kind of medium tend to leave me feeling rather nonplussed. The more the merrier when it comes to art materials, especially with young kids who thrive when exploring tactile methods of creating.

SOoooo this year I wanted to change it up a bit. We still made dinosaurs (because DUH dinosaurs are awesome) but I wanted to expose my 1st graders to some more variety of art materials. We began this project by sketching. Students looked at toy dinosaurs (from teh dollar section at Target) and noticed that it is easy to draw something realistic if you break it down into simple shapes.010

Next time we met, we began by talking about warm and cool colors. We brainstormed things that are hot that are warm colors and things that are cold that are cool colors. Ideas mentioned included: ice cream, ice, water, the beach, grass, trees, a volcano,  wind, fire, ovens, the sun, springtime, hot potatoes (?) and snow.


Students chose a color scheme and used oil pastels to draw their design onto big paper. They included details like weather, a horizon line, and patterns. This project was a great STEM connection as the first graders are currently learning all about weather patterns and characteristics in science. The next step was to paint over the drawings with water color. They turned out fantastic!

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Gyotaku Fish

To meet the standard for printmaking, 2nd graders created beautiful fish collages. They looked at traditional Japanese artwork called “Gyotaku” which means “fish-rubbing” and were inspired to create their own colorful underwater artwork. We watched videos of  Gyotaku Printing and used watercolor paints and salt to create a bubbly background.

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The next week was insanely messy and by the end of class the art room looked like it was underwater with all of the blue paint everywhere. Students used a variety of circular objects to create “bubbles” on their backgrounds.

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“Dip and stamp. . .dip and stamp. . . dip and stamp. . . ”

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Meanwhile, a few kiddos at a time worked on their Gyotaku prints at the counter. They carefully painted a rubber fish with tempera paint and gently rubbed a piece of newsprint to make a print.

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The last step of the process was to cut out the fish, some coral/seaweed, and a jellyfish to complete a cool collage.

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We used scrap strips of paper from our roller coaster hats to cut out shapes for plants and whatever else the students could imagine!

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This project made quite a splash, I’m sure you can sea! 🙂