Please Don't Eat the Artwork


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One Day Lessons

Due to field trips, holidays, assemblies, and all kinds of other occurances, some classes end up being behind. I like to keep each class as close to on track as I can so scheduling projects doesn’t become a logistical nightmare. Therefore, I have come up with a few one day lessons that are appropriate and can be adapted for k, 1st, and 2nd graders. I use these lessons for classes that are a little ahead of the others or if we are waiting for our ceramics to be fired in the kiln.


This lesson begins with storytime. We read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom which the kids pretty much know by heart.

After the story, students use oil pastels to write the alphabet one letter at a time on their paper. We talk about what words start with the letters and the difference between capital and lowercase letters. Then we use water color paints to paint a coconut tree.

If there is enough time at the end, we watch the song video and then it gets stuck in my head for a week.


Students look at hearts painted by one of my all-time favorite artists Peter Max. We talk about warm and cool colors, positive and negative space,  and symmetry.

We look around the room to find other things that are symmetrical like human bodies, cabinets, windows, etc. First, we begin by folding a paper in half “hamburger style” then we cut out a “fancy letter C” to make a heart. They set their “positive space” heart off to the side and use their “negative space” heart as a template. With oil pastels, students color on a white piece of paper. When they pull of their “negative space” heart, a perfect heart is left behind!

Kinders were given the option to use any color but 2nd graders had to chose if they wanted their heart to be warm or cool and do the opposite in the background. Students used watercolor paints to fill up their papers with color.

^Kindergarten Example ^

^ Kindergarten Example ^

^ 2nd Grade Example ^

^ 2nd Grade Example ^


1st Grade Cool Dinosaurs in Hot Places

1st Graders have been working on Dinosaurs! We began by looking at landscapes and talking about HORIZON LINE (where the sky and ground meet). We looked a dinosaur books from the media center and plastic toy dinosaurs to see what kinds of shapes we can use to draw a dinosaur. 1st graders drew their designs in their sketchbooks that included a pattern, at least 2 plants, and they had to decide if it was night or day. (Next time around I will include precipitation to align with their science unit).


Next, we talked about WARM AND COOL COLORS and students had the option of coloring their dinosaur with either color scheme. The kids had fun with this project and really enjoyed making up stories about their dinos. One student even burst into song with a great rendition to “Walk the Dinosaur” (refer to this video:





With a bird and artist on its back while cooking an egg:



With a backwards cap:



An “AAB” pattern:



With a DJ, a microphone, some rappers, and a cake:






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Dragons and Houses

1st graders are finishing up their painted paper dragons this week. Check out to check out the painted paper process.

Students used scissors and glue to create SYMMETRICAL and ASYMMETRICAL shapes. They used wavy lines, zig-zag lines, and shapes to make the body parts. Check out the amazing dragons!

Remember —  a dot is a lot and a blob is a slob. Use glue wisely!

With a hat:

In a flower field:

With a crown:

With a princess and a flower:

Breathing fire:

Saying “I Qm Bisfly”  (???)

Saying “Na Na Na T”  (???)

“Dark Vater”:

“The Black of Drrkness” (with hearts and rainbows):

Super happy face:

With a scalloped line:

Yaaaaaay dragons.

4th graders finished up their projects based on the artwork of Friedensreich Hundertwasser (a painter and architect) Here are a couple examples of his work:

They were amazed and astounded to learn that this building actually exists. They were also quite inspired by the figurative elements and ‘lollipop trees’  like the ones in this painting:

We talked about Hundertwasser’s style and the kids agreed that his work reminds them of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Dr. Seuss. Thew students noticed the organic shapes and we contemplated the question “do buildings always have to have straight lines?” and the students practiced drawing Hundertwasser-esque building in their sketchbooks. Then they drew their designs onto a big piece of paper with sharpies. We talked about ANALOGOUS COLORS (next to each other on the color wheel). Students chose 4 analogous colors and painted their artwork using liquid water colors.

As the students have been finishing up their artwork, I have been inviting them to visit the art room in the morning if they do not complete their work during class. So far I have had several students visit. They LOVE looking through the drawing books I have and learning how to draw cool things. The Garfield book is the most popular. These drawing books are located in the “I’m Done!” section of the room. This is a little desk with different activities students can do on the carpet when they finish their work. I also ordered mini white boards that will hopefully arrive soon.

Free draw ideas, drawing books, Colorforms, art matching game:

Artwork by a 5th grader who was SO excited to visit this morning:

I think it is important to offer my room in the mornings because for some of these kids, it is the only place they can feel a positive atmosphere. Many of the students at my school come from turbulent homes and they struggle in the general classroom. I try to offer my art room in the mornings as a place where they can come and not worry about anything — just enjoy creating. It is quiet before school starts and there is more freedom to work and explore. I want my room to be a safe and welcoming space that my students are excited to be in. 🙂

Have a great weekend!


Kandinsky Music Paintings

I love my first graders. Maybe its because my room is on the first grade hall and they are my neighbors. Or maybe its because they are silly and mostly laugh at my jokes. Whatever the reason, first graders are awesome 🙂

We looked at art by Kandinsky and talked about abstract art. We discussed different lines and shapes and used paint to create abstract artworks. Since Kandinsky listened to music while he painted, so did we! I played some Brazillian music for them and they were groovin’ and jammin’

Is your paintbrush having a Good Hair Day?

Masterpieces on the Drying Rack:

Painting shapes with Primary Colors.

The final product:

After clean-up we watched this incredibly strange video( Kandinsky )and it was pretty funny when the kids recognized the painting at the end.  This project was really fun and the students were very successful. Next week we will be starting Eric Carle Painted Paper Dragons. Stay tuned for pictures!