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 ^


2nd Grade Fall Leaves

2nd Graders are finishing up their fall leaves artworks. We began by reading the book “Leaf Man” by Lois Elhert.

This book has beautiful collage illustrations that are all made from leaves. We talked about what happens to leaves when the seasons change and what fall leaves look like. Then, students drew different leaves in their sketchbooks. They looked at real leaves for inspiration as well as the book “Autumn Leaves” by Ken Robbins. (The media center at my school had several copies of it which certainly came in handy.)

Students were instructed to draw big and include details like stems and veins. We talked about parts of a leaf and how human beings also have veins which bring them air just like in leaves. (A great cross-curricular connection!)

Then, the kids transfered their designs to black paper and went over their lines with glue. It was important to draw big so the glue lines did not turn into a blob.

The next time we met, we talked about the colors fall leaves change and identified them as WARM COLORS. Using oil pastels, students colored in their leaves with warm colors and colored the background with COOL COLORS.

The artwork came out quite beautiful and looks a little like stained glass. This is a project that I observed during student teaching but never got to see the end of so I am happy to finally see the product. 🙂

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Compliments and Mistakes (2nd Grade Warhol Cats)

The AP came in this morning to tell me how much she LOVES the 1st grade dragons that are flying through the hall. They look great hung up and really brighten up the building.

A Kindergarten assistant dropped by to say how much she appreciated the Ice Cream Sundae lesson because it incorporates concepts they are working on in class such as math and movement. She hung them all up outside of the classroom!

2nd graders are finishing up their Andy Warhol Pop Art Cats. This project was extremely successful as a process and somewhat of a disaster as a product. We began by talking about Pop Art. I showed the students examples of Andy Warhol’s work and related it to today. We looked at the famous Marilyn Monroe picture next to Selena Gomez and talked about how Pop Art changes over time.

Many of the students recognized this artwork:

These cats are from a series of prints Warhol made called 25 Cats Named Sam based on his actual pet cats all named Sam. We talked about the shapes one would use to draw cats and we added patterns of lines and shapes. Not all students chose to draw a cat, we had animals like turtles, dogs, snakes, and rabbits too.

The kids began by sketching their designs in a sketchbook. Then they drew their animal onto a big piece of paper and traced over their lines with a sharpie.

Next, we talked about the primary colors and how they mix to make all of the other colors. Students were encouraged to experiment with color mixing.

So far so good, right? Well, as it turns out, tempera cakes were not the best type of paint to use for this project. The paint ended up being way too thick and ultimately covered up the beautiful animals the kids had designed. Luckily, none of the kids seemed too bummed out about this or even noticed at all. They really enjoyed experimenting with mixing the colors and were able to successfully create secondary colors. Next time I do this project I will definitely have the students use thinner, more transparent paint. Here are some of the (most discernible)  results:

Overall, this project was truly a learning experience for both myself and the 2nd graders. I will not be discouraged — instead I will adapt, adjust, and be successful next time. 🙂

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Super Second Graders

Today I had a second grade class which included a special needs students in a wheelchair who is mainstreamed for art. I was amazed to see how caring, respectful, and kind the other students were. They were eager to help him and completely understanding and patient. So many times we hear about rotten things that kids do but after working with this particular group, I have a little more hope for the future. There are decent people out there, and they are inheriting our world.

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Mondrian and Matisse

During the first week of school I read the book “Lines that Wiggle” to k-2. This is a great book because it involves all sorts of lines that fit in with our curriculum. I also like it because it has cool monsters 🙂

With the knowledge of lines (vertical and horizontal being the main focus) Kinders began working on their Mondrian Masterpieces. We watched this fun video( Mondrian )which the kids enjoyed. We then talked about Mondrian’s artwork and the kids glued down horizontal and vertical lines on square paper. This week, we colored in the shapes our lines made using primary colored crayons. I also read “Mouse Paint” which is a quintessential book for every art room and a great interactive story.

After coloring the shapes, we watched a video about the primary colors. This was a huge hit and had students dancing and singing along. They found this video hilarious and it was great to watch their reactions. OKGO Primary Colors The artwork came out great:

Second Graders learned about Matisse and how he cut shapes out of paper. We talked about positive and negative space and geometric and organic shapes. Students used scissors and paper to create their own Matisse-inspired artwork.

First graders are finishing up their Kandinsky artworks and pictures will be posted soon!

Today was also a great day because I FINALLY got the rug I ordered. Now the kids can sit on a rug for stories instead of an old blanket.