Please Don't Eat the Artwork


1 Comment

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 ^


Cubism Still Lives

4th Graders learned about CUBISM and PABLO PICASSO. We talked about GEOMETRIC SHAPES and COMPLEMENTARY COLORS. Using these concepts, 4th graders completed still life artwork.

We started by talking about CONTOUR LINES and how to draw what you see. Many students were initially intimidated about drawing objects from life but when we broke things down into shapes, it helped to simplify the process. Each table chose a tray filled with interesting objects like flowers, cups, toys, shells, bells, and blocks.

Students were given the option to draw whatever they wanted that they saw, as long as they filled up their paper. I felt it was important to have some freedom in this project because I have always loathed technical life drawing and wanted to provide more choices. Some students chose to draw all of the objects and some decided on a couple that they really liked.

Students drew in their sketchbooks and then transferred their designs onto white drawing paper. From there, they used rulers to ‘fracture’ the picture and sharpies to outline their shapes.

Then it was time to color. I told students they were only allowed to use 2 colors and after the outrage explained that they could also use black and white. We talked about how this would give them at least 6 colors and possibly even more.  Students learned how to blend colors of oil pastels together to create VALUE and TINT AND SHADE. This was a fun and messy process!

The idea for this project was adapted from a project found in the county database. I also used inspiration from a project I did several years ago  with still life, fracturing, and oil pastels.

I am excited to finally be finished with this and move on to printmaking!


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. 🙂

Leave a comment

5th Grade Spacescapes

I love outer space. So, when I found this project in the database for my county, I was excited to teach it to 5th grade. Our last project was based on street art so I thought I would tie that theme in and show the kids this video: This type of art is very cool and I have seen it ‘performed’ live several times in downtown Atlanta by various street artists.

Week one was spent creating the background for our spacescapes by using chalk pastels and watered down white tempera paint. Students also used different lids, tubes, and cups to trace their circles.

They splattered white paint to create stars and noticed that some of the splatters looked like constellations. Students had the option to create planets from out solar system or their own made up planets. They debated what color Pluto should be and if Neptune is more blue or green. This was a great cross-curricular connection to science.

During week 2, we talked about VALUE, TINT, AND SHADE. Students contemplated the way that planets have one side that is lighter (facing the sun) and one side that is darker (turned away from the sun). I showed them how to achieve a 3-D effect by adding white and black to their colors to make their circles look like spheres. The students enjoyed combining different colors of oil pastels to create both realistic planets like Earth and made up planets like “puke planet”

After creating 5 planets, students cut them out and glues them to the background. They had the option to add rings, shooting stars, and even aliens! Students even added black holes, galaxies, and wormholes.




Kindergarten Owls

The main aim of education should be to produce competent, caring, loving, and lovable people. — Nel Noddings


Last week, Kinders read this book  The Little White Owl. It is a very cute and adjective-filled story about being unique. We talked about owls — the sounds they make, how they move, where they live, and created our very own colorful birds.

We began by drawing our owls using shapes. Kids identified different types of shapes for different body parts. Students noticed that oil pastels are very similar to crayons. We made sure to include shapes and patterns in our owls just like the ones from the story. After completing the drawings, students used watercolors to make their owls colorful.

The last step was to cut out our owls and glue them onto construction paper. Crayons were used to add patterns and backgrounds.

This project was inspired by an art teacher friend of mine – Ms. Gram. She has a great art class book resource blog here:

Unit 1 is coming to a close and this weekend will be spent entering grades. Here is a preview of some of the upcoming projects that students are working on. . .

1st Grade Dinosaurs:

3rd Grade Value Paintings:

5th Grade Spacescapes:

I will leave you with these parting words: ART IS AWESOME!!!