Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Snowman Collages

What do you get when you cross Arcimboldo with a snowman?

Inspired while reading one of my daughter's favorite stories last night. I think it was this illustration that really did it:

Working on a two day lesson plan.

Monday, December 9, 2013

All Winter Long

This will be the go-to activity for early finishers.

Draw a snowflake on the window and watch it crystallize.
These wipe right off with a wet paper towel or sponge.
Great practice for symmetry. And, can you beat the novelty of drawing on a window? I think not!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Small Pond

Second grade is finishing their Small Small Pond Pictures this week. We had to put them on hold while glazing our snowmen (which I hope to post next week).

Some of my quick finishers today were given the option to add a strip of green around the pond. Lesson plan available here.

Small Small Pond

Second grade is currently reading "In the Small, Small Pond" so I created a lesson plan for them to think about science and nature while creating art. It starts with a discussion about water. What does it look like? How is still water different from moving water. The students have been great in their discussions about what will float and sink. They make predictions about what the water will do and look like.

We're tying this into the impressionists and what artwork could be better than Monet's waterlilies?

Using watersoluble crayons, they've started making the backgrounds for their floating lilypads.

Next week they will choose a lily or a frog to paint, which will sit on their lily pad among the rippling water.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The weather outside is

The gorgeous fall weather that has been spoiling us for weeks has finally snapped. Just in time, as I've been holding back on my snowflake and ornament lessons. It just seemed silly with the leaves so bright and the weather so inviting. But it's time.

Testing out two brand new lessons. For 4th grade, I've created an upgrade to the popular "line ornament" that's been floating around on pinterest. I decided to have them work with implied line and negative space. And instead of paper we're using shrinky dink. The wow factor of handing back something 1/3 its original size never seems to fail and I have a ton of it in the closet. I'm thinking two days, but could add a third if they made a hand beaded ornament hook.

Third grade is going to tackle symmetry, via printmaking. They will create snowflakes behind a window pane. I chose a 3" square plate, so they can practice on post-it notes. Love that it sticks right to the plate without tape.

Both lessons now available on TpT.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Pop" Corn

New lesson for fourth grade will combine pop art, printmaking and corn.

Will be great for using up all the random 2 x 9" scraps of foam I seem to have inherited.  Thinking we can get this done in three classes. Art history connection with artist John Clem Clarke. Lesson plan for sale on TpT.

** Update 10/12/13 **
Road tested this with my 3rd grade daughter last night.
Tips: Have them draw the outline of the corn first. Then with a ruler, draw 4 or 5 guidelines across for making rows. Then tape to styrofoam. Draw the circles on the lines with ball point pen. You do not want them to do all circles on the paper and then trace. Way too much time. Mistakes won't show...they build character on the corn.

*** Update 12/5/17 ***
Have successfully completed this with 2nd grade. We do these as marker transfers. They color the lightest color first then add darker on top. Wet the printing paper with a damp sponge and transfer by burnishing with hands. You can have them cut out two or three, punch a hole and tie together with rafia.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Textured Turkeys

Started planning out the next set of lessons to start when we finish our current items. My daughter had the book "A Plump & Perky Turkey" and I'm thinking of a lesson like this:

Thinking first grade....texture plates or collage

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Art Curriculum

It's amazing what a difference a month can make. I vowed to stay away from school work for a month and I actually did it. I mean, I pinned a million things, but I didn't write any lesson plans, post anything to Teachers Pay Teachers or even this site. I hope everyone else has been enjoying their summer break.

Today I posted my 2012-13 elementary art curriculum for sale. It contains the lesson plans for grades one through four as well as supplemental worksheets that I have used. The files are zipped to adhere to the TPT file size requirements of <100 MB. Files are saved as word docs to make them easier to tweak.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


This summer has already been filled with lots of fun art projects for my favorite 3rd grader. While I was working on a commission for a jellyfish painting she wanted something to do in the studio with me. I taught her how to use a straw to create her own jelly fish. I think this could be a fun lesson on working with line and it should be noted that she worked on this for about 5 hours yesterday and woke up and asked to make more. Her samples and in progress are on the top. My work in progress is underneath. Might write up a lesson plan for this one.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lady Liberty

It turns out that I didn't have enough time or material to do the repousse lesson at all three schools. Fourth grade did watercolor sunsets behind drawn liberty portraits, while third grade did cut paper cityscapes as a background.

Last days

Winding down. Only one student day left. Where did the time go?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shrink, Shrank, Shrunk

I recommend grading before shrinking;  they all look adorable when tiny.

Other lessons learned:
Holes shrink, too. If you plan to use as a keyring, punch hole twice as wide.
First graders cannot carefully cut the plastic material. It tears.

Lesson info here and here.

Brainstorming...first week project. Read "the kissing hand" and have students create at beginning of year.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Shrinky Dinks again

More fun with Shrinky Dinks! This time, my first graders will be creating khamsa amulets.
My daughter and I are working on samples this weekend. Lesson plans and printable templates available on TpT.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Notan Square

I've been seeing lots of variations on the Notan Square lesson on pinterest so I thought now would be a good time to upload my high school lesson for notan squares. In the past I've taught the lesson and then students created one symmetrical and one asymmetrical design. The high school students really got into using themes (nature, weather, sports) going beyond just mindless snipping and gluing. I was always very pleased with their results. The ability to use exacto knives instead of scissors elevates what the designs can become.

Lots of the elementary ideas on pinterest look like fun and something I'd want to try next year.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Patriotic Elementary Lesson Plan

Very excited about a new lesson that I will be teaching in the next week or two. Started making samples today. My third graders will be starting a unit on portraiture and they will create bas-relief statue of liberty using the art of repousse.

Copper repousse

Just posted the three-day lesson plan, reflection worksheet and step by step illustrated directions over on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Student samples to follow!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Art Show Season

It's that crazy time of year. Would love to hear your best tips on art show preparation, display and advertising.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Illuminated Manuscripts

This video is an awesome intro (6 minute clip) for the illuminated manuscript lesson that I will be doing with 4th grade next week.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chihuly Update

The fourth grade at one of my schools has finished the Chihuly project. Last week they created the shells with model magic.

This week we layered tissue paper with gel medium onto the dried model magic shells.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fishbowl Printmaking

I tried the lesson from last month's School Arts magazine with my first graders. This was a three week lesson for my first grade students.

Week one we practiced drawing many types of fish. I used step by step drawing books and photocopies at each table. The students folded their papers into eights and followed along with me at the board to draw the first two fish. Then they could choose any they liked to fill their paper.

Week two I demonstrated the entire process of creating a plate and making prints from the plate. Students then went back and selected one fish drawing from the first week and traced that onto their styrofoam plate. (I had these precut to fishbowl shapes by tracing a butter lid off the edge of the paper.) Older students could easily do their own. This would have been an entire 40 minute class period for my crew.

Week three we did a quick review of the printing process and I showed them where to find supplies and where to store prints when done. Each table had a thick sponge on a foam tray. The sponges were wet on one side so students could pick up the sponge and swipe it across their paper. My class made two copies each without reloading the plated. I explained the second would be lighter and this is called a ghost print. The students write their names and table # immediately on both sheets of paper before I placed the markers on their tables.

Possible extension/Closure: Read the story "Rainbow Fish" and take a small sheet of fancy paper and cut it into enough spaces for each child to glue a special scale to their fish.

Styrofoam plates (5" square per student)
Crayola waterbased markers
Drying Rack or clothesline

Friday, April 5, 2013

Magnetic Mosaic

Started adding magnets to some of the 5000 bottlecaps we've collected this year. Going to need a LOT of magnet tape! I love that this can be as permanent as I want it to be. Was thinking of letting them do the sides of my other two filing cabinets (1 per year) and then the front and sides of my desk. After that I would have them replace one mural per year. It's perfect timing for my third graders who are about to study impressionism and pointillism next!

The mosaic/mural is going on the back side of a 5' metal storage cabinet that currently acts as a room divider between the sink area and work area. The students are very excited to get started.
Collaborative art project

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Just hit the $200 mark on Teachers Pay Teachers. Woo-hoo! When I decided to make a go of it in January and pay for a membership, I was nervous that I wouldn't get my money's worth. It's been a wonderful and pleasant surprise. If you're on the fence, try it for free. It costs nothing to upload a file or two and see what sells. Free membership doesn't expire, you simply earn more when you become a member. Try it. Tell 'em I sent you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Shrinking Arcimboldo

Another fun lesson just in time for mother day. Students trace their profiles onto shirnky dink paper and fill in with favorite things. Here's what you need to get started:

My favorite helper was on the scene once again:

Completed charm can  be strung on jewelry cord, wire or an old chain.

Full lesson plans available now!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pins to Plan

Art lesson plans from pinterest

What are people doing with the hundreds of pins on their dozens of boards? I'd like to offer a new service to the pinterest community through Teachers Pay Teachers. Simply send me a link to the pin you need to plan for and I will create the lesson plan. It will be professionally formatted with national visual art standards. If you have specific standards that you'd like addressed (your state standards or district benchmarks, those can also be included if provided).

Do YOU have any pins that need planning? Samples of my lesson plans are posted here.

Soap Dish

I loved the beautiful soap dishes made by arteascuola and decided to try some with my favorite second grader over spring break. We tried different rubber stamp mats and different "foot" shapes. The first photo are her two samples. We ran out of the small bit of clay I brought home, so she is now creating them out of air dry clay and anything she can find.

These are my teaching samples

More Bottlecap Ideas

I've been dreaming up all kinds of interesting things to do with the bottlecaps that my students have been collecting.  Before winter break, I used them as teaser in the display case. A few weeks ago I followed a pin to this amazing link, reassuring me it's acceptable for art to be temporary. During our PBIS reward day, students were allowed to create bottlecap mandalas alone or with friends

Then last night in the moments before sleep kicked hit me.


Magnets on bottlecaps. Bottlecaps on chalkboards. Bottlecaps on whiteboards. Bottlecaps on filing cabinets. Reusable. Recycled. No glue. No drills. No permission slips from the school board or maintenance department.


Bottlecaps here. Bottlecaps there. With magnets, I can put them ANYWHERE.

Spring Break started today, so I won't get a chance to get in and start adding magnets to all of my bottlecaps until later next week, but I can just imagine this or this on the side of my filing cabinet.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sneak Peek: Crayola Grant in Progress

My students have been busy learning all about contemporary artist Dale Chihuly this month. Applying for the Crayola grant allowed me to purchase the supplies I didn't inherit in two of my classrooms. To impact more students I decided to do the stained glass painting technique with 3rd grade and the seaform sculptures with 4th grade.

So far they have watched "Chihuly Outside." Notice their clipboards where they defined the words transparent and organic and noted favorite forms, locations and jotted down their opinion on placing art outdoors.

The next step was planning their paintings or sculptures. 3rd grade created contour line drawings from observation and then traced their drawings onto acetate with black sharpie marker. Next waterbased markers were applied to one side of the acetate and blended together with white acrylic.

Shells were left to dry then cut out during the next class. Details could be added to the opposite side with sharpie and retraced on the painted side. Students added a dab of gluestick to the smooth side and created a collaborative installation in our front windows.

The 4th grade began by sketching shells from three different perspectives.

This helped inform their knowledge of the shells and plan for working in 3D. Shells were created with model magic. We still have to apply the color during the next two weeks, but they are shaping up very nicely.

The lesson plans shown are for sale on my Teachers Pay Teachers account.

Snapshot of items needed for the 3rd Grade Lesson:

Snapshot of items needed for the 4th Grade Lesson: