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:

Sunday, March 24, 2013


My principal sharded the arts-infused education leadership packet from Crayola with me and it is full of so much goodness I want to explode!

If you can get your hands on one I highly recommend photocopying the following items for parents at open house:

Page 13 "What is Creativity?"

Page 22 "What is Critical Thinking?"

The entire 80 page book and DVD are just delicious. Get your hands on one. And also...hire me, Crayola?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Time for Art History

In progress developing a series of lessons using Model Magic (r) to create cuff style watches.

I could see this idea take shape across grade levels:
2nd/3rd Grade: Study pop art and jewelry making. Students create a watch with an icon of something they'd like to make time for.

4th/5th Grade: Illustrate a period in art history through the design of a thematic watch.

6th-8th: Surrealism Connection.
View and discuss Dali's "Persistance of Memory" and create melting watches.

Lessons with dozens of illustrated photos now posted.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Teaching Pattern With Laurel Burch

2nd grade at two of my three schools have finished their cats! I've just added the lesson to my TpT account with a copy of the worksheet and the cat body, tail and cheek patterns. See how the lesson took shape here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Step by step marbling with shaving cream.

One of my schools has liquid watercolors. The marbling was much more vibrant. In the other two schools, we used pan watercolors.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Don't you hate it when your high school students complain about having nothing to draw? One of the first assignments I gave each year was for the students to create a morgue (call it an image reference library if you want; my kids liked the illustrator's term "morgue" better). This solved MANY problems of students forgetting an image on the day it was due, or finishing early with nothing to draw. During the first week, I would give them the morgue as an assignment.

They had to find 10 images that inspired them. I accepted pictures, calendars, ephemera, postcards, cd covers, concert tickets. My only rule was it had to be printed out. Don't ask to show me 10 pictures of your cat that are in your phone. I gave the students 1 point for every image (up to 10 per kid).  The images were clipped or stapled together and placed in a portable hanging file folder.

I like the kind with the 2" wide bottom. You can fit 120 students in one box. They had immediate access to the pictures and they stopped complaining there was nothing to draw. Want to try it? My classroom tested assignment sheet is now up on TpT and ready for you to photocopy!

Some of the benefits were letting the students start the year with something "easy" that was an insignificant amount of points. I would walk around the room to check their morgues and it was a great conversation starter...."Oh, you like the Black Keys/Twilight/One Direction or I see you love the Steelers."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Free Art Day

For the past marking period students have been trying to earn a day of "free choice" in art as a PBIS reward. Over the past two weeks, many of the classes have reached this goal. The centers change by grade level and availability of supplies. Some of the centers have included:

4th grade:
Drawing from "how to" books on the floor with clipboards
Watching an art video
Create your own art-venture (box of mystery supplies- glitter glue/google eyes/texture plates)
modeling clay
Paper Marbling (shaving cream)
Scratch art

3rd grade
How to books
Create your own art-venture
Watercolor painting

For the next free art day I am thinking of outside chalk drawing, photo paper or papermaking.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Girl Interrupted

For the past month I've been occupied planning not lessons, but a monster high themed birthday party for the special seven eight-year-old in my life. She opted for an in home party of friends instead of a destination party. Here's how the party came together within our budget.

Her own dolls (free)
Striped Straws (Michael's clearance bin)
Argyle Duct Tape (Michael's)
Repurposed old chalkboard with monster high homemade sign (free)
Purple tablecloths (2 cut in half served our needs)
Balloons (dollar store)
Monster high cup (reused from previous party favor)
Confetti (Party City)
Monster High Streamers (Party City $$) We got one roll and used sparingly
Black Streamers (dollar store)
Glass containers (dollar store)
Monster High banners (Party City)
Cups/Plates (dollar store)

Bingo set (borrowed - free!)
Face Painting (big splurge)
Nail Painting (hired teenage niece for a few $)
Fearbook: Girls completed their monster profile like an old fashioned slam book (free)
Craft Station: DIY shrinky dink magnets & swag tags
Limbo (pool noodle - free!)

Cupcakes (catered - big splurge)
Water (wrapped bottles with duct tape)

Goodie Bags:
Fishnet gloves (Party city - big splurge)
lip gloss (bulk - party city)
mini nailpolish (bulk - party city)
2 mini candy bars (bulk - dollar store)
bracelet (bulk purchase - split at home - dollar store)
Keychains/Magnets (part of entertainment - each girl took home about 3 items)

Bingo Prizes:
MH Fake Tattoos (bulk - cut apart)
Rings (bulk - came with bracelets for goodie bags)
Barrettes (dollar store)

House decorations - about 2 hours
Shrinky dink - about 2.5 hours. Bought plain shrinky dink paper and traced monster high logos and dolls onto it. Girls could personalize this with colored pencils. I had magnet tape on hand and a bag of keychain clips, and colored pencils on hand. (Sometimes it pays to be an art teacher)
Fearbook - 10 minutes. Used all the categories from the back of the monster high box - 1 per page.

The face painting was gorgeous. I met the artist a year ago at a kids night at Red Robin. Found her on the internet and was immediately set. The parents were amazed. She painted 13 kids in 1 hour. The shrinky dinks were a huge crowd pleaser. While they were eating, I actually grabbed a few extra sheets and cut squares with rounded corners and hearts and let them make more. My husband took a photo of each girl as she finished getting her face painted. We are going to send them a copy with their thank you note. We set the party for 2 hours. The girls were still limbo-ing as parents arrived so we didn't have a chance to open gifts until after they left.

"De"composition book (dollar store) modified with duct tape and hand-drawn sign

Streamers on front door sidelight.

We bought as little "Monster High" prepared items as we could and used those for punch. Cups and plates were black and purple from dollar store. For pizza we used hot pink napkins and for cake we used 1 package of MH napkins. You can print the MH logo on labels to attach to goodie bag items. I don't know if they sell MH shrinky dinks, but certainly tracing our own was a cost savings. The girls could have done it on their own, I had my daughter do it as a test, and it took a long time so I pretraced so they could just color. Dollar store balloons in purple, bright blue instead of the mylar MH balloons. Using her own dolls as decoration helped to boost the theme for free.  The confetti was expensive (to me) at maybe $4 or $5 - BUT it went a long way. We covered 2 card tables, a buffet table, a coffee table and three other surfaces of the house. It also helped separate what areas of the house were party stations.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Laurel Burch

After many inspiring lessons on pinterest, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and give it a try. Most of the students finished today.

First grader adding crayon pattern for a resist painting

2nd grader assembling the cat

First grade
Day 1: Slideshow and create cat body
Day 2: Crayon Pattern on cat
Day 3: Lesson on mixing primary to create secondary. Paint body
Day 4: Assemble. Details.

Second grade learned about pattern and repetition.
Day 1: Slideshow and create cat body
Day 2: Create pattern on cat body
Day 3: Assemble. Details.

These worksheets were helpful for early finishers. They were available during the first week and students could work on them whenever they had extra time.

Since I am at three schools, I sometimes try different approaches. At one of my schools, I gave the first graders the tail paper (the 3x12" piece leftover from the background paper 15x12") and let them create pattern with marker immediately after the Laurel Burch intro. The patterns were stronger in that class. I would probably do the lesson that way in the future. In the other two schools, they were allowed to embellish the tails on the day of assembly at the end if they had extra time.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Chihuly's Seaforms

Currently working on two Chihuly themed projects for 3rd and 4th grade that are tied to the Crayola Grant. Spent Saturday morning making samples for the third grade project.

Created "Bulletin Boards" on my cabinets.

Inspiration: Seashells

 The supplies

Teacher Examples

Supply List:
- Duralar
- Sharpie
- Scissors
- Waterbased Markers
- White Acrylic Paint

Lesson Plans with Step by Step Photos