Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Bags

One activity I do with all age groups during the week before Christm7214430[4]as break is I let them create gift bags. The classroom teachers and school Christmas gift shops the students usually have a gift so I let them create a bag to put the gift in. Different ages groups use different materials the younger students I let them use the metallic crayola crayons and clip art. Older e7214764[3] lementary kids have the option of using gift wrap in collage, paint and student choice art materials. Middle school students like to do detailed acrylic and watercolor paint.


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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What to do with the little ones in art during Christmas, especially if you school district is strict on holiday themes.

DSC06539 Poinsettias are always a great Christmas time art project. Just red, green paint, a little gold glitter and fingers.

This year I have been thinking about non-religious holiday themed art projects. Now my school is religious catholic school and very easy to do pretty much anything. I have done the normal nativity etc. but I have also done Chinese new year, Islamic tile art, and let the students study military paintings from Napoleon to modern Iraq war watercolors. Now that isn’t holiday Christmas but many public school teachers in my area I have talked to just wonder why they can't  do these type of lessons. Everything is very censored. My neighbor who is also an art teacher was worried about letting her students draw spiders during the month of October because it may be to halloweenish. In her art room seasonal seems to be safe fall, winter, spring and summer themed lessons. So I started to brain storm what lessons would be appropriate in that type of administration atmosphere? I started with poinsettias Christmas yet still winter themed. I know I would be be very controversial teaching in her school district.

Another project is cell painting or faux stained glass depending on the lesson and age group. Cell painting is the old style cartooning when animation was created by hand. These examples are created by 1st graders (snowman) 3rd graders (angel and snowflake ornaments) and 7th grade (Saint stained glass)7132934[1]  7057266[2]

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These are created by drawing with permanent black marker on overhead transparency plastic then paint using acrylic paint and/or sun catcher paint. Older students can draw their own design and younger students can trace from clip art.

**If anyone goes to the Gettysburg Outlets in PA check out my school Christmas Card my 8th grade class did!




Sunday, November 15, 2009

Christmas is Coming

I did all sorts of fall projects

-Fall Vegetable mosaics where students did a simple veggie or fruit drawing. Colored it a solid color then ripped different colors of construction paper in a variety of ways (small pieces, long strips etc.) then glued the pieces over the solid color drawing.

-My standby lesson of large oil pastel pumpkins I have blogged about that before. But to sum the lesson it is a basic form lesson using pumpkins.

-Fall paper color weaving with my 1st grade, they did a awesome job in less than one class period (1st time ever) so I let them do leaf rubbings to cut out and decorate the weaving.

-I heard the7th grade boys talking about kicking mushrooms on the soccer field. So I decided to have 7th grade create Technicolor oil pastel mushrooms. Basically a under drawing of white for highlight areas and blue or purple for shadow areas, then a over color of their choice. They came out really nice. It is sometimes hard to get all the boys interested in a topic, but they really liked the mushrooms.

Now Christmas is almost here. I want to get really nice art pieces on our artsonia site so parents can have a nice choice for gifts.

    Some ideas I am kicking around are:

- White paint and glue mix pine trees with green sand coating for my little ones.

-Winter tree splatter paint where students cut out a black or brown tree from construction paper, place it on a black piece of paper then splatter white paint around it. When they remove it you have an empty area in a blizzard. They then paint with brown paint in a winter tree. I then have them glue the paper tree on another piece of black paper and have them paint with white paint a winter scene. They can also do this with green paper and a pine tree. Then they have up to four different winter scenes in about 2 class periods. We talk about positive/ Negative space to get the standards in.

-I am planning on white chenille wire snow flake sculptures.

So far that is it. I want to stay away from snowmen and such until later in winter and I don't want to bring up Santa and decorated Christmas stuff yet. SO I figured I would stuck with nature and winter tree landscapes seem to fit the bill.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer Vacation Has Ended

I took a little break from this blog. Between my laptop breaking and just all the things that summer brought it was hard to sit down at the desk top computer. Our family hosted a child from NY City through the Fresh Air Fund Program for the first time. I had heard from others how awful there experience was and I heard how wonderful it was. I think it just depends on the child and how your family dynamics are it's like a game of chance. We won the chance and had a lovely girl about my daughters age stay with us. I hope she will be able to join us next summer. I really recommend especially you teachers like me who have time in the summer to try it. My daughter got just as much out of it as the girl who visited. Other summer things was horse riding camp. We have 3 horses that we keep on our property. My daughter decided to take her horse to summer riding camp. She had a wonderful experience but we did so much running back and forth to the barn that I don't know how people who board at the barn are able to do it.

As for art I have tested out all sorts of art projects, scoured art magazines and catalogs, and whittled down what I plan to do for the first 12 weeks of school. I will share a few art projects that I have found that are new for me this year that I am going to try:

Sax catalog mini self stick notebooks I wanted a book making project for my middle school classes to use as a sketchbook. I know the paper is small but that also makes them portable and I am going to incorporate that into thumbnail sketches.

Paper weaving baskets I have a limited budget this year as I have heard many schools do. My friend had her entire order canceled so no art supplies at all until October! Well mine wasn't that bad. However basket making materials is expensive so I cut it. I still wanted to do weaving so I picked a few different types of weaving one being the paper weaving basket.


Sunday, June 14, 2009


During the summer I like to test out art materials and try different projects. This week I was playing around with crayons. Drawing on wax paper, crumpled brown paper, and fabric to see what creative things I could do. I also got one of those crayola crayon maker (picture) from a yard sale for a $1.00 so I cannot wait to play with that. I need to get to the store and buy a light bulb.

I have had discussions with other art teachers and it seems to be divided. Do you show an example of an art project or just show a certain technique and not show a finished example. I have no real definite pull toward either method. Sometimes I show a finished example and other times I demonstrate a technique it depends on what the lesson is about. I had one art teacher that was horrified that I used finished examples! She never used examples because she believed it hindered the creative flow of her students. I can see her side I don't use a lot of finished examples with K-3rd grade because many will copy mine and get frustrated, so I usually will do a technique demonstration and my example is usually ½ complete. For my older students 4th- 8th I usually just have a finished example and also will show a demonstration of a technique if it is a new concept. Unless they are new students most have learned through the demonstrations from earlier years and the older students have their own ideas so they rarely copy my example.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

End of the year

I have not been able to sit and type much in the past week, due to closing up the art room for summer. It is amazing what I find stashed all over the room. Projects that disappeared are stuffed in a drawer or under a cabinet that was just moved. So I have been deciding how to reorganize the storage in the room for next year. For an art room it is fairly small about 25' by 25' with a limited amount of storage, closet and sink. Not much area.

I use to have 3 large 8' tables but I had them replaced with regular desks. I thought they probably would not the best for an art room, but much easier to work with than those tables, but actually I really like the desks. I have portfolios for each student in the desk they sit at, so project usually stay clean and safe. I can rearrange the room for large group projects and smaller individual projects depending on the class. It is easy to separate students who don't work well together, or the middle school sweet hearts that get nothing done. So overall since I booted the large tables two years ago, I have been really happy with the desk arrangement.

This next year I am going to concentrate on storage solutions. Last year I bought wire shelving cubes on sale for 14.99, not the best idea. Every time a student dropped a box of art supplies they fell down in between the openings and made a terrible mess. So I am going to use those next year for books and I have decided to just suck it up and get either a plastic shelf system or those plastic storage drawers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Art Show

My schools art show ended, I have finally purged my room of about 600 art projects I had stuffed in all empty spaces available. Art shows a hard work to put together I have a few tips that I have found makes it a lot easier.

  1. Keep it small.
    1. I try to have the students do small art pieces no bigger than a 9x12. This allows me to display more projects in smaller spaces.
    2. I have also found that the middle school students do awesome small projects with a lot of detail. Even the students that are not the best at art, they don't get overwhelmed.
    3. One project is artist trading cards it is a small project, brings in art history, and can be displayed easily.
  2. Try to get displays done ahead of time especially like me I only have a few hours due to lunch being in the cafeteria first.
    1. I tape together black strips of paper to create a 7 'x 2 "section and laminate it to make it stronger.
    2. Then measure how many art projects will fit on the 7' length and hole punch where the top and bottom of the art piece would fall.
    3. Next attach paper clips, I use gold toned, so the art piece can easily slid right in.
    4. I actually attach all the art work a few days ahead of time and they are all ready to hang up that afternoon
  3. Use a dark colored fabric for the tables that sculptures will be on. I use black and dark blue.
    1. I also place card board boxes at different heights and drape the material over the boxes and place the sculptures on different levels. It just makes it look more interesting then sitting on a flat.
  4. Have a spotlight section.
    1. I take the larger best art pieces of students and contest winners photos, newspaper articles, or artwork in this section. This year I had 4 contest winners. One student that went on to a National art contest in D.C. this summer.
    2. I take pictures of all contest entries so I can print and display the art work from the winner since usually entries are not returned.

Those are a few of my tips. If you don't have an end of the year art show, consider doing one. I also use an online year round as a fundraiser and online art gallery. My schools gallery.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Other book authors and illustrators

If you have access to a computer you can always show all different illustrator and author interviews from Reading Rockets. If you don't have access to show the interview you can also print out a transcript of the video, but I really recommend trying to show the interviews they are a wonderful addition to a lesson that you can also bring in literature to your art class or bring art into your literature class.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

National Teachers Day!

My art lesson for today for 3rd grade I bring in National Teachers Day. I use the Scholastic DVD Miss Nelson Has a Field Day. I show the first segment Miss Nelson Has a Field Day, and then the getting to know James Marshall. This is a wonderful segment about the author and illustrator behind the books. Then I have the students draw their teacher in marker. This is a simple yet very fun lesson.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What do you do?

What do you do when you don't have one single class that day, but need to be at school? Today is field day so no classes.

My list:

#1 Clean my room it is starting to pile up.

#2 Sort art work

#3 Start mounting art work for the all too soon art show

That is my top #3 things to do today.


Since I missed last week's favorite art material pick I am going to give you one today: Tissue paper

It is fun to use and cheap to get. I buy mine at the dollar store. I get pastel, bright and the student favorite glitter. One great lesson is Eric Carle style painted paper and collage. I have the students create their own book.

Here is a list of several projects I use tissue paper with:

One hint I use liquid starch as glue for most projects and if I want it more durable modge podge is the glue I use

  • Mask Making
  • Collage
  • Jewelry making
  • Sculpture
  • Mock Stained glass
  • Holiday Christmas ornaments
  • Spring Butterflies

    These are just a few.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Try using regular art materials in a different way.

I have always experimented with using art materials in other ways. Watercolor on fabric, wax paper, sand paper, aluminum foil, and over laminating scraps after trimming. Today I have students doing a batik style flower drawing on scrap cotton fabric and then painting over it with water color. Another class is creating sun catchers by coloring designs on scrap laminating pieces with crayon and then I run it through the laminator again. Color oil pastel on aluminum foil and then use scratching sticks to draw revealing the silver aluminum. I have done days were I just place a bunch of art materials and see what they create. I have had some surprising creations and some disasters. One of my seventh graders while using a low temp glue gun decided to goof off by swirling it in the sink full of water. It creates such a wonderful swirl mixing with the watercolor in the water. He started to deliberately creating designs, they came out awesome and now instead of goofing he tries different things out a complete turnaround in attitude.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ack… Almost summer

I am brain storming this weekend the classes were crazy last week. We had sunny days of 70 and other days of rain and even had to scrape the wind shield one morning. The kids where acting just as wacky as the weather was here, so I have decided I need to rev up a little more interesting projects starting next week for the classes.

A few ideas that I am toying with:

Clay sculpting, tie dying and fabric batiks all projects I love doing outdoors so I need predictable nice weather. One the custodians won't kill me and the principal may not have a heart attack. The grass area outside my room becomes a disaster area, but after a few weeks it goes back to looking normal. I look like a disaster for that week, I call it my black week because I wear black all week due to the high concentration of messy projects. My arms have fabric dye all over them and my hair usually has bits of clay all in it. The students don't look to nice either. I think I will make mess week the first week of May, unless it is bad weather.

Monday, April 20, 2009

How many Mondays are left?

At our school counting today we have eight Mondays left. That is not much time, but I think I am ready for summer vacation. Now if you are familiar with a teacher we really don't have "off" all summer. I am contracted for so many days, but the pay is spread over the year. So I am doing a lot of extra free work for the school over the summer. Now I have fun doing it, I test out new lesson plans homemade play dough, clay, painting, plaster and other art materials. I like to outline my lesson plan goals for the next school year, by looking at the calendar and penciling in seasonal and holiday ideas. Now these change depending on days off, assemblies, and snow delays/cancelations. But it keeps me on track when figuring out lesson plans during the extra busy holiday season, when Christmas sneaks up. In our state we have act 48 hours to acquire so some summers I take college courses and/or workshops. So summer is not really a vacation I have lots of work to do. One of my goals this summer is to make new art games. I have several different file folder games. I have decided that today after looking at mine and realizing it has been 3 years since I remade them so they are looking a little too worn. One of the favorites for the little ones is draw off. I have a folder with sticky notes and cards with a word and a picture example. You need a group of 3 at least one person pulls a card and draws the object. The others need to guess as they draw the first to guess gets to go next. I also have artist bingo games, artist puzzles, and file folder games for elements of art that need a little TLC.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday favorite art material: Chalk has a come back

Today I went to an awards ceremony for a poster contest one of my art students won. So I missed my first grade morning class. So I combined both first grades in the afternoon. Yes I am crazy! However it was such a nice spring day I decided to take them outside for art. I had them divide into groups of two and pick a rectangle (parking space) to work in. Using sidewalk chalk I had then trace each other then decorate starting with eyes, hair, then onto clothing and la loved it and lastly what are could you be doing. I had skateboarders, and even a mummy.     

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday Art project of the Week, well at least art class OUTSIDE!

I don't know about your art room but my art supplies are low, all the "cool" stuff scented markers, glitter paints, and even the prized chalk is getting boring for my students. It is time to break out the messy stuff and take art class OUTSIDE into the spring air. I do Clay, sand casting with plaster, and tie dyeing. The stuff if I did it inside I think my custodians and principal would have a heart attack. Here is a few of my favorite nature walk projects for spring.

  1. The Ants view of grass. I have the students lie down in the grass and draw it from that view using colored pencils. I have a photo attached of what it looks like from that view.

  2. Nature Journals just walking around and drawing in pen what they see then go inside and do a watercolor wash over the drawing.

  3. Paint made from nature, I have the students collect or bring in different leaves, vegetables, fruits, and vegetation. Then boil it in water and use the colors like watercolors. Especially since I am low on paints by this time of year. I have also tie dyed with this homemade dye as well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

George, oh George!

George Seurat the artist that uses tiny dots of color to paint with. I did two projects based on this artist this year one with 1st grade and one with 7th grade. First grade I introduced the basic concept of an artist using a different style of painting than with just regular brush strokes. I give each student a porcupine ring to paint with. Some painting turn out great and others well they had fun doing it! The 7th grade has more of an art history lesson about the artist. Using fine tip markers they create a 3x7 card of any design landscape they want using only dots of color, these pictures come out awesome. I keep the paper small because, yes they are older students, they get bored easily and some mess up the picture before totally complete.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

YouTube in the classroom

Spring is now rolling on. I worked on my garden these past few days, ordered some plants from the garden catalogs and mulched. I decided that this is the season to introduce Cezanne . I am going to discuss and I use the YouTube videos for classes, and web museums to present artists a lot. Many art colleges have students put together videos about artists and post them on youtube. Just reminder never use a video without previewing it first. A few of my favorites are:

Cezanne: fruit still life, a real fun video about cubism and Cezanne does have one nude painting but fairly tame, and Mountains part one & two very, very good.

Frida Kahlo: awesome morphing of self portraits montage the kids love it!

VanGogh: Morphed self portrait another favorite, tribute montage,

Edvard Munch: The scream, the scream spoofed I do this with my 8th grade recreate The Scream,

The whistler's Mother with Mr. Bean part 1 and part 2 I use this for introducing art preservation, and critiquing art with my 7th grade just a fun last class activity. I use a spoofing video for the lesson how can you recreate Whistler's Mother painting.

Cultures: Egypt,

Arts world videos great video series Qatar Islamic art museum, Underwater art, Glass blowing

YouTube is a wonderful tool for the classroom.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Monday Special

It is 2 days before Easter vacation at my school, so I have excited kids and need to keep their attention and get something done. Here are a few of my Easter lessons:

Kindergarten: using the finger scissor to tear out shapes to create a bunny. I love this lesson they start by tearing out large white ovals and then a little smaller pink ovals for the ears. And large oval for the head and then use crayon to draw the features for the eyes, nose and mouth. The ripped texture makes this bunny look great.

2nd: I get the doctors to donate the paper that covers the patient tables that nice heavy tissue like paper. The doctors throw out unused rolls when the big medicine providers change the logos. They get these free from the companies only drawback is along the edge is some medications logo that I trim before using. I give the students a big rectangle 18x24 and have them fold it in half, then discuss symmetry

Saturday, April 4, 2009

DVD Weekend warrior

That's what I am this week I haven't went through any of my new videos since last summer so that is my project. I love to use special features and making of segments during art class in the last few classes of the year. I am cleaning the room and packing up supplies, so I need easy reliable mess free lessons that keep the students attention. All feature films on the extended DVDs usually have a lot of behind the scenes art, scenery, and costume segments. Make sure you check the links they have great websites.

My tried and true movie lessons:

  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, how to draw Spirit colored pencil lesson. Click the link and check out games and activities the cel creator to learn how they create a cel for a movie, another great lesson.
  • Treasure Planet making of the rule they used was 70/30%, which means 70% real and 30% imagination. This is a favorite for the boys in class especially it gets them really into wacky world creations. They don't always stick to the exact 70/30 rule but it gives them an idea of how to meld real world things but tweak it a little to create something new.
  • Finding Nemo, I have two lessons the color pencil drawing and the modeling clay lesson I bring in small feeder gold fish and set them in little plastic fish bowls along the tables
    • The color pencil is I have the students draw a real moving fish.
    • The modeling clay is I have them model from clay the fish they observe.
      • At the end of the lesson if the kid has a parent note they make take a fish home, it is open to the class that had the lesson first, then the rest of the school. This is by far the most looked forward to lesson. I have them asking me already.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday favorite art material pick

Chalk, my students of all ages love to use chalk. I have done several projects using just regular paper chalk, side walk chalk and the better quality chalk pastel. They love the ability to blend and swirl. One of the favorites of my students is freestyle art. They get to choose the art material they want to use and sometimes I give a broad topic other times I just leave them create. Chalk is one picked most often. Beautiful skies, flowers, space scenes have been created.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


No I am not talking about my administration, students of coworkers. I am talking an Easter project I do with the 8th grade. I really get to gross them out and really get back at them in a loving but disgusting way. I have the students blow out the insides of the eggs. This is not pretty to watch, but amusing to all. Then I have the students draw in pencil their facial features on the egg and then use crayon and watercolor to color it. Now you will need to check to make sure you have no egg allergies, but usually an egg allergy is for ingestion so check with the school nurse and parents if an allergy comes up. I also recommend having 2 -3 eggs per student many get broken, dropped or explode.

Blowing out the egg:

  1. Poke a hole in the bottom (the wide diameter of the egg) then the top. SHAKE for several seconds.
  2. Blow contents of the egg into a container, trash, or plate. You may need to shake to break the yoke a few times.
  3. Wash and dry egg.


I have done Faberge eggs, Russian/Ukrainian eggs, batik eggs also with blown eggs. But I really like with the middle school kids to do self portraits on them since 8th graders are so into themselves they like it as well.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday art material pick and art project examples slide show premier!

Slide Show Premier

I have finally after so much trial and error figured out how to show art examples the best way on the this blog site. I debated about inserting them directly into the text, but decided that a slide show along the side would be the best. That way you can see all of them instead of digging through the archives of text later.

Friday Art Material Pick

One of my favorite and most versatile art material I use in my room is the old cheap watercolors, my two favorite are refill strips and Prang regular and if you want to get the kids excited glitter and metallic. I use the refill strip regularly in class they are cheap and effective. The Prang I use for specific lessons they are more expensive but they have a rich color. This week I had the first grade class paint flowers using watercolor (some examples on the slideshow). I have loads of fake flowers they chose the ones they liked sketched them out and then painted using watercolors. A very simple but the flowers they paint are childlike but colorful and beautiful!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Madness with a tip!

It is spring and that means spring play scenery. I will stop there because I will scream if I have to talk about all the issues surrounding the SCENERY!

If you want to read my E-mail gripe just CLICK!


But I will give you a tip!

Brown paper from Home Depot or Lowes $10.00 and a cheap classroom colored chalk box, and few talented kids or you sketching it out and having them color it in. You have a scene in few days, good bye and out of your hair! CHEAP, FAST and FORGIVING, and that is how I like it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend project

Well it is still a little too cold out for much gardening. I have been fertilizing my garden and getting it ready to plant seeds and plants. Now I know you are thinking how this goes with art or education. Well I'll tell you I am going to start many flower and spring pictures with my students in class soon. I start as soon as the forsythia blooms because on the way to school the students pass a long forsythia hedge. Kindergarten learns to draw a star and creates a forsythia vase of flowers.

I am using great artist paintings as inspiration for my gardens this year, Van Gogh Sunflowers, a Monet style wildflower garden, and a cosmos garden. Did you ever look at a painting and try to figure out what flowers they are painting. I just found out recently what flower Andy Warhol did in his Flowers print if you want to find out click the link! Some are obvious other not so obvious. I am really into hobby farming, agriculture, horses, chickens, ducks, and goats. One lesson I love for 4-H programs is the Vincent Van Gogh flower beds.

Some artists I love to introduce in spring are:

Monet paintings especially showing the Unknown Monet slide show.

Von Gogh paintings not just the sunflowers, he did many flower vases and landscapes.

Georgia O'Keeffe and her close up flowers are a favorite for the younger students.

Andy Warhol is a favorite for my middle school students they love the video Getting to Know the Artists Andy Warhol and doing a Flowers block print.




Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday art idea of the week!

What do you do when 1/3 the class is done but did not rush and the piece looks good, the rest of the class is still working and you still have 15 minutes of class left?

Once in awhile I have this happen. Usually with projects that carry over two classes some students are good at art and are done. I use to say we have X minutes left see what else you can do. The next thing I see is a ruined piece that looked really good a few minutes ago. Sometimes when a student is done, they are done, and if the project sit in front of them for too long they overwork it. So now after they get approval from me to put it away they can use the DONE section I got a shelf of books how to draw books, age appropriate art books and magazines. I have a few file folder games, card games, and artist fact sheets. Sometimes I put modeling clay, legos, and manipulatives on the shelves as well to keep it interesting. I sometimes will put a themed quick craft activity as well.

The quick monthly activity I am about to put on the shelf for spring is tissue paper flowers. I have chenille stems, colored tissue paper, and a direction sheet on how to make the flowers with examples in a vase.

Step 1 Use four to six pieces of colored tissue paper in a 5- by 3- inch rectangle for each flower and chenille stems.

Step 2 Fold the stack of paper on the long side in an accordion fold. Each fold should be approximately an inch wide

Step 3 Place a chenille stem in the middle of the folded tissue paper and tightly wrap about two inches of the stem around the paper.

Step 4 Pull each layer of tissue paper out around the chenille stem, separating each layer until you have a flower.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How Can You Wake Up Your Monday Classes?

My first class Monday morning is Kindergarten, sometimes they are tired, other times hyper, or sometimes just cranky. It is the only class I never know how they are going to be until they get there. I always have one lesson plan and then a back up just in case. I once had a pinch pot clay lesson planned and most of the boys had a little league game that Sunday they were all tired and bickering with each other. So I swapped the real clay for my practice clay, non-drying clay, and had them sculpt their favorite thing that happened this weekend. It took 5 minutes and all of a sudden they were all ready and in the mood to work. So I had the class ball up the practice clay sculpture and practice how to make pinch pots out of the practice clay. After that I handed out the real clay and away we went with a great project. I know if I had handed out the real clay and just began the lesson it would not have been a successful. So my Monday motto be FLEXIBLE and ADAPT your lessons to fit the mood of your class. Play music, get some modeling clay, have legos, pattern blocks, and other manipulative handy ready to pass out introduce a lesson idea and collect that can open up a lesson in five minutes. If the class just doesn't seem in the art mood when they come in, just a little 5 minute pre-lesson is all it takes to save a lot of headache and wasted materials.

A few of my good old standbys are:

Songs: I have a good collection of the Putumayo World Music series which has African, Reggae, Celtic, Paris, Latino, Arabia and more which can go with almost any lesson, the kids love it and it just puts you in a good mood. If you just want to get one I recommend the One World Many Cultures, World Hits or World Lounge they all have a nice mix

Nasco sketchbooks they come for 1st - 5th grades These little books are great lesson starters

Non-drying modeling clay

Dollar Store generic legos and building manipulative

Math manipulatives I use to borrow the tessellation and pattern blocks off the classroom teachers but now I have my own set and these are great for color, shape, mosaic, and other geometric lessons.

  • Color lessons
  • Geometric shape and mosaic lessons
  • Love having the kids create a pattern and then draw different math manipulative on example: Giant links clips
  • Over head math manipulative are great for showing color mixing
  • Pattern block pictures I love using these and then having students create drawing using just shapes a favorite for the little kids K-2, they can create some of the weirdest animals and creatures using just shapes.
  • I have had students come to the board and see who can create a cat, dog, frog, tree using magnetic pattern blocks.

These are a few I also use many dollar store finds!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday favorite art material Pick

Scratch Art paper one of my favorite art materials to give any age kid. just check out this site for all the different types from their line. I also like to get scratch art die cut papers from Then you can make your own also, I'll talk more about that later.

I did two projects this week with my 1st and 2nd grade.

  • The 1st grade learned about Paul Klee and looked at two paintings Cat and Bird and The Goldfish. They first practiced drawing a fish on paper using only lines no coloring in. Then continued the activity using a fish bowl shaped scratch art paper. By recreating the drawing by scratching off the ink layer. One thing you may consider if the class has never used scratch paper you may want to get some scratch art note cards and practice. I do this with my Kindergarten.
  • The 2nd grade learned about Molas. The final project they will have a scratch art turtle mounted onto a designed background in mola style. The first step is I give them a plain paper turtle that I have traced around the scratch art turtle and cut out. They complete the design they want in pencil and hand it to me to approve, and then they begin the turtle scratch art design. The second step is using Crayola Construction Paper Crayons draw a mola style design back ground on black paper for the turtle to be mounted on.

The other type of scratch art I do with my older middle school students is creating their own. In my classes they have done different lessons using a variety of scratch art papers. One project I do with 8th grade is a self portrait designed scratch art.

  1. Have the students create an oil pastel or crayon drawn colorful portrait. I have gone over Goya, Piccasso, and other colorful portraits. I do not want ordinary colored skin. I stress that every inch of the paper must be colored no white paper if they want white use white crayon/oil pastel because the ink will stick and not scratch off regular paper..
  2. Have the students paint two layers allowing each layer to dry of black ink. Let dry.
  3. Have student divide the paper into several sections by scratching off lines across the paper curved, straight or wavy doesn't matter.
  4. Scratch cross hatch lines, parallel wavy and straight lines one in each section.

What happens is the art piece looks like you are looking at a person though blinds. Just test it out it looks fantastic and the middle school students love it.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Thursday Art Project Idea

If you go to and go to the 2008 handouts and click embossing you can print out the handout and do the project I am doing this week, a Celtic embossing in honor of Saint Patrick Day.

1. Create Foil paper by using a glue stick and gluing the dull side of aluminum foil to the construction paper. A TIP: Make sure the glue is evenly spread!
2. Glue the paper side of the foil to desired material. I myself like insulation foam board, but you can use foam plates, cardboard etc. then be sure to fold corners neatly, have no bulges and completely glued.
3. Choose a clip art design this time of the year I do Celtic designs and tape to the flat top of the board. Then trace the design with a ball point pen.
4. When finished tracing go back over the design using a ball point pen directly on the foil.
Options: use regular ball point pen, and for more color gel pens
5. For the Celtic design I want burnished antiqued silver. So I paint over with black watercolor then burnish or rub off. You can also use any color of watercolor, shoe polish and water based marker.
6. Optional is the decoration I mount on matt board, use green silk ribbon and gold colored thumbtacks to decorate since it is Celtic.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lesson with my art classes this past week

Right now I am working on weaving and other cultural art projects in class. I decided to do weaving with several grades starting with 3rd. They are just are doing a basic flat paper weave, but then are going to turn it into a basket, they are very excited about it. The 5th grade is weaving a raffia basket I think I maybe should have done that with 6th grade instead, but we will see. I usually do God's eyes but I wanted to try something different. The 8th grade is going a wrapped yarn coil basket they are looking really good! The other classes are finishing great artist recreated masterpieces and they look really good. 2nd grade has practiced doing scratch art on small pieces of scratch art paper. I do not think they got the concept of positive negative space yet so I am going to need to go over that again before they start the final turtle mola style scratch art project.


I am really trying to get my classes to like the pieces they are working on. So many of my older students 6th -8th really do not appreciate the art pieces they create. They become disposable and I start to wonder why I have them create these projects if they are just going to throw them out and not really care what they look like. I know I didn't keep all of mine form middle school. But a few do stand out as ones I really enjoyed doing. So I am revamping my middle school lessons and trying to come up with projects that they will enjoy creating and if they don't keep them I hope the memory of the process will be present later in life.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hopscotech is a weird name!

Hopscotech a weird name isn’t it? My husband and I came up with it a few years ago. I refer to it as hop scotching through education. the “hopsco” part and it sounded neat and added “tech” part because education is going high tech anymore = hopscotech. In my classroom I have computers, a projector, an AV key to put whatever is on my computer over the TV, etc. I am still a fanatic about curriculum and I think sometimes all the “tech” is what we are teaching still strong? Probably.