Saturday, November 24, 2012

Caterpillar's Fruit

    I found this idea here. Very cute, and also has opportunities to bring in other concepts, which is a great thing about book based lessons.
         We read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Carle. We discussed topics such as healthy and unhealthy foods and what is a good food for a caterpillar. We made a list and drawings of the healthy fruits, and counted how many the caterpillar ate. After the project was complete, we ate some fruit just like the caterpillar!
9X12 colored paper
5X7 colored paper
Tempera paint
Tissue paper squares
1. Let the students choose the fruit they would like to make, and give them a 5X7 paper in the appr.color of the fruit.
2 You can provide templates for the fruits, or let them draw it themselves. Draw and cut out. Use glue and water to brush on tissue paper squares on the fruit.
3. Give students a choice of a contrasting color from their fruit. This will be the 9X12 paper.
4. Sponge or dab paint on paper in an analogous color to the paper.
5. Punch a hole into the fruit.
6. Glue the fruit onto the background paper and add stems and leaves.

Scribble Scrabble Chickens

I frequently hear myself saying to my students "and remember, no scribble scrabble." Most students don't intend to do it, but just forget to take the time to color solidly. However, there are times, when a scribble look is desired. These chickens (or could be any bird) are great for younger students.


9X12 paper (I used tan, for a more rustic look)
Rust/orange paint
Yellow paper
Brown or white paper for egg

    1, Demonstrate to students how to go back and forth in different directions with the brush on the paper, starting in the middle. (Take it away before they do too much)
    2. Let dry and add a small yellow triangle for a beak and yellow strips of paper for hay.

    3. Add a brown or white egg to complete the nest!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Art "Junk" Wreath

The eternal art teachers habit: saving stuff! As my students have used up markers, I have saved the lids, knowing that somehow, someday I would use them for something. I wanted to make a new sign for my room, so I decided to make a wreath.
1. Get a styrofoam wreath; whatever size you wish. You may want to cover it with fabric or paint it, just to cover up the white styrofoam. I used some blue ribbon I had already.
2. Glue on marker caps.
Glue caps to the top and inside circle around the wreath.
I made a "bow"  from caps, then glued on used colored pencils on the top. I attached a ribbon to the back for hanging and some small letters attached with colored wire. Get a wreath hanger and hang!

Craft Stick Puzzles


1. Use wide craft sticks. You may wish to paint them.

2.Choose a favorite art image and print it to appr. 5X7 size.
Also print a wallet size image for the front of the box.

3. Cover with clear contact paper to help them last longer. You can also varnish the sticks.

 4. Line up the sticks straight. Glue the image onto the sticks. Let dry

 5. Turn the glued sticks upside down, and using an exacto knife, cut in between each stick.

 6. Glue or tape the wallet size image onto a plastic box and place stick puzzle into box. These seem like  they would be very easy puzzles to do, but they are actually challenging, and elementary age students enjoy them. I use them as an early finisher activity.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Simple Self Portraits

I don't know about you, but self portraits actually aren't my favorite lesson to do with young students. I have found that trying to place too much emphasis on realism and proportion in the traditional way usually ends up with more students feeling frustrated than successful. After all, faces and people are the hardest thing to draw! We look at ourselves every day, yet our left brain gets in the way and makes us draw what we think we look like, instead of what is really there. (Drawing On the right Side of the Brain, by Edwards,does an excellent job explaining this)

     Anyway, I did find a good idea on Art Projects for Kids for a simplified way to do self portraits. It simply uses a circle for the head shape, and allows the students to draw simple lines for the nose and mouth.


Circle templates
White 9X12 paper
Chalk pastels in skin colors

1. Have students measure a one inch border around the paper, then a 1/4 inch inside that. (I have found that measuring is one of the most challenging tasks for students, but a good learning opportunity for them.)

2. Students will trace the circle template exactly in the middle of the frame.

3. Eyes- This project gives the big eye look, but if you prefer, you can do the eyes in regular proportion. You can provide a template or not. Instruct to draw a football shape, round iris, and round pupil. It is important to get the eyes evenly spaced and the same size.

4. Draw a small curved line for the nose.

5. Draw a "flying bird  shape" for the mouth. Girls can draw lips, and boys can draw just a curved line for the mouth. No teeth!

6. Draw diagonal lines down from the head for shoulders.

7. I find that chalk pastels work best for shading in faces. They can blend it in with their finger, so their are no scribble lines. If students have darker skin, have them build the color slowly, so it is more even.

8. Students can use colored pencil or a light peach/pink marker for the nose and mouth.

9. Hair- Oh hair! Challenging! I found the best luck with coloring in lightly with a light cream chalk pastel, and then brown, darker brown, in layers over the top. more yellow/white for blondes. They can make some of the hair go out of the frame slightly. Instruct to make the hairline long enough and not forget the sides of the head. For students with short hair, or pony tails, don't forget to draw ears!

10. Clothes, they can color those any way they wish.

11. Background and frame can also be colored in whatever colors they wish.

12. They can write their name at the bottom, and color in with marker.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Circus Elephants

I saw this project on funart4kids but with a few modifications. Love the marker/watercolor idea!


Colored paper
Colored string
Black washable marker
Small beads
White paper
Chalk pastel
Glittered or shiny paper

1. You can guide the students in drawing an elephant, or provide a template.
2 Draw the elepant, about 10 inches long.
3. Carefully cut out the elephant.
4. Outline the elephant with black marker, like Crayola. Don't forget to outline the ear. Add some tiny lines on the trunk for wrinkles.
5. Use a wet brush over the marker outlines to produce a watercolor effect.
6. Pre-cut strips of paper for the floor in various colors, about 3 in.wide
7. Let students choose a floor color and background color of paper. Glue floor piece onto background piece.
8.. Glue strips of paper onto background for stripes.
9.  Glue on elephant, except for front foot.
10. Cut out ball  and scalloped border piece. Provide template for the scalloped piece.
11. If desired, stick on pop dots, then glue on scalloped piece for a pop out effect.
12. If desired place a pop dot under the ball for pop out look. Glue on.
13. Cut a blanket from glittered or glossy paper. Decorate with beads or sequins.
14. Cut string into small pieces, glue on blanket for fringe.
15. Shade the floor at the top slightly with a chalk pastel, blend with fingers.
16. Glue colored dots on scalloped awning

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beautiful Horses

This lesson is based on the book by Van Camp and illustrated by Littlechild. I had the idea to combine some of the book's ideas with ideas of Chagall.


Paper, cut to 12X15
Oil pastels
Liquid watercolors
Permanent markers
Foam scrap booking dots.

1. Read book to students. Discuss the idea of fantasy and the way the horses are depicted.
2. This can be done with or without a border. We did a simple one inch border with one inch squares.
3.. Do guided drawing for background. Divide the paper into three sections going in diagonals. Use oil pastels to draw very simple lines and shapes, like moons, suns, flower, bird, etc. Emphasize a kind of dreamy quality, like Chagall.They can turn the paper upside down and sideways when drawing shapes. Also emphasize drawing simple outlines of shapes.
4. In one of the three sections, they can draw lines or patterns to fill it in.
5. Do watercolor washes over the pastel drawing.
6. Instruct on drawing a horse with basic shapes, on a separate piece of paper. The horse should be about 6 inches long. They can draw the mane and tail how they wish, and add color and simple lines and shapes with oil pastel or permanent markers.
7. They should cut out the horse carefully and place on the foam dots to make it stand out from the background.

Shiny Moons

A simple project to do with Kinder's or 1st gr.


Paper plates
Heavy duty foil
White paint.
Black or dark blue paper 9X12
Touch of glitter, (if desired)
Small cardboard box
Toothbrushes or spray bottles

1. If you are brave enough, let students draw and cut their own crescent shape from the paper plate, otherwise, pre-cut the crescent shapes.
2. Students will cover the moon shape with foil. Demonstrate keeping it along the curve. They can put some glue on the crescent shape beforehand, to help hold the foil in place. Remind them to cover the entire moon, and not leave open spaces. (This takes some patience)
3. Have students flick white paint onto black paper with the toothbrush, to create stars and milky way or they can use a spray bottle to spray it on. (Paint must be thinned) (Place the paper inside the box on its side)
4. Glue foil moon onto paper. You can add touches of silver glitter.

Ropin' Cowgirls and Boys

The drawing instructions for the cowboy come from "I Can Draw People" by Usborne.

1. Draw a light horizon line.
2. Instruct on drawing the cowboy(girl) figure step by step,(circle head, rectangle torso,curved arms and legs, boots, pants,vest rope, etc) Remind students to save room for the rope.
3. Students can then add details to the picture such as colors, patterns on the clothes, and hair.
4. color with markers  and/or oil pastel.
5. Use watercolor to paint in foreground and sky.
6. Add detail, such as a cactus.