Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What a couple of months or so!

I have realized that I have not updated my blog in a while! It has been a wild and crazy couple of months. I am in grad school, and this is my first semester. Getting back in the swing of things has been fun and stressful. I have also been battling some sort of upper respiratory infection for a month now, and I think that I am getting over it finally. I will be adding some more lesson plans soon though. If there is anything that you need help on before then, please feel free to let me know.
Since I have mentioned grad school though, I might as well talk about it. I live in the Nashville area, where there are a lot of art teachers, but there are not any local colleges who are offering a masters in art education. So the art gang (a group of art teacher friends) did some investigating online and found out about a MAT program at the University of Idaho. This is an online program, and as far as we can tell, very affordable. We started this semester, and here are some pictures of artwork that I created for one of my classes.

I created these pictures by gluing seed beads one by one to a canvas, and then painting around them to finish the background. What do you think? Check out the rest of my artwork at

Friday, November 7, 2008

Very Hungry Caterpillars

This is a lesson that I like to do with my Kindergartners. I read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. After reading the book, the students are given pieces of tissue paper that are cut into ovals, and a piece of 12x18 paper. I have the student use a crayon to write their name and draw a slightly wavy line in the middle of their paper. Then they use liquid starch to collage their tissue paper ovals on the line, making sure that they overlap the ovals. After the papers dry, the students use crayons to add features to the caterpillar (including feet) and a grass line to the ground. These look great going up and down the halls!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tissue paper sun catchers

My second graders are getting ready to start this new project. It is a sun catcher that is created with tissue paper collage, and a black construction paper silhouette. We start by taking blue and purple tissue paper and ripping it up into small pieces. The tissue paper is glued onto a transparency sheet using liquid starch that I added Crayola Glitter It! to (it gives it a little sparkle that the kids love!) While the tissue paper dries, the students take a piece of black construction paper that is the same size as the transparency and draw a one inch border on it, then draw a tree without leaves that touches all four sides of the border, and then cut it out. Finally, the students glue the trees to their tissue paper. These are a great display on the windows in our school lobby. We also made them last year and displayed them at the local mall.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Where are the Wild Things???? They are in the art room!

The fourth graders in my school are finishing up a collage, based on the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I read them the story, and then the students picked out 2 pieces of 12x18 construction paper in the colors of their choice. One of the papers was cut down to 10x16, and the students glue the papers together so that there is a "frame" around the edge. Next, the students got to pick out a piece of animal print paper that is used to create the body. Next, the students used scrap paper to create the head, arms, legs,etc. of their wild thing, and then glued down wiggle eyes. Finally, the students glued down foam shapes in the border. This is a lesson that I found in the Sax catalogue, and have done it for years. The students are always excited to do this lesson.

Color Family Paintings

My second graders are reviewing their color families, which include primary, secondary, warm, cool, tints and shades (as well as neutral, which is not included in this painting, but we review it anyways.) After reviewing the color families, the students began the project by drawing large overlapping leaves that cover the paper. After drawing the leaves, the students outlined the leaves with sharpies and then drew a 6x6 inch grid across their 12x18 paper, which gave them 6 squares. In the first square, the students paint with primary colors, the second with secondary colors, third with cool, the fourth with warm, the fifth with tints, and the sixth with shades. The students love this lesson, and it is a great way to review the color families

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Kindergarten Calico Cats

This is one of my favorite lessons to do with my kindergartners. It is a tissue paper collage with a painted outline. I give each student a 9x12 and a 12x18 piece of paper. Using crayons, I show the students how to draw a body using a large oval, and then add legs and a tail onto it. Then I show them to draw a cat's hear by drawing a circle and adding triangle ears, football shaped eyes, triangle nose and whiskers. Next, the students use black tempera paint to over their crayon lines, and then we let them dry. The next time the students come to art, they are given liquid starch and tissue paper squares. They brush the liquid starch onto the cat, and place the tissue paper onto the starch. Then they brush more starch onto the tissue paper to seal it. I talk to the students about overlapping the tissue paper, and give them time to work. After the cats dry, we cut them out and glue the heads onto the bodies. For a little bit of sparkle, try adding Crayola Glitter It! mixing medium into the starch. The students love this because then their cats are glittery.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Getting buggy in the art room

My second graders finished their required curriculum early, so we decided that we wanted to paint. I decided to have them create a oil pastel resist. We started out by drawing with pencil a large bug of their choice (it could be imaginary) sitting on a flower. Then we outlined with black oil pastels. Next they added some other details with white oil pastel. Finally they painted with watercolors. Some of the classes used Prang watercolors, others used liquid watercolors (I like how bright the colors can be with the liquid watercolors, since they are concentrated)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Help for wishing4one

I have been asked for some inexpensive, fun projects for kindergartners by wishing4one. I hope you come back and see this blog. I have a lot of ideas.....for example...I like to read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle and then give the children tissue paper ovals that they can overlap to create their own caterpillar. Then there is a story quilt. I read them an appropriate story, and the class splits the story up into sections, one per student, which they draw on 6" square papers. Then the pieces are "stitched" together by punching holes in the corners and tying the squares together with yarn. You can also get cardboard and have the students take glue and draw a picture on the cardboard with the glue. After the glue is dry, you can brush paint over the glue and print the cardboard on other paper. I also like to take paper and fold it in half, then open the paper and drip a couple paint colors on the paper, fold the paper in half again, then open it and let it dry. After it is dry, the students can add legs and eyes and cut it out to create a cool looking bug.

These are just a few lessons that I do with my Kindergartners, but stay tuned for more, including the calico cats that will be posted this week. Wishing4one...I hope this helps you, if not, let me know and I will try some other things.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Kindergarten Collage Houses

Kindergartners are very challenging. This is their first exposure to art supplies, and how to use them correctly. One of the lessons that I like do do with them is shape landscapes. This is a great lesson that covers shapes, scissor safety, and how to use glue correctly.

I start by talking about the correct way to use scissors, then I start giving them pieces of construction paper, one piece at a time, and have them cut different shapes (red square, yellow circle, yellow rectangles, brown triangle, brown rectangles, random green shape, and long wavy green shape.) Then I give them a 9x12 piece of blue paper and show them how we can put the shapes together to create a landscape (at this point I teach them the vocabulary word landscape). I also teach the children to use one dot of glue (one dot, not a lot). This project looks great put together and the students love them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Any Questions, Needs?

I plan on putting lots of lesson ideas on this blog, but if you need an idea or lesson plan quick, please feel free to leave me a comment, asking for what you need, and I will answer right away. I am starting my 11th year of teaching, so even if I am not teaching that lesson right now, I am sure that I have taught it in the past and will teach it again soon. I always keep all of my teacher examples, so I can post those pictures as needed.

Fourth Grade Color Wheels

My fourth graders are in the process of learning about the color wheel. I taught them that the color wheel is like a map, and on that map are located primary, secondary and intermediate colors. (I know that there is more to learn, such as complementary, analogous, etc. but we will get to this later.) After taking some time for the student to get this concept, I tell the children that they will be making their own color wheel, but that it is not going to be boring. I give them a 12x12 piece of drawing paper, a pencil and a ruler. The first step is to split the paper into 12 equal parts.

I have them fold the paper corner to corner (to form a triangle) twice, so that it makes an X on their square. Then I have them use the ruler to trace their fold lines. Next, I have them measure out 4 and 8 inches on all four sides. Finally, they draw line from each 4 and 8 inch mark into the center of their paper. This gives them a grid like the above picture. Next, they choose a design, and draw that design in each section, making sure to draw large. After the designs are drawn, the students label each section with the colors on the color wheel. At this point, they must show me their papers, so I can quickly check to make sure that the color are in the right order. I have them label each section with a color, so that while they are painting, they are less likely to make a mistake.

After they have drawn and labeled everything, the students start painting with tempera paint. They start by painting the primary colors, followed by the secondary colors, and then the intermediate colors. I give them the primary and secondary colors, but they must mix the intermediates. After the designs are painted in, the students paint the background of their color wheels black, so that the colors really pop.

This is my example, but as the students finish theirs, I will share a few. This is the third year that I have done this lesson, but the students love it, and they use their color wheels for other lessons.

First Grade Cityscapes

I have just finished a great lesson with my first graders. They learned about cityscapes, by creating a crayon resist painting, using crayons and watercolors.

We started by folding the paper in half horizontally, and drew an outline of a cityscape on the top half of the paper. The students pressed hard with their crayons, so that they can transfer the drawing onto the bottom half of the paper by refolding the paper, and rubbing it with something hard (we used the handles of our scissors). The transferred image is light, so the student trace over it with their crayons, and then color in their buildings, again pressing hard. Once the buildings are colored in , the student paint one side of their paper with blue watercolors, and the other side black. This way, they have a night and day picture.

Painting with elementary students

I love to paint with my elementary students, but I know that there are a lot of art teachers out there who have problems with paint. Paint is very messy, and I think that the more organized that you are, and the more you teach that organization to the students, the better the student's artwork will be, and the cleanup will be much easier as well. I thought that I would share my painting organization with anyone who need help with this.

I start by spending a few minutes with each class, teaching them (or reminding if it is an older class) about the way we do and do not use the brush. I teach them the vocabulary of the brush parts (bristles, ferrule, handle) and remind them that we only paint with the end of the bristles and therefore, I should not see paint on the ferrule, or on the handle. I also talk to them about not "scrubbing" with their brush, so the brush should never look sloppy. (This is a great time to show the video "Young Sloppy Brush" that is found on After this, I pass out the paper and the paints.

For tempera paint, I like to use the "poster paint" containers. You can buy the empty containers from most art supply stores. They hold 6 colors. I use one for the primary and secondaries, and another for the other colors. I like this method of passing out paint because I feel like we waste less paint this way. There are lids that close, and if you need to clean out one color, you can just open that one well, and clean it out. Also, at the end of class, I do not have 20 different palettes to clean laying in the sink. We just put the lids on and go on our way. The containers last a long time, the ones in the pictures are a couple of years old.

I also use "cafeteria" style trays. I place the square brush basins (a must for the classroom in my opinion) in the middle of the tray, and then 2 of the paint containers, on opposite sides of the basin. Next, I place paper towels and brushes (a couple per student.) The great thing about this method of organization is that since the bowls are stable, I am able to stack up 4-5 of the trays on the counter. I can get them ready for the next day. It also makes it much easier to pass out supplies, I can pass everything out in one trip (well, other than their paper), and since the students are not out of their seats, there is less chance of spilling paint or water.

Because I take the time to talk about how to use the brush and paint correctly, and because there is the tray underneath the supplies, there is very little drips and splatters on the table, but if there is, the students have a paper towel in order to clean up the mess right away. I also do not let the students tap their brush on the brush basin to get rid of extra water from their brush. I make them wipe the brush on the side of the bowl.

I use the same set-up for watercolor painting as well.

With kindergartners, I do not let them use watercolors right away. I like to let them use tempera cakes first. I do this because it is the same concept for both types of paint in that they have cakes of color that they have to add water to. The tempera cakes are larger and harder than the watercolor, so the students can learn not to "dig" their brush into the paint, but to add more water. I find that if I have the kindergartners paint with the tempera cakes a couple of times, my watercolors last a lot longer when I finally let the students use them.

Cleanup is very easy, since everything is on the trays. The students place the brushes on the trays, and as I am picking up the trays from their tables, the students are putting their papers on the drying rack. I simply stack the trays up, and clean the supplies when I have a few moments.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Another Great Website!!!

Another website I have found is Art Attacks, a British tv show where the host Neil, shows children different art and craft projects that they can do with items around the house. There is one section, called art attacks, where it lists all of the projects that he does, and you can click on them for step by step instructions and pictures. Just so you know, because it is a British show, they use British sayings, such as; use a PVA glue, which is the same as Elmers glue, kitchen and loo rolls are paper towels and toilet paper. I have found some great 3-D projects on this website.

Great Website!!!!

I have found a great website for teachers. It is called Teacher Tubes, and it is a site of educational videos created by students and their teachers. Being an art teacher, I go to this site,, and search for art related keywords. I found some amazing stuff, but the funniest things have been posted by a teacher named Mrs. Fuglestad. Try searching for the keywords eraser and sloppy brush. The eraser video is about being nice to your erasers, not to draw on them, crack them or stab them with your pencil, or they will turn evil and erase everything in the art room. The sloppy brush video is about a young, handsome, promising brush who because if his neat camel hair bristles paints precise lines, but then tells the story of what happens to the brush when a careless artist gets a hold of him. I show the eraser video to my students when I see someone not taking care of their erasers, and the brush video when we are about to paint. The children love it and always ask to see them again.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Funny Story Time!!!!!

A student said the funniest thing in my classroom the other day. I had fourth graders in my room at the time, and we were discussing how an artist could draw a self-portrait without drawing a picture of themselves, but by drawing symbols that represent them. I was giving some examples of symbols (such as signs on bathroom doors, etc.) and when I was confident that they had an understanding of symbols, I drew five symbols on the board that represented me. I drew a cat, a book, a music note, a crayon, and a video game controller. I asked the children what they could figure out about me from these symbols. One student said that I liked cats, another said I liked to read, I liked to listen to music, and I like to draw. But the one that just about made me pee myself was when I pointed to the video game controller and asked what it said about me, and a boy without thinking or raising his hand, yelled out "You're my kind of woman!" Now, this is a child that never talks, this seriously was the first time I had heard anything other than "here" when I took attendance. The class started laughing, the look on the boy's face as he realized what he said, and I lost it. I had to stand outside my door for a minute to compose myself. I love moments like this!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Art Room Bulletin Boards

Here are just a couple of my bulletin boards. The one that says "Watch Out..." is actually outside my classroom, while the others are inside. The leopard print letters are made out of felt, while the rest of the letters are made out of cardstock, and the border is made of construction paper. There are also a couple of scrapbooking stickers (the monkeys). I always use fabric to cover my boards. It lasts a lot longer than paper, and keeps it's color longer too.

This one is my behavior board. Each of the seats in my room are labeled with a number that corresponds with a numbered pocket on the board. Inside the pocket are colored pieces of paper- green, blue, yellow, and red. Every child starts out with their color in green, no matter what kind of day they have had in their classroom. After receiving a verbal warning for any infraction to a rule, I will change their color to blue. This a visual reminder that they have not had a perfect day in my room. If there is another incident during the same class time, their card will be changed to yellow. The classroom teachers at my school all have a similar system, so if the students get on yellow in my room, they know that they have to change a card in their classroom as well. If I have to change their card to red, they must go over to my phone and call their parents at work, and explain why they are in trouble (of course I make sure that they are really telling why they are in trouble, and talk to the parents as well). Anything that happens after this is an office visit.

This is my No-No Board. These are things that I do not want to see in my students artwork. These are things like no stick people, clouds are not blue, no floating people, the sun does not smile, the sky goes all the way to the ground, no scribbling, and their name does not go across the top of their paper, plus a few others. I find it helpful to have this posted so that the students are reminded, and can remind the other students at their table.

My Art Room

Here are some pictures of my art room. Originally it was a off white color, but I like to decorate my classroom in a theme, and I choose to make it a jungle. The cupboards were this horrible pinky, mauvy color (I hate pink!), so with the help of some contact paper, they now look much better. There was also some construction that went on in my room over the summer, after I had painted the room, and the construction workers repainted one section white. I chose to add some leaves on the wall instead of repainting (again).

Welcome to the art room!

I am an art teacher at Lakeview Design Center in Nashville, TN. I wanted to start this blog in order to put some lesson plans, bulletin board ideas, room decoration ideas out there for other art teachers to find. Luckily for me, I teach in a district where there are a lot of us art teachers, and out of these, I have a close group of friends to bounce ideas off of, and share my successes. I also know that there are art teachers who are not as lucky. This is a way to help these teachers. I am in the process of posting some photos and lesson plans, but if you have any questions, or things you would like to see on this blog, please let me know.