Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bird House Collage

1st grade students were instructed how to draw a birdhouse using crayon before painting their drawings with tempra cakes. Students traced and cut out a bird shape, beak and eyes which they glued together and onto the birdhouse.

Tree Houses

2nd grade students created tree house collages. They began by painting a green strip at the bottom of their paper and a green cloud shape at the top of their paper. Next they used brown paint to connect the two areas with a "Y" shaped tree trunk. Students folded a brown piece of paper in half with the fold at the top and cut off the upper corners to make their tree house. The glued it onto the tree and used markers to add details to the inside and outside of the tree house as well as to the rest of the picture.

Watering the Garden

Another fun spring lesson from last year, Kindergarteners created gardens after reading Lois Ehlert's "Planting a Rainbow". THey traced, decorated and cut out a watering can. on a 12x18 sheet of paper students drew a garden with various flowers and other details. They glued their watering can onto an upper corner and added blue yarn or tissue paper from the spout.

Laurel Birch Cats

This is another lesson borrowed from I used her step by step how to draw a Laurel Birch cat. 3rd graders drew their cats and outlined in sharpie adding different line designs and patterns. They used construction paper crayons on colored construction paper to color. When finished with their drawing, students created a patterned border using strips of construction paper around their paper's edge.

See Laurel Burch's art work here.

Value Drawings

5th grade students were given a selection of black and white animal photos to choose from. they folded the image in half and taped it onto a piece of drawing paper. Students then had to duplicate the image paying close attention to different values. Before starting this project we spent a class discussing value and practicing on a worksheet.

Jump Frog Jump!

This was a fun end of the year project I did with 1st graders last year. We read the story "Jump Frog Jump" to begin. Students were given two different shades of green paper. On one they traced a large oval and cut out a triangle shape to create a lily pad. On the other they were to trace a frog pattern. Students used oil pastels to add details to their frogs as well as watery details to a blue piece of construction paper such as waves, fish, plants, etc. They then glued the lily pad in the center and taped their frog onto the lily pad so that it popped up. Red strips were curled around a pencil and taped underneath the frog's face. Model magic was used to make a small fly which they colored with marker to glue onto the tongue.

Modigliani Style Self-portraits

After learning how to do a self-portrait using proper proportions, 3rd grade students are introduced to the work of Amedeo Modigliani. I originally saw this project on where I borrow many of my ideas from. Students began by folding their paper in half vertically to get a fold right down the center. They then folded their paper horizontally in half, also folding the top half down to the center fold and the lower half up to the center fold creating 8 rectangles. These folds were used as guidlines. We looked at the works of Modigliani and discussed the proportions he used and why. They drew a narrow oval along the center fold in the top half of the paper, the neck was drawn in the next section and the upper body in the last section. After adding facial features and hair, drawings were traced with black oil pastel (these are done on black construction paper). We reviewed how to use oil pastels and how to blend them to create new colors. Students had to blend colors to create skin tone and hair color. The oil pastels on the black paper made the colors very vibrant.

Op Art

5th graders learned about Op Art. We looked at different examples and discussed what we saw in paintings by artists such as Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely. Students used the width of a ruler to draw vertical lines across a paper. They then traced various sized circles, making sure that some overlapped each other and some were cropped off the paper. Students choose two colors (next time I do this lesson I will ask them to choose complimentary colors) to color with. They had to alternate coloring between the background space and the inner circle. I had them mark it off in pencil first so that I could check it before they started to color- it can get confusing.

Jar of Bugs

This is a great spring lesson. Kindergarteners begin by tracing a jar shape. They then draw details- lid, branch, leaves, flowers and fingerpaint various colored dots throughout their jar. When the paint is dry, students can use sharpie to add details to their bugs such as legs, faces, antennae, etc.

Native American Coil Pots

During Native AMerican Heritage month, 4th graders learned about coil pot techniques. We looked at examples and used model magic to create a base and roll coils to spiral on top. We discussed different ways to shape their pots and smooth the textured walls by gently pinching them. Once dry we used sharpie to add Native American designs.

Positive and Negative Space Designs

5th graders learned about positive and negative space through these black and white collages. They began with a 5x5 square which they drew symmetrical designs on. They cut them out and glued the pieces next to where they had been removed from.


1st graders learn about bats in the fall in my school so we made bat collages. We started by tracing out hands two times and drew a small circle with two triangles for a head with ears and a larger oval for the body. Students drew a face using a white crayon- two dots for eyes an a line with two upside dwon triangles for teeth. They then traced a big circle on yellow paper and cut it out and glued it onto a sheet of blue construction paper. They glued their bat overlapping the circle and used white crayon to draw stars. The final steop was gluing on some cotton to add clouds to our night time sky.

Fall Landscapes

3rd graders made fall landscape wax resist paintings. We reviewed vocabulary and students had to include a horizon line, foreground, middleground and background in their paintings. They used crayon to add textures and painted the rest of their drawings with watercolors. They had to show atmospheric perspective by drawing objects in the distance smaller than objects in the foreground.

Fall Tree Sculptures

I picked up this lesson from my cooperating teacher during student teaching. 1st graders made fall trees out of brown paper bags. We opened the bags and stuffed a small ball of newspaper inside to help them keep their form. We then twisted the center of the bag and tore the top half into strips. Each strip was twisted up. Students then crumpled and glued fall colored tissue paper on to the branches. They love the final project but some have a little trouble with the twisting.

Secondary Pumpkins

This lesson was found at, a great website of art lessons for all different ages. Kindergarteners learned about primary and secondary colors. We began by reading "Mouse Paint" and discussed the difference between primary and secondary colors. They practiced mixing secondary colors by adding a little of one primary color into a small cup of another primary color. They mixed orange and painted a 9x12 paper with it. Then they mixed purple and green and painted half a sheet of paper with each color. When dry, they drew circles on the orange paper which they cut out and glued onto the other paper with the green on bottom and purple on top. Students were instructed to overlap their pumpkins and were given thin strips of green paper to cut and glue on as stems.

Andy Warhol Style Self-portraits

4th graders learned about Andy Warhol and Pop Art. We looked at his celebrity portraits and discussed his use of multiples and variety of colors. Students began by drawing self-portraits after a review of facial proportions and how to draw features. Then they traced their drawing on two transparency sheets using black sharpie. Students were instructed to paint two pieces of white paper using warm and cool colors in any way they pleased. We then taped the plastic sheets on top of the background and glued them onto a piece of construction paper.

Paul Klee Inspired Self-portrait

Next we moved onto self portraits. 1st graders looked at the work of Paul Klee and created a drawing based on lessons I found on several different websites. I gave them an oval template to trace for the shape of their head. We discussed the proper proportions to use when drawing a portrait and how to draw facial features. Students drew themselves and outlined in sharpie. The next class we began adding tissue paper by wetting our drawing, placing a square of tissue paper down and adding water on top of that. They filled up their drawing with rows of colored tissue paper making sure to use plenty of water. When dry, the tissue paper easily peeled off leaving a stain from the color behind. This was a very easy fun process that the kids enjoyed.

Sign Language Names

5th graders created sign language name designs. We began by discussing what a font was and viewing different fonts. They used oil pastels to write their name in different fonts and sizes all over a 18x18 piece of colored paper. They then traced their hands for however many letters were in their name and cut them out. Using a copy of a sign language alphabet students shaped their cut out hands into the signed letters of their name and glued them onto the background paper. They used sharpie to add details such as finger nails and knuckles.

Name Grid

Second graders created a name grid by folding their papers into 16 squares. One letter of their name was written sequentially in each square until they were all filled in. We reviewed how to write bubble or block letters and colored them in. Black and white line designs and patterns were drawn in the background of each letter.

Name Tangles

To start of the year I did a variety of name design projects to help me refresh my memory of my 500 student's names. Third grade created name tangles, the idea for which was found here.

Students wrote their names so that the letters touched the edges of the paper. The first letter begins in the lower left hand corner touching the left side and bottom of the paper. The next letter touches the first letter and the top of the paper. The next letter touches the previous letter and the bottom of the paper and so on. I then had students paint their letters with thick black lines. The next week they filled in the negatice space with different patterns and line designs.