Monthly Archives: March 2014

NAEA Spark Convention 2014



This was a favorite poster at the NAEA Convention. It was from the Art of Education booth.

I have only been to one local art teacher’s convention so NAEA Spark 2014  was a first for me. At this convention, there were so many sessions to choose from that it was overwhelming. I went to several that had lots of good information. I enjoyed meeting other teachers and trying out the new products from the different vendors.

I met a wonderful teacher who did a session on Augmented Reality. She uses an app called Aurasma which I can’t wait to try. She brought samples of student work and was so nice. She even offered to meet with me but I was not able to stay for Monday’s events.

I learned that California  Arts Educators have an event coming up in the fall in Irvine.


Faber Castell had a make and take mask with a photo booth. I used a product called a Gelato. It is an amazing pigment stick. They are so smooth and the colors are really bright.


Copic had  samples there and told us that their markers are refillable! I have a small set that I use for my personal art but they would not be a budget friendly item for elementary art.


Dick Blick had a gigantic display with a feather project and a glow in the dark paint project. Both were nice projects.


The pens were really fun.


They also had lots of art lesson samples.


Michael’s had a super fun community canvas painting project using their acrylic paint pens.  The completed paintings were pretty.


Hiep Nguyen and his circle painting session was good. I have admired his work for several years. His course would be a good one to add to an art teacher’s toolkit:  “Art for All, All for Art”

The last session I attended was about turning STEM into STEAM. It was great and had lots of good information on how to bring technology into the art classroom.

Mouse Paint


mouse paint

This lesson has been around in varying forms for years. I start this lesson by reading the Mouse Paint Book by Ellen Stoll Walsh then direct the students in a guided drawing lesson of a mouse. I am not a big fan of everyone’s art looking exactly the same but I do like students to learn how to draw things. On occasion, I do directed drawing lessons to reinforce how to look for shapes and lines in an object and how to determine where to draw those shapes and lines to create the image they want to create.

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Once their mice are drawn, we talk about primary colors and secondary colors. We talk about how mixing  primary colors makes secondary colors. I talk to them about how they will mix the paint on their paper using two fingers. I walk around the room and squirt a small amount of two primary colors onto the paper. Using two fingers, students mix the primary colors to make secondary colors.


They wipe their fingers on a piece of damp towel. We repeat the process until we have mixed green, orange and purple. I love that all their mice look so different and that some students choose to dance across the paper while others just like to mix the paint together.


Brain Aerobics: Fun with Lines and Shapes



Just a fun name for a line lesson and a great reminder that art exercises the brain in different ways than other academic areas.


Students used marker on small squares of paper. I usually give them 6 squares. Each square is limited to one or two colors so that they focus on creating lines. The last square is a free choice.


I ask them to decide what type of line or shape will fill up the square-curved, wiggly, swirls, zig-zag, angled, straight, dots, circles, etc. They can use pattern or not.


Once complete, they mounted them onto construction paper. All about the process on this one.


Poppin’ Chalk Positive and Negative Space



I wish I could find the original lesson plan but I cannot I have been doing this one for a few years. It is quick, easy, looks pretty good and can be done with just about any die cut image and a box of chalk or chalk pastel.

I like to do this on black paper because the images pop off the page.

Students trace a heavy chalk line around the die cut template. They they could create their own. In this case, it was flowers and butterflies. I have done everything from heart to shamrocks to leaves. Leaving the template in place, they rub the chalk away from the template. They lift off the template and repeat. I encourage them to overlap shapes, go off the page and try different colors.

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Secret Animal Life



This lesson was adapted from a Blick lesson:

Done with TK students, they used images of animals from our magazine stash: Zoo News, National Geographic Kids and various animal calendars.

Students cut out and glued their animals onto paper. They created background and additional images using colored pencil or crayon. They could add to the images-crowns, hats, etc. if they chose to.

Once complete, the students told me “a secret about their animal-something I wouldn’t know just by looking at their picture”. Here are a few of the results from my amazingly creative TK students with their captions.

My chameleon is a resting chameleon. His secret is he likes the beach and flying kites.

My chameleon is a resting chameleon. His secret is he likes the beach and flying kites.


This panda is flying and driving his car.

This panda is flying and driving his car.

 My lion is at a birthday party.

My lion is at a birthday party.

My robin is a ballerina.

My robin is a ballerina.





Exhibitor Goodies at NAEA 2014


I spent the first few hours of the convention looking at the giant book of stuff to do then sat in a meeting that was not applicable to my area of art. I ended up leaving that meeting and walked over to the exhibitor booths which were fantastic. I spent nearly 2 hours there learning about all the amazing art making tools out there.

Jack Richeson & Co. had loads of goodies! They did a demo of their Clear Carve plates which are genius. They had Play Color Sticks to use and tempera paint and acrylic paint from Tri-Art. I loved their clear plexi print plates and the paint they demo-ed mixes really nicely whether you use the acrylic or the tempera.

Smart-Fab had samples of their fabric-you could choose a roll or a pack-I chose a pack since it had a variety of color and I wasn’t sure what I would use it for.

Prang had a nice little give away packet with a dozen or so items-markers, pencils and color sticks. I did complain about them using nearly impossible to remove stickers on the oval 8’s watercolor pans for their UPC code. It makes it very challenging to send in the Prang Power Points.  she said they had complained to the manufacturer but had no real solutions-said they take them mangled and would even accept the lid which if you re-fill as I do is not a solution.

Chroma had samples of mural paint. When asked what makes them “mural paint” the response was that they are colorfast and designed for outdoors use. I imagine it it like latex acrylic house paint but with mix-ability and awesome colors.

General Pencil Company gave away little soft vinyl erasers. They have a nice selection of artist’s pencils and the bonus is (in my opinion) is that they are made in the USA!  Something I learned is that they make a brush cleaner that I have been using for years.


The Folding Art Horse was genius-if only I taught high school.

I was excited to see Tombow there. I used their products in college especially the dual brush pen.

School Specialty had a cute little make and take cardboard house pin that you decorated with washi tape. A lady from the company came up behind me and told the guy next to me “she’s doing it wrong, I’ll show you the “right way” later.” I had drawn the lines to indicate where I was supposed to score the house to fold it up. There was no problem drawing the lines, they ended up being inside the box and then the box was covered in tape Oh how I detest people who tell art makers that they are  “doing it wrong”.

Psychedelic Sunflowers


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Adapted from an Arts and Activities lesson. Here is their website:

Here is where they have the “It Works!” page where I described my process for shortening the two day lesson into a one period version.

Student drew images of giant flowers lightly in pencil. We used 9×12 paper so that we could finish in about an hour. They used permanent marker to dot the lines. They used watercolor to fill in the flowers with warm colors and the background with cool colors.


Art Trading Cards or ATC’s


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Art Trading Cards are a fun project. The idea started in Switzerland in 1996. The only rule is that they must be 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches and must be traded and not sold.

Some artists sell art cards but they are called ACEO’s: Art cards, editions and originals.

Anything goes with these mini masterpieces. I usually set up stations-collage, stamps, markers, stickers, bits of ribbon, fabric, colored pencils, paint, bingo daubers, crayons, etc. and let the kids create. Some students will create a slew of them and others will focus on a few.

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When I do stations,. students start at one station but eventually move around the room. I have also had a supply table and students take supplies back to their desk to work. When they finish using the marker, stamp, dauber, etc. they return the item to the supply table.

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For the substrate, I have used cereal boxes, playing cards, and card stock. Usually, the kids must make at least two and trade one. They are free to make and trade more than that. The trading time is usually on another date so they focus on the art. I also trade with the students but limit them to one teacher trade-learned that lesson one year when I had made 90 cards, left them on my desk to go help a student and they were gone before I got back to my desk.


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I give them 2-3 cards to start and if they do a good job, thoughtful work that is planned out and creative, they can do more. One fourth grade class I had created nearly 300 cards in just over an hour.  You can purchase blank cards from many of the art supply places or you can cut them out yourself-time consuming but if you have a lot of donated scrap card stock as I did, it is a great way to use it up.


Sailboat Silhouette


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I have been doing these for years-they were a variation on a lesson in the Art Attack program that my daughter’s school adopted many years ago. I usually do this with First Grade but you can do it with just about any age group and can change the silhouette subject.

Silhouettes and watercolor are fun and they look pretty.


Students first draw their sailboats with a permanent marker. A great way to reinforce shapes. (triangles, trapezoids, half circles).


Then they paint shadows under the boats.

Then they paint the sky in warm colors.

Then they paint the sea in cool colors.




For second grade, one year, the students did dinosaurs-warm ground, cool skies. Same lesson-different subject.

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Landscape with poppies


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Landscape painting is one of my quick “anyone can have success” kind of projects.

My Kinders only have a 30 minute art slot and I have no way to store 100+ paintings from week to week  so it is essential that we finish a project  and be successful. When they walk into the classroom, all supplies are on the desks ready to gopaint brushes, paper, water cup, sponge and black oil pastel for their name. I get the paint plates ready before they come in and have a table with all the paint on it that they pick up after we talk about our plan for art.

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I spend about 5 minutes talking about art history, a specific artist or having them look at a photograph or a piece of art and then we jump right in. In this case, we talked about impressionist artists then did a bit more step-by-step method to get the background in.

First, students looked at the work of landscape painters: Monet, Van Gogh, Bruce, Breck, Merse, Vonnoh -primarily Impressionist and all with red poppies in them.

Once they observed the work, we talked about what they noticed (color, size of the flowers, people in the picture, tress, etc.) we also talked about the horizon line and how to create texture.

First students painted the sky with a large flat brush.

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They cleaned the brush then used green and bounced the brush to create a textured,grassy field.

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I showed them how they could add clouds to the sky with the small round brush, if they wanted to.

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Then they added the red poppies or white or yellow if they chose to. They could add centers to the flowers or not-again their choice.

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They added additional details as time allowed and if they chose to-trees, roads, etc.

I even tried this same lesson with our 3 year old preschoolers. The 3 year olds did such a fantastic job that we did it again with the rest of preschool .Here is the preschool  work table and one of their completed landscapes.

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