Monthly Archives: May 2014

Art Dog


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My students love it when we find a great art related book. The book Art Dog by Thacher Hurd is really fun.

Here is a synopsis from Amazon: “Someone has stolen the Mona Woofa from the Dogopolis Museum of Art and the police don’t even realize that they are barking up the wrong tree when they collar their number one suspect. So it’s up to Art Dog, the mysterious, masked painter who roams the streets of Dogopolis, to find the missing masterpiece. Zip! Splash! Smoosh! He paints himself a Brushmobile, and he’s off––on a wild and funny chase to capture the dastardly crooks.”

For this lesson, I did a directed drawing  of the dog with the students.


Some students wanted to draw Art Dog in his paintbrush car, some in profile and some from a front view. I just asked the students to vote and did a majority. I always let students who have a plan go ahead and those who want the help can follow me. If they wanted to do a version that I had not demoed, I went to the student’s desk and showed them how to draw the dog. We used oil pastel for this lesson.


After the dog was drawn, students could color as they chose to. My only “rule” was that the background had to be colorful and there could be little or no white paper showing when they finished.



Pipe Cleaner (Chenille Stem) People


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Earlier this year, I had been gifted 2 large boxes of paper straws.   I had a box of chenille stems (pipe cleaners)  and a giant box of bottle caps.from another project.

This lesson was created after I saw these hanging up in a neighboring classroom:

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Students used 3 pipe cleaners (chenille stems), two straws, three beads and a bottle cap.

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First, they cut each straw into four pieces. They threaded two straws onto one pipe cleaner (chenille stem) and did the same for a second pipe cleaner (chenille stem).

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So the straws would  not come off, they looped the  pipe cleaner (chenille stem) at one end to make feet.

While holding the two  pipe cleaners (chenille stems) together, they threaded 3 beads to make the middle of the person.

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To make the head, students drew a face onto the bottle cap with marker then twisted the two  pipe cleaners (chenille stems) together at the top. The face can be glued in with hot glue to keep it from falling out-we did not do that and several students had the face fall out while they finished the person  (mild frustration).

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To make it easier to attach the arms, I had the students bend the  pipe cleaner (chenille stem) in half. They then twisted the  pipe cleaner (chenille stem) around the body just below the face and above the beads.

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They added straws to each arm and made loops just as they had done for the legs. They could do what they chose to with the hair. Some just looped it around, others added beads or made it look like a pony 531666558

When complete, the students made surfboards out of scraps of cardboard (from cereal boxes). We stapled the people to the boards so they would stay attached to the surf boards. I then put them in the glass display case for everyone to enjoy.

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Heather Galler Landscapes


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Have you seen Heather Galler’s work? It is beautiful! I came across it when I was searching for images of Art Dog to show the students at school. Of course, it took me on a search and I discovered her website and her etsy shop.

I showed my students images of her folk art landscapes and they created their images in a media of their choice. I put out markers, crayon, oil pastel  and colored pencils.


I even got out the texture rubbing plates for the students who wanted to try them.

First Grade Radial Design


After creating a mandala at Art Walk, I knew it would be fun to do it with my students. I tried it with first grade. While it was a windy, hot, crazy weather day with chatty students we got these finished and they looked good.

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I searched locally for templates I could use with my students but found nothing. When I found mandala templates or cake patterns online, they started at $12. Instead, the kids used pattern blocks dipped in white paint. I thought I had some donated doilies but could not find them this a.m. so we used blocks instead.

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We talked about radial symmetry, pattern and warm and cool colors. Student added 10-12 dots of paint onto their paper.  I did help a few of them by squeezing out paint to speed along that process.

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Then they folded their paper diagonally, opened it, folded it to the opposite diagonal corner, opened it, then horizontal fold and open and the opposite way fold and open. Perfection is not necessary. It can be messy, imperfect and a little squished as long as the paper doesn’t tear. It all adds to the uniqueness of the final image.

There were lots of oohs and aahs as they discovered how the colors mixed and blended. They were allowed 3 paintings. 1 cool, 1 warm and 1 free choice.

Once complete, they could print additional patterns with the pattern blocks and white paint or little plastic cups that I had in my cabinets.

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