Monthly Archives: September 2017

Self Portraits with Calvera Masks


I have a combo class of grade 4 and grade 5 students that is just always amazing. Their classroom teacher has taught a combo class for several years. She creates such a great community in her classroom that it makes it easy to teach art to her students. The students are well behaved, polite, flexible and go with the flow.

Most of these students have been in my art classes since preschool or kindergarten so without a lot of directions, they drew a self portrait in oil pastel. I do self portrait almost every year with every grade level. Because I upload all of their art to Artsonia, we can see their progression as an artist.

We looked at some slides about Dia de los Muertos and sugar skulls and they used those as their inspiration for their calavera mask. We have a lot of celebrations in our area and many students attend and paint their faces.

Once they were complete, we put brads in the top so the mask could be spun out of the way or removed completely.

I also did a felt calavera project this week with my 5th graders.  Hopefully that lesson will be in San Diego Family Magazine in November so the directions and my samples will be there.

The best part of this, one of the students brought in a ceramic sugar skull that she had at home. She shared stories of her family’s Dia de los Muertos traditions and I gave her a small Altoids tin so she could create a small nicho similar to the ones I did with fourth grade here. I love when they share things like that with me and want to do more with a project.

#DSESRocks Family Art Night



My College buddy Ali runs a Children’s Art Foundation in the Central Valley. A few months ago, she posted an art project she was doing in her area #805Rocks. I knew it would be really fun for our Family Art Night.


I started looking in my yard for rocks but realized that it would be a huge task to dig up and wash a hundred rocks. I do have a rocky yard but whew digging and washing and sorting rocks AND planning for art night was just a little too big of a job! I opted for buying a bag of white rocks for about $13 from Home Depot.


I already had acrylic paint, a few paints pens, and some sharpies from past projects so I just had to buy some inexpensive paint brushes.


It was a lot of fun. We ended up having such a huge turn out that we ran out of rocks. A couple of teachers, the principal and I all looked around the school yard but there were few to be had. I suppose it might be a good idea in the future if I ask our PTA to do an interest survey to make sure we have enough supplies.


I look forward to seeing the posts with the hashtag on social media. I also hope the families paint and plant their own rocks in  our community.

Sock Puppets



Over the summer, one of my Boy Scouts built a really cool puppet theater (and a bookcase) for a kindergarten teacher at my school for his Eagle Project.


After talking to the classroom teacher, we decided to do a puppet making workshop. I brought out all my scraps of fabric and felt, buttons, bows, etc. and so did the classroom teacher. She asked students to bring in clean socks. They did not need to be new.


The 5th graders arrived first and I gave them the basic details of what we were doing. I showed them how the sock fit on their hands and told them to think about characters. I also asked them to help their kinder buddy be creative and reminded them that it was a project for the kinders.


It was great. We had a few parents on glue gun duty for kids that wanted immediate adhesion and had fabric tac and tacky glue  bottles on the tables.