Category Archives: Art Lessons

Cardboard Tube Animals

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A few months ago Aree Chung’s Creativity School, had Youa Vang as a guest. He made a cardboard tube dog. I made my own dog and decorated it with just markers.

I thought about what other animals there could be and played around with the idea and made a few more cardboard tube animals. I think they look better painted than just with marker.

Egg Carton Characters

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Because we were virtual, I made kits for my middle school students that included two sections of egg carton and a cardboard substrate. There were other materials for our other projects as well.

The lesson was inspired by IG artist @allmad.e.here and teacher Nylah Kahn

Sculpture with Found Objects

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This project was based on Alexander Calder’s stabiles and mobiles.

Kindergarten students were given a piece of cardboard with a chenille stem attached. I gave them bins of supplies and they chose how to use the supplies to make their sculpture. Some made figures. Others just added materials together in an abstract fashion.

They could string things on as with the beads, twist items in or use glue dots to attach. So fun to see all the different combos.

Career Placemat Project

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In Fall of 2018, I was working at a very large suburban school. I was asked by their District Office if I thought my students could create 100 placemats with student art for their State of the District Luncheon.  Because of the large size of the school, this was only about 10% of our students so I knew I could do it.

I organized six after school workshops for all grade levels Kindergarten through Fifth grade. I even had a couple of preschool and TK students who came with an adult or older sibling.

The workshops were all done by me with occasional help from a parent. I had small groups of about 20 students. For the workshops, I had some idea lists for different careers that I thought they might want but I also told the students to come up with two to three career choices of their own so that we could have a lot of diversity. Because they knew these would not be returned, I allowed students to make two if they wanted to.

Each student sketched their work on a small paper then did a larger drawing in pencil then went over that in black marker. We then painted with watercolor paint. I was so impressed with all the different jobs they came up with from gardening to scientists to dancers to race car drivers and everything in between. It was really one of the most rewarding projects we did that year.

After they were dry, I labeled each artwork on the back with the student’s name, grade and their career title. It was a huge job and when they were delivered to the district office, the staff decided they were too pretty to use as placemats and instead put them up all around the meeting room. After the luncheon, they were returned to the school and went on display on the gallery wall in the lobby.

Name Spinners

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We were working on line, shape and symmetry and sometimes making art move (kinetic art) is just fun. For this one, we used donated cardstock. Students fold the short edge of the paper to meet the long edge then cut the paper to make a square. They folded again diagonally so that they had four quadrants. Of course, I did point out that dividing our paper into fourths was a math skill.

They drew their names in a stylized fashion and added color. When they finished, we put them on a pencil top with a push pin so they would spin. Here they are in motion

By making them square, it was easy to find center with the diagonal folds.

I think this note summed up what the students thought of this project.

Kimonos

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Based on the work of Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003)

The San Diego Museum of art and the Timken had a fabulous exhibition of kimonos created by artist Itchiku Kubota in 2008-2009. You can see the Kubota kimono collection at https://thekubotacollection.com

For this lesson, I first taught in 2015. I taught my students how to make a basic kimono shape and they added different elements such as flowers and patterns in black permanent marker and/or oil pastel. When they were finished, they could add watercolor on top.

I went to the educator’s open house at San Diego Museum of Art and loved the exhibition so much that I went back multiple times to see the kimonos. The museum had a collage lesson that had been created by artist Jane LaFazio. It was beautiful but far too complex with too many steps for our 45 minute lessons.

We displayed these next to koinobori fish that had been done by third grade and cherry blossoms that had been done by the K/1 students.

Putz House

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I used to do after school art classes. We charged a nominal fee to cover costs and students made some amazing art along. My favorite year was the year we did holiday gifts. I had come across Putz houses at a Vintage Boutique shop in our area. I just knew my students would love them. There are loads of patterns out there on the internet and I tried to find the easiest ones I could knowing I would be doing most of the heavy lifting. These were done by 2-5 grade students.

I brought in the pre-cut patterns, tissue, and battery operated candles. Students added color, details and a bit of glitter. We used cereal cardboard and only 90 minutes. More time would have been ideal.

One student took theirs home and embellished with loads of extras. I love that this student enjoyed the project so much that she made another one with her family and friends. I think they are simply stunning.

Winter or Ice Castles

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I love this project. It is a fun one to teach tint, shade, and tone during the winter months. Students drew castles in Sharpie marker on a separate paper from the background. For the background, they painted cool winter backgrounds using tints, shades and tones of cool colors. They then cut out and glued the castle onto the background. I typically do shorter lessons so this was done in about 45 minutes. With the paint still wet, we used white glue to adhere the castles to the background and it worked out great.

I generally show my students pictures of ice castles from around the world to inspire them. They are encouraged to create their own type of castle and use tints, shades, and tones to make the image more interesting.

Boat Collage

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This lesson came about because of an abundance of construction paper. Students tore the paper into long strips and used glue to collage them along the bottom of a larger paper. They added sailboats as they chose to and colored the sky with oil pastels.

I tied it in to artists who painted ships like Winslow Homer, Thomas Birch, and Claude-Joseph Vernet. We live near the ocean so many of the students had been on a sailboat but I also showed them pictures of sailboats for reference.

Ice Skaters

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This is always a favorite winter project.

My students fold their paper in half and draw a landscape image on the top half using water based markers. When finished, they paint the bottom half with a generous coating of water. They fold the top half over the bottom to create a mono print.

When the mono print is dry, we made small figure skaters or ice hockey players in action poses to cut out and glue (collage) on the bottom half of the picture which now looks like a reflected skating pond. I usually do these with second grade.