Tag Archives: pencil

After School Art


Students and families have been asking me for a couple of years to bring back after school art. This year with permission of and encouragement from our new principal as well as our PTA and Foundation, I agreed. It has been really fun to allow the students to spend time in the art room and use my personal materials such as watercolor pencils, pencils in different hardnesses, textiles, beads, and even my treasured gelato oil pastels to create fun art pieces.

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Watercolor Pencils

The class is very loosely structured. I give them project ideas, teach them how to use the tools and elements of art and off they go. It is not necessarily a step by step drawing or painting type of class but we have done a bit of that. The students choose what they want to learn about and we create things they are interested in.

We made beaded bracelets and kumihimo weaving. bead-bracelets.jpg

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One boy wanted to know how to draw things more realistically so I taught him the basics of gridding as well as creating and using a viewfinder.gridding

We created marionette puppets similar to the one I made at the Basil Twist workshop I attended last fall. They also made stick puppets.

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We made CD spinners and talked about color and pattern and what would happen when the patterns and colors spun together.

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We made LED Origami balloons and talked about positive and negative connections as well as how folding and following directions in origami can be hard sometimes.

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We talked about shadow and highlight and they create a picture of oranges. We also talked about and created gesture drawings of people.


They made their own sketchbooks

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They created sculptures using chenille stems, cardboard, buttons, feathers, and washi tape.


Most recently, students looked at Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa. We talked about how it was made, what it represented, how the artist used color and how could we deconstruct it to reconstruct it using the art tools of our own choice.

the wave

The last 6 weeks have been a lot of fun having an open art forum and allowing students to play with art materials and be creative while learning. My favorite part is how my students are able to look at something, discuss it, figure out how it was made and then they create their own version.

Back to School Art Trading Cards


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At my school, the foundation makes our art program possible. When they asked if I would be at the back to school family night, I agreed. They wanted a quick art project that was not too messy.

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I chose art trading cards. I cut card stock into 2 1/2 X 3 1/2 rectangles and brought stamps, markers, crayons, and colored pencils. I borrowed a class set of stamp pads from one of our preschool teachers, covered the table with butcher paper and the kids went to work making mini masterpieces.

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Students stamped, colored and created. Some shared with me, some shared with friends and some chose to keep their art. It was a fun inexpensive art project that gave families a small glimpse into the creative fun we have in the art room.

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.


Explorer Portraits



The Social Studies books come with decks of cards. The teachers use them for all sorts of things. I like to use them for portraits. For fourth grade, we looked at the early CAlifornia Explorers. For fifth grade, they look at the explorers of the world. I have had the students use chalk pastel, colored pencil or marker for this lesson.

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They frame their portraits in interesting borders and use a name ribbon across the picture so that viewers know who the explorer is.


Student used the social studies cards for reference or they could find other images of their explorer.

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