Tag Archives: positive and negative space



47139065Since SBAC testing was in full swing and we got bumped from the art room and put into another classroom. Not our ideal location but they did move the art tables so that was good. I needed a “low mess” project for my second graders. Plus I had inadvertently cut up colored paper in 6×9 for another project that we ended up not needing. This was a great lesson that used up that paper and was low mess with glue stick, and scissors.


I show them examples of Japanese Notan then do a demo of cutting and flipping the paper so they see how it works.


I ask them to cut it all and place it and get my OK before gluing.


The kids that have great spatial relation concepts and who are good at puzzles seem to have the easiest time but even those who find the idea challenging had some great results.


This lesson is a great reminder for kids to keep trying and have that growth mind set.



Notan with a Valentine Twist


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Japanese Notan is the play between light and dark or positive and negative space.

I have done a version of this cut paper Notan for many years. For this lesson, 5th grade students started with half of a heart. They drew patterns then cut, flipped and glued the parts to create these images.

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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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