Tag Archives: shadow

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.

wc pencil

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

weaving bracelet.jpg

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.


Sailboat Silhouette



My students and parents LOVE this lesson. I do this one with First Grade. This year, I did the lesson with Grade 1 and the Grade 1 and Grade 2 Combo classes.


I think it always turns out great. The nice thing about this is if they make a mark they do not like, they can just color over it and it becomes a bigger boat or another sail. It also reinforces how to draw basic shapes.


This year, I had extra wide sharpies which made it easier for my students to color in large sails or large boats.



I think one key to success is to make sure the students go slowly around the outside and then they can move quickly when they are in the middle of the image.


Time for Tea



I have a small collection of tea pots and tea cups. Some were gifts, others were purchased for a tea party birthday years ago.


I brought some into the classroom with some fresh flowers so that my third graders could create still life paintings. We talked about composition, hierarchy, overlap, shadow, and highlight.


They used marker and watercolor to create these lovely images. I love how different they all are and how many of them added fruits and flowers from their own imagination.


Solar Systems, Planets, Galaxies


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I have done this lesson for many years in various formats. I have always done it with grade three as they study the solar system as one of their science units.

Some years, I have had the students create the planet spheres directly on the black paper. The focus is more on light, shadow, shape and form rather than recreating our plants.


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I always discuss highlight, shadow and light source and use a flashlight and a sphere so they can see how moving the light source changes the location of the shadow and highlight.

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This year, I had them create the spheres on white paper then cut and glue onto a black background. With one class, I tried splatter painting the background which worked fine but was a bit messy.


For other classes, we used white oil pastel to create stars and comets.