Calavera

Kids love Halloween, and I’ve found that they also love to learn about Dia de Los Muertos, or Mexican Day of the Dead. I spend the first two weeks of October (or, two classes, since I only see kids once a week) playing traditional Mexican music, showing videos of Dia de Los Muertos festivities, and […]

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Roller Coasters

This is a great lesson for teaching cutting and folding skills, pattern-making, 3-D (relief), and line. This project is perfect for grades 1-3, but kindergarten is a stretch. Let students choose 3 paper strips, 1 1/2″ wide and 12-18″ long. Demonstrate how to make deep snips about 1″ apart along one side of the strip, […]

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Wise Owl

I’m generally not a fan of projects where kids all do the same thing, but I think there is a place for old-fashioned guided drawing assignments. The monkey-see-monkey-do nature of guided drawing makes drawing less intimidating for students, and it shows students how to break objects down into simple shapes in order to draw them. […]

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The Problem We All Live With

“The Problem We All Live With” by Norman Rockwell One of my favorite paintings is this one, by artist Norman Rockwell.  This painting is a portrait of Ruby Bridges, who was one of the first black students to be integrated into a white school in the early 1960’s.  Many people know about the “Little Rock […]

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Monograms

It doesn’t take long for kindergarteners to learn how to write their names, but until then, I like to do lots of first-initial artworks to make it easier to identify the artist, and also to let them practice writing letters of the alphabet. Having them draw their monogram with thick lines, then creating rainbow echo […]

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Art Is

Art is a concept that is difficult for kids to grasp. The subject of art covers a lot of territory, but it’s difficult to think past paintings and sculptures. I love to ask kids to brainstorm “what is art?” and see what they come up with in table-group discussions. I often don’t give a lot […]

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Crazy Hair Day

A fun way to teach line to grades K-3 is the Crazy Hair Day project. I start by reading the book “Crazy Hair Day” by Barney Salzburg, (or I let Salzburg read the story to my students via the magic of YouTube). Then, I instruct students to draw half a face (or, for k-1, show […]

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