Thursday, November 18, 2010

African Masks

Here are some African mask projects my students have created through the years. We usually read the book Who's In Rabbit's House and look at a variety of wooden masks from Africa. I was lucky enough to have been given these my first year of teaching! 5 beautiful wooden masks were brought to me from a parent who found them in a box out for garbage! My students love looking at them and drawing from them. Our museum also offers a lending program where teachers can borrow objects, such as masks, and return them after a few weeks. I have built my own curriculum box for African Art, complete with music, handouts, coloring pages, books, stamps, and the treasured masks. It's been a great teaching tool!
This mask was made by a fourth grader using sand, colored yarn, and beads.
This mask was made using yarn, noodles, and beads. Then we dabbed gold and bronze paint over our masks!

These masks were styrofoam prints embellished with gold paint and oil pastels.

Knights and Dragons!

Third graders recently looked at several versions of the painting St. George and the Dragon as well as read  the story The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie DePaola. We compared how the knight and dragon from the painting were so different from the characters in the silly story!

They completed these colorful works of art using watercolor paints! After their artwork was complete they each wrote a story about their scene, making a twist on the story of St. George and the Dragon!

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!

Kindergartners and first graders love the book I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! To make our projects, we used watercolor to paint designs all over our traced hands and arms. Then we painted our background with some kind of abstract design or color composition. Finally, we made our paintbrush with cut paper and chalk. The results were very nice!

Gustav Klimt Ideas

I am just fascinated with the art of Gustav Klimt. Here are a few of my favorite lessons-the Klimt cat and the Tree of Life-that were inspired by his paintings. I love to use the book Klimt and His Cat (although I had to get my markers out to add some more clothes to some of the characters!) These projects were taught to first and second graders.
For the tree, we began by painting with gold paint. We decorated our trees with squares of scrapbooking papers, sequins and jewels, and crumbled up tissue paper balls.

The cat is my favorite. We used gold paint to make the cat, cut it out, mounted it on black, and then used oil pastel and cut paper to make Klimt-inspired designs on our cat! Glitter would have been cool on this project, too. Maybe next time!


I love using books in my classroom and one of my favorite authors is Leo Lionni. This project was inspired by Swimmy, the story of a brave little fish. This was a fun and somewhat messy project to create, but the results were great! We used liquid watercolors to paint our papers and paper doilies. The next day we cut them up to make our beautiful collages. The results were so impressive and the kids really had fun making the coral out of paper doilies!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Elephants from India

This is one of my favorite lessons to teach! Indian elephants were used long ago to carry members of the royal family. They are still ridden in processions at important festivals and are decorated elaborately! First graders made their beautiful works of art with oil pastel and watercolor paints. A great book to use is Elephant Dance by Theresa Heine.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Watercolor Works!

We just completed two very successful lessons from the inspiring blog, Deep Space Sparkle (

Fourth graders were given a variety tropical fish images. They drew serveral fish and then began on layered backgrounds with seaweed, coral, rocks, etc. They painted with Crayola watercolor paints and outlined with black marker to finish.

 Fifth graders looked at pictures of chameleons and spent time drawing, painting, and outlining. The background for the chameleons were made with smeared chalk, a technique I re-discovered during an inspiring workshop with other art teachers!

I was impressed with how much the children could do with these projects and my students were equally excited about how many compliments their works earned!!