Monday, September 10, 2012

Initial Artist (2010)

My High School Art 1 class studied movements from the 20th Century. Students chose an artist from one of those movements to recreate one of their famous paintings. They designed a letter of the artist's initial and built a box using cardboard and paper mache. Next students painted a layer of gesso and sketched the painting to wrap all the way around the letter. Finally students painted their letter using acrylic paint trying to replicate the colors and style of the original artist. Final projects were on display in the Spring Art Show. Students were so proud of their artwork and they did a fantastic job! The nice thing about these projects are that they're super light weight and you can hang them with fishing line from the ceiling.
 Edgar Degas

                                                               Vincent Van Gogh

                                                                    Henri Matisse

                                                                       Paul Cezanne

                                                                    Rene Magritte

                                                                    Norman Rockwell

                                                                    Roy Lichtenstein

                                                                      Roy Lichtenstein

                                                                  Wayne Theibaud

                                                               Wassily Kandinsky

                                                                      Edward Hopper

Hero Portraits

High School Art 2 students studied the artwork of Chuck Close. Students were directed to choose a person they consider to be a Hero: A person admired for their achievements and noble qualities. One that shows great courage. The central figure in an event, period or movement. After they chose their person I printed out an 8x10 black and white photo. Students drew a one inch grid on top of their photo. Students were given 16x20 inch drawing paper and then doubled the grid by drawing 2 inch squares. Students were capturing the values they saw in the photo and translated them onto their drawing. They drew a different set of line designs to fill each square focusing on value and contour lines.

Early Finisher Ideas

I hope I'm not the only Art teacher that struggles with what to do with students who finish projects early. I am very limited on space and budget so allowing them to make a second project isn't usually my first option. Instead I like to keep the kids thinking creatively with minimal direction from me. Here are some activities that help the kids think creatively, think visually, allows them to have fun, work together, and not feel like they're being punished by finishing early. Students are given strict rules for free time activities and if they make poor choices during free time they're given a textbook to read and write answers from...they usually make good choices :)

Cartoon It!

This is a fun game that can be played with 2 + players. Kids are given a cartoon card to memorize in 30 seconds. Then they all draw their cartoon without looking at the card. First person that finishes yells "Cartoon It" and everyone else has 30 seconds to finish their drawing. (I have the kids draw on whiteboards so I don't waste paper). Drawings are passed to the person on the left and then the kids score each drawing based upon the 6 facial features they drew correctly. It is very easy to learn to play and the kids love the competition.

Pictionary Man

I have two sets of Pictionary Man To Go. I have students split into teams and then follow the pictionary prompts to draw. I usually designate one student to be the card reader/ judge. Again, this is an easy game for the kids to regulate on their own...sometimes they just get a little loud when playing :)


This is easily one of my favorite games to play. It's like Where's Waldo for doodles. The kids love this game and just like to find the images without actually playing by the official rules. I love that there aren't a lot of pieces just the board and one dice.


This is a really old card game that I had to buy on This game really challenges you to think visually. You play with a partner or groups and you try to find sets of 3 based upon shape, color, pattern, or fill.


I have a variety of famous painting puzzles. I will set out one puzzle that has to do with the unit we're studying and early finishers can work on building the puzzle. This gets tricky to do if you don't have a permanent area in your classroom to leave the puzzle. And I only let trustworthy classes work on the puzzle so they won't lose my pieces. I have a felt puzzle mat that they work on to cut down on pieces falling on the floor since they stick to the felt.

Wooden Puzzles

I have a variety of wooden puzzles for the kids to solve. These are great for the more introverted students that like to work independently and it takes them quite a while to solve! Because they're so difficult to construct I advertise that a prize will be given to anybody that can solve it.

Metal Puzzles

The metal puzzles are also tricky to undo. The kids love separating these and again I offer a prize for those who figure it out...and then I make them swear to secrecy not to show their classmates how to solve it. lol.

Coloring Pages

I make a ton of photocopies from these pattern books that I bought at Michael's. The kids love coloring sheets and they're super easy to maintain. I have a binder with the printouts in clear sleeves. I write on the last copy with highlighter, "Last Copy, tell Mrs. George". The kids bring me the page and I make more photocopies. (The highlighter won't copy and it gets their attention so they don't color on my last copy...easier to feed through the copier than the book).

Drawing Exercises
Pinned Image

I have a whole bunch of drawing worksheets that I inherited from another Art teacher. I keep these in a binder in clear sleeves and students take them one at a time. (Sometimes I also use these as punishment if they misuse a free time item. Or I send these with kids who go on vacation and I am required by the school to give them a "packet" of assignments.)

How to Draw Books

I have collected a variety of How To Draw books. I committed to buying one book with each pay check last year. I keep these in one designated spot with drawing paper. Kids LOVE how to draw books.


I saw this idea on Pinterest and made my own whiteboards for my classroom. I used clear report sleeves, cut a thin piece of cardboard to slide inside then placed a piece of white computer paper on both side. I used duct tape to seal the top shut and you have double sided white boards that cost around $3.00 to make. I let kids draw on these for free time or to sketch rough draft ideas for projects.


I let the kids use playfoam on a limited basis. They are given strict instructions not to make anything inappropriate, they can not make baseballs and throw/bounce them. The first time they misuse the playfoam they are banned for the remainder of the grading period.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Things I Collect For The Classroom

I took a maternity leave teaching position last year and noticed that the art teacher was very resourceful with the items she collected for her classroom. It honestly never dawned on me before to recycle these simple items that save you quite a bit of budget money...than can be spent on other consumable items.

These are items I collect on a regular basis:

Return Envelopes: I get so much junk mail it's ridiculous. Almost every piece of junk mail contains a return envelope. I save all of these and keep an envelope drawer in my classroom for students to use when they have small pieces of paper (collaging) that they don't want to loose. I make sure to black out any envelopes that have my address printed on them since I don't want my students to know where I live.

Plastic Containers: I use these to hold water or other supplies. I have found that these lids are excellent palettes for acrylic paint. Once the paint dries you can just peel it off.

Gatorade Bottles: I drill a hole in the lid and then use these in my classroom to dispense paint. The lids don't clog on the inside and all you have to do is peel off the dried paint on the top. I also like that you can see how much paint is left in the bottle since it's clear. It's easy for kids to use and if you drill a small hole to begin with they can't pour too much paint.

Cardboard: I hoard cardboard like nobody's business! Especially at the beginning of the school year when supply orders come in. I don't always have an idea of what I'll use it for but inevitable I need it. This year I had the kids build the set for their Christmas program...out of cardboard. The fireplace, Christmas tree, snowmen, 12 Days of Christmas props, and presents were all cardboard.

I needed canvas bards for my clay unit so I bought about 4 yards of canvas fabric, cut up cardboard and then stretched the canvas on each board. Cost me $20 in fabric and I made 30 canvas boards.

My students made Dale Chihuly sculptures out of water bottles. I used cardboard for the inside base and hung the bottles around the cardboard tube.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Recycled Art (2010)

My advanced art class studied the artwork of Tara Donovan and how she uses found objects to create massive sculptures. Students were challenged to create their own sculptures from found objects inspired by Donovan's work. Students were required to supply their own materials and were challenged to discover new ways to manipulate their material beyond the obvious solution.

                                                                Sugar Cubes



                                                              Hot Glue and Tin Foil

                                                                        GI Joes

**As with any art project I post please email me if you have questions about materials used, processes, or if you would like lesson plans. You can also ask questions in the comment section below each post.**

Scratchboard Art (2010)

My advanced art class created scratchboard art of a subject of their choice. They had to show strong contrast of black and white with grey tones in the middle. Students found this technique challenging and for many this was their first time using a scratchboard. I gave them small pieces of scratchboard to practice before they created the final piece of art.

**As with any art project I post please email me if you have questions about materials used, processes, or if you would like lesson plans. You can also ask questions in the comment section below each post.**