Surprise Fish

This lesson was a lot of fun to bring to second graders, but I think all grades would enjoy this project! The ability for students to interact and play with their art definitely engaged students as they finished coloring.

We started by folding our paper in half, then made a quarter fold which will eventually allow us to open up the fish’s mouth.  We drew the closed mouth fish with the paper folded first, then we filled in the lines for the mouth and body. I had students use skinny markers for the outline, and crayons to fill in the color.  Next time I think I’ll have students use the regular broad line markers to give the fish more definition.

This lesson can also be seen on Mini Matisse’s blog where she has a video demonstrating the steps.


Picasso on Book Pages

After looking through some of Picasso’s famous cubist portraits, these fifth graders created their own drawings on old book pages.  Since we were ending our Zero Waste Week at school, I though it would be a nice challenge for students to draw and paint on an untraditional surface.  The text adds a nice texture and harmony to these pieces.

Romero Britto

My middle school class used Romero Britto’s artwork as inspiration for these awesome pieces.  Students first drew an image or character, then used a ruler to “cut” through the background or entire image.  Students used tempura paint, and did a great job painting carefully!


These students have a class chameleon!!!! So why not draw chameleons 🙂 Students chose their colors to create cartoonish chameleons.  Once I showed students how to draw the chameleon, they were free to create a background with oil pastels.  Lastly, we painted over everything with black watercolors and sprinkled salt on top to add some texture and variation in the black background.

Sea Turtles

First graders enjoyed drawing and coloring these sea turtles! Using oil pastels we started with drawing a large oval for the shell.  Then we drew the head with what I like to call a “rainbow line”.  Get it? It looks like a rainbow! Okay, then we drew the fins starting with the top left fin so that we could draw a “C” or “L” type line before creating the shape.  Lastly we outlined the turtle with a black pastel and watercolored the background.

This class used chalk pastels rather than oil pastels.  It was fun for me to compare the process and product using different materials.  The chalk pastels were definitely a mess.  Many students had green hands by the end of the lesson, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Landscape Collage

This fourth grade class did an awesome job creating a landscape image with only torn paper! We first looked at pictures of landscapes with the ocean, fields, and mountains.  Then starting with the sky, students tore and Modge Podged little pieces of various blues onto their piece of cardboard.  Once the sky took shape, we layered on the mountains, then grass, followed by water to complete the landscape.

To emphasize perspective and space as an element of art, students used a lighter color behind the darker value.  As you can see the mountains have a layer of light brown, followed by a darker brown.


May Ideas – 2016

It’s been a bit of time since I’ve posted ideas, but here are a few if you are looking for a project for the last couple weeks of school!

One point perspective words…. Students begin by writing a word in block letters, then add lines to create a 3D effect.  The final drawing can be decorated or tied in with a poem or another project 🙂



If you keep a scrap box with construction paper bits, this might be a good time to dig in and use those up! Paper bag puppets are a great activity to tap into student creativity. Of course, puppets can also be used for puppet performances! Puppets can be humans, animals, imaginary creatures…. I’m always surprised by students’ choices and creations!

Before letting students go hog wild with the scraps, you may want to show them a few techniques, such as cutting long rectangles for hair or eye lashes, cutting several circles for the eyes, adding layers of different colors, etc.  I would suggest challenging students to not use writing utensils on their puppets, and only use paper scraps to show their details and features.



Scraps can also be used for collage styled landscapes! These landscapes are created with Modge Podge, which gives a nice shine on the final product.  I also used cardboard as the base for students to glue the torn paper onto.  The cardboard’s stiffness helps keep the artwork flat while drying.  To read more details on this project click here.


I love the designs students were able to create for their tessellations!  Each student began with a square piece of paper and by cutting out a shape and taping it to the opposite side, look at the variety of designs students were able to create.

Students used a crayon to outline the template they created, then used watercolors to fill in the design.  Students could also use salt or rubbing alcohol with their watercolors to add texture to their color.