Can I use
ideas from this website in my own Art classroom?
Yes! You have my permission to use the ideas on this website to create lessons in your own classroom.
Some of my ideas are based on lessons I found online or
from talking to other art teachers. Don't worry too much about the "exact" instructions
about the projects. Do what works for you based on the
materials you have available. :) I sometimes change my
lessons based on the needs of my students, the art
budget from year to year, and many other factors. Feel
free to email me if you have any questions during the
school year :)
I am a new
Art teacher... what should I do with my classes on the first
week of school?
On the first day of Art we do the rules, tour of the
artroom, names and attendance, practice fire drill...
then to keep it simple and open on the first day of Art
I usually do the same project with all grades. This past
year I read the story "The Dot", and the kids started
with a simple "dot" on their paper and turned into an
abstract design. Other years I have said, "Draw what you
did over summer vacation", or "Draw a portrait of your
new teacher this year"... Usually after all the
intro/rules there is only about 15 mins of drawing time
on the first day. For young kids who have no school
experience keep it really simple. Maybe read them
"Harold and the Purple Crayon" and have everyone draw
their own purple picture. But usually the first day I
fill mostly with routine, intros, etc... by week 2 they
have usually adjusted better to school and you can try
more projects then. :)
How do you
present a new lesson to your students? Do you do a
demonstration or show them what the final outcome should
I do both. We start by gathering together on a big
carpet. I sit in the front on a chair. I start by
showing them the final outcome... usually a student
example, or an example done by me at the student skill
level. Then I demonstrate the steps to complete it.
Sometimes I demo ALL the steps at the beginning and then
let them get to work... but other times I only demo one
step at the a time and the they follow along with me. It
depends how hard the steps are to remember. :) Also, I
always like the have the steps written large where kids
can read them.
Do you have any
advice for projects for students who finish early?
Yes! Visit my "Choice Time" page for a detailed list of
activities! I call the time "Choice Time" rather than
"Free Time" because "Free Time" can be associated with
recess or playtime, and I aim to keep all students
actively involved in Art processes the entire time they
are in my classroom.
What type of
behavior plans do you use in the Artroom?
I use several strategies. One thing I do is select an
"Art Star" at the end of class, and I base my decision
on effort and behavior. I remind the kids of this if
they are getting too noisy. The Art star gets a sticker
and their name written... on a poster. You could also
get creative and do things like "Secret Students". Tell
the kids that you are mentally selecting one person...
and after 5 minutes if that person was able to control
the volume of their voice and work productively you'll
tell them all who it was and that person can get a
sticker. I say "It could be anyone.. it could be you...
so everyone should act like they could be the secret
student." Lets see.... I was sometimes have "whisper
Art" or when it gets really loud we have to switch to
"silent Art". i also have a chart called "Star Class"...
at the end of every class we discuss how the class-wide
behavior was and we choose a color... blue, green,
yellow, red (blue is the best). We fill in the chart for
that week. Kids can compare their class to other
Do you have
any recommendations for childrens' books to go along
with Art lessons?
Check out the author
Laurence Anholt (Anholt's Artists Books for Children). He has written books like: Van Gogh and the Sunflowers, Leonardo and the Flying Boy, Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail, and many many more...
Do you have
any recommendations about Art classroom seating
I have found that students who sit next to their "best
friends" tend to copy eachothers ideas because they are
more self-conscious about what their friends think. They
are more likely to use their own creative ideas when
sitting next to students who they are not as friendly
with. I actually completed my Masters thesis paper on
this very topic and I gathered lots of quantitative and
qualitative data supporting the idea of assigned seating
in the Art classroom.
How do you
keep your classroom organized?
My best recommendation for staying organized it use lots
and lots of labels. The kids are very used to looking
for labels now, and they know they should only put
things away where they belong. Also, when I first
got this job I emptied out all the cupboards and shelves
and laid everything out to see. I sorted and organized
things in a way that made sense to me. I have found that
that helps a lot with inventory, and quick and easy
access to materials. :-) As far as keeping my
lessons organized.... I have a list for each grade level
of what lessons I teach. This is my master list. Then,
each year, I make a photocopy of that list and cross
things off or date them as I do each lessons. So I can
keep track of what I have done year after year and be
sure not to repeat something. :-) It also helps with
building units that progress over the years.
What are your favorite Art supplies?
MARKERS- Mr. Sketch markers: I like these better
than Crayola because I think the color seem brighter and
they smudge less when the kids are working with them. I
prefer the non-scented ones so the kids dont get
distracted with smelling the markers. I also love black
SHARPIE markers: I have the kids use these on tons of
projects for outlining before we color with Mr. Sketch
OIL PASTELS- My favorites are the Crayola oil
pastels. I think they work great for oil pastel and
watercolor resist. They smudge less that some ofthe
other brands I have tried.
TEMPERA CAKES- I love tempera cakes as an
alternative to liquid tempera and/or watercolors. My
favorite brand is Richeson Tempera Color Blocks. They
create deeper darker colors. I often use these instead
of watercolors with my kids. I set them up on a
tray like in this photo:
They are fast and easy cleanup because I pick up the
whole tray, clean the brushes quickly in water, and then
just let the tempera cakes air dry. I have 6 tables, and
i put out new tempera cakes in September on the first
day of school and they last the whole school year. For
color mixing.... They are admittedly not as good as
liquid tempera. So... I do a basic color paint mixing
lesson in 3rd grade using tempera cakes, and then in 4th
grade we move onto liquid tempera color mixing.
LIQUID TEMPERA PAINT- I use Crayola washable
tempera paint. its good to use washable with elementary
level students... especially since we no longer use
smocks in my classroom due to headlice concerns.
ACRYLIC PAINT- I don't use acrylic often, but
when I use I have use Blicrylic by Dick Blick.
PENCILS- I like Dixon Ticonderoga #2
COLORED PENCILS- Prismacolor pencils are worth
the extra money... they have a softer feel to them and
the kids can blend colors more easily.
CRAYONS- I prefer Crayola... but I have also used
Prang. I like crayola best, they are less waxy and have
brighter colors. My students really like the new
twistable crayons by Crayola... they last longer, but
they only have a limited color selection.
PAPER- TruRay paper is the best... but it is
expensive... I usually use Riverside... its a good
compromise with color quality and price.
GLUE- Elmers liquid school glue is my favorite. I
use liquid glue with all the kids, including
kindergarten because it holds so much stronger than glue
My school does
not have any Art program but I'd like to incorporate
some Art projects into my regular ed classroom? Where do I
I would start by reading some stories about shapes or
colors and doing some art projects based on those
concepts. "White Rabbits Color Book" or "Brown Rabbits
Shape Book" are good books to start!!
How do you
create cross curriculum connections?
to look at what the students are learning in their
classrooms, and whenever possible I reinforce that
curriculum. For example, if I want to teach a color
mixing lesson, and I know they are learning about
fractions, I might do a lesson that involves dividing a
circle into fractions, and then mixing different colors
in each section. The Massachusetts Art Curriculum
Frameworks are pretty flexible about subject content, so
be creative and have fun with it :)
How do you "grade"
your students Art projects?
I do not grade individual projects... But twice a year
when report cards come out I give students a grade. My
grades are based on effort, behavior and participation,
not skill level. I do not grade children "against" each
other but instead look for signs of individual
did you use to design this website?
I took some
website design courses in college, so i learned how to
create websites from scratch and write the coding behind
them. The blog
portion of the site is done via Facebook. For people
with little to no website experience I recommend
www.weebly.com for building a website.
How did you
create your Facebook blog? Is it the same as a personal
What you want is a "Fan Page. That's what I have for
"Mrs. Brown -Art Teacher". Fan pages can make status
updates that will show up on people's newsfeeds, and
also anyone can search for it and "like" your page. And
this way, even if students "like" your page, they cannot
see your personal profile, you cannot see theirs either.
Click here to read about fan pages, and learn how to
How can I frame my
child's school artwork?
standard size school art paper is NOT the same as a
standard size frame, which can make it expensive. If you
child's artwork is 18x12 (standard size school art
paper) you can use a large piece of 18X24 black paper to
create a 3-inch background border. Since 18x24
frames are readily available in most stores you should
have no problem finding the perfect frame!
Hemenway parents can come to the ArtRoom to pickup a
piece of 18x24 paper!!
Do you have
any suggestions for pre-school (ages 4 and under) Art
I only teach kids ages 5 and up.... but I think many of
my kindergarten lessons could be adapted for
preschoolers. Especially the ones with shapes, lines and
colors. It's a lot of trial and error when teaching, and
experimenting with what works and what doesn't. Just
remember that kids love creating images and pictures,
and the best Art classes are the ones that encourage
them to create and explore their creativity. Many
times parents or viewers of artwork will have
unrealistic expectations of children's artwork. But
really in the stages of artistic development kids ages
2-3 should really just be creating their first basic
shapes and coming to the realization that their hand
movements are responsible for creating the marks on the
paper that they see. Ages 2-3 is all about exploration
of materials and familiarizing kids with different art
supplies. :) Instead of asking a child, "What is that?",
try saying, "Tell me about your drawing..." It is a much
more open ended question and does not force children to
label their creation at a time when the process is just
as important as the product.
Do you offer
private Art lessons?
Not at this time. I am a public school teacher, so my
Art classes are only open to residents of this town.
But please feel free to use any of the lessons you see
on my website with your child at home! :)
Do you have
any recommendations for projects I can do at home with
Take a look at some of the kindergarten lessons
on my site. Many of them involve simple materials and
would be pretty easy to do at home. :-)
When I was growing up my
mother had me do a self portrait every year and she saved each one of
them. It is so much fun to look back at those pictures and see how
I progressed from age 2 to where I am now! Self Portraits can be
done using a mirror, or without for younger kids. Let young
children feel free to express themselves with color and try to not guide
their drawings too much. It is important for them to develop
naturally, and they will enjoy looking at their self portrait someday
when they are older!