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Art and Literature

Dr. Seuss Day Art Activities

Dr. Seuss Day Art Activities

By on Feb 21, 2017 | 3 comments

Celebrate Dr. Seuss Day in Deep Space Sparkle style with this easy-to-draw Cat in the Hat. Start with a pencil, eraser, black marker and a white piece of paper and use the following media suggestions to complete the piece: Kindergarten through Second Grade Give children a white piece of paper (12″ x 18″) and use the free drawing instructions (download below) to draw the cat in the hat. The cat drawing is a bit tricky for Kinders so try this adjustment: follow the instructions by folding the paper, drawing the eyes and adding a nose but draw a large letter U instead of the ¾ view head. This makes more sense for a Kinder and the next parts (mouth, neck, bow tie and hat) will be easier. I like to give the children another price of white paper to paint the background. If you have a fairly independent group, allow them to create any type of pattern background they want. Try polka dots, stripes, chevrons, etc. Take a look at this adaptation of a simpler version of the cat made by my friend Kathy and her Kinder students in Santa Barbara. Third and Fourth Grade Many second graders and all third and fourth graders are able to draw the ¾ view Cat very well. Have some fun with this lesson by adding different patterns to the hat. Perhaps your students can decorate the cat’s hat in a style made famous by an artist. Imagine a Van Gogh Starry Night hat or a Romero Britto Pop Art hat. Or maybe try a Georgia O’Keeffe close-up flower or a Matisse inspired organic shapes. Another option for a background is to paint colorful stripes with a little bling. I have to admit that adding some glitter here and there really is fun for the kids 9and me!). Download this drawing handout to help your students draw The Cat in the Hat by clicking the red banner below the...

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“Petunia” Painting Project for Kids

“Petunia” Painting Project for Kids

By on Jan 26, 2016 | 10 comments

Incorporating literature into art projects remains my favorite type of lesson.  Last year, I introduced Petunia to my third grade students. Using a painting technique that I call smoothing, my students sketched a goose with pencil then  painted with happy colors, just like the book. Don’t have the book? You can download this delightful video found on YouTube: WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper Pencil and Eraser Red, yellow, white, blue, green and black liquid tempera paint (I use Crayola) I medium tip round brush 1 small tip round brush (for outlining) Black marker, black crayon or lack oil pastel as optional outing supplies.   DRAWING I photocopied a few pages from the book and placed on the children’s tables. Using observation techniques, the kids practiced drawing their own Petunia. I encouraged them to make a dot near the top of the paper and one near the bottom. The dots provided guidelines for where to start the head and where to place the feet. This ensures the goose will be drawn large enough to fill most of the paper.     PAINTING Once the drawing was complete, children dipped a medium paint brush in the red paint and painted sections of the background paper. We used the smoothing technique to achieve a smooth paint finish. The children carefully painted around Petunia and the spring flowers. After the background was complete, the children painted the flowers and leaves with a collection of green, yellow and blue paint mixed with small amounts of white. This created TINTS and resembled the illustrations found in the book. OUTLINING Once the paint is dry, children can use a small pointed brush dipped in watered-down black paint to outline Petunia. Notice how the children didn’t paint Petunia white? The white paper offered enough contrast so that painting the goose white seemed unnecessary. Although, children can paint their goose if they wish. If you don’t like to use black paint to outline, you can use a thick black marker or even a crayon. Experiment and see what medium works best for you....

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Over & Under Winter Habitat Art Project

Over & Under Winter Habitat Art Project

By on Dec 8, 2015 | 3 comments

Over and Under the Snow is a book that uncovers the “secret kingdom under the snow.” Children are offered a glimpse of where animals go during the winter months and what their homes look like. The artwork is beautiful–ethereal, soft and filled with atmospheric perspective. This was one of the prettiest winter art projects I have ever done. It’s a great project to integrate with science and literature and learn atmospheric perspective, mixing paint colors, texture and how to draw winter...

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Giraffes Can’t Dance Art Lesson

Giraffes Can’t Dance Art Lesson

By on Jun 6, 2015 | 25 comments

Who says giraffes can’t dance? According to my first grade students, they not only dance, but sway, gyrate and hip-hop. Based on the book of the same name, the lesson was done in two, 40-minute sessions. Supplies for Giraffe 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper Pencil/eraser Brown, orange, yellow and black broad-tip Crayola markers Scissors Supplies for Background Plastic cup and pencil Palette of green, yellow,white, purple and blue tempera paint 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper Drawing the Giraffe I used a directed line instruction for the giraffe drawing and gave the children options for creating their own unique movements. Use pencils. It’s a hard drawing and the kids will get frustrated if they can’t erase. Keep the lesson simple. Concentrate on the big shapes (big circle for the belly, skinny rectangles for legs, etc.) Color the giraffes using yellow or orange broad-tip markers (I like Crayola Washable) then add spots and marks using a brown or black marker. Finally, cut the giraffe drawing out. This takes a bit of time but let the children at least start so they can practice this skill. If they don’t finish in a reasonable amount of time, cut the rest out for them. This way, all the children will be at the same place for the next class. Tip: Make sure to put the student’s name on the back of the cut-out giraffe! Painting the moonlit sky Using a plastic cup, the kids traced a big circle for the moon. Mixing the blue and purple paint directly onto the paper, the kids used big sweeping brush strokes to paint the sky. Start from the bottom (about a third of the way up) and paint towards the moon, being careful not to paint inside the circle shape. Next, the kids painted the moon using white paint. They painted in a circular motion, starting in the center and moving outwards until they touched the blue paint. I encouraged the kids to paint over the blue, so the white and blue sky would mix. Finally, the kids painted the grass yellow, waited 30 seconds, then painted over the yellow with green paint. Using the ends of their brushes, the kids etched grass into the...

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How to Draw a Lion: Collage Art Project

How to Draw a Lion: Collage Art Project

By on May 29, 2015 | 0 comments

Learning how to draw a lion as well as other African animals is very rewarding for kids. Their distinctive shapes and features mean that even the most basic drawing looks familiar. I know this lesson looks like a bit of work…drawing, painting, cutting, pasting. But, believe me.  It’s worth it.  This is the type of lesson that keeps on giving long after the lesson is over…little lion drawings everywhere. There is something about learning how to draw an animal that really empowers children. This guided drawing is simple enough that all children will feel successful. I promise. What you’ll need: White paper Colored paper Oil pastels or Crayons Liquid Tempera Paint Scissors Glue This lesson comes from my Teaching Art 101 e-course where I teach the project through a video. The video is only available in the e-course but I’ve re-designed the lesson plan for you to take advantage of this cute lesson. Children learn to draw the lion through a guided drawing then they get to paint without worrying about staying within the lines. The background is inspired by the image in the book,  How Loud Is a Lion. You can choose to use the colors as in the book or allow the kids to create their own background. Here’s a preview of what is included in the 13-page lesson plan: ARE YOU A SPARKLER? Access 0ver 300 art lessons, videos, resources & trainings for one low monthly...

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Lincoln Portraits Art Project

Lincoln Portraits Art Project

By on Apr 26, 2015 | 1 comment

If you are looking for a great story to read to your students, Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith combines corny jokes, American history and great illustrations. The story alludes to the Lincoln’s bedroom ghost story and comes from the POV of a young girl taking a tour of the white house. She discovers Lincoln’s ghost and she assures him that the country has turned out just fine since he last left it. A readable story with clever illustrations make this one of my favorite reads so far this year. Here is the publisher’s promo video: I did this lesson with a second grade class and a second/third grade combo. Both classes did a great job but the older kids were more confident in the open-end strategy I employed for the final collage component. I borrowed the Americana collage idea from a former lesson on Lady Liberty. Honestly, I was quite impressed with the variety of images my little seven and eight-year olds created. Here’s what you’ll need: 1 sheets of 9″ x 12″ white sulphite paper 1 sheet of 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper 1 6″ x 9″ black sulphite paper Strips of black paper (about ½” thick) Black oil pastel and black chalk pastel Scissors & glue Cake tempera paint Colored oil pastels Glitter (optional, of course!) 1. Drawing Abe Lincoln The book features a simple Abe Lincoln illustration which makes it very easy for kids of this age to observe and draw. I used a simple directed drawing for Abe. It goes something like this: Turn 12″ x 9″ white paper so that it is tall. Starting at the top of the white paper, draw a line down from the top and down about ½ way, across  and up again (angular letter U) to reach the top Add two vertical lines for the neck For the body: starting at the bottom of the paper, draw a line up one side, across the middle where the shoulders should be and down the other side. Make sure to touch the neck lines. Back to the head: Draw a wavy line across Lincoln’s forehead for one side of his hair. Draw another curved line for the other side of his hair. Draw a horizontal line below the hairline. This is Lincoln’s...

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