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1st Grade Art Lessons

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...

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Easy Watercolor Process Lesson

Easy Watercolor Process Lesson

By on May 8, 2015 | 1 comment

Honestly. It’s like the kids have never seen this before. The ooh’s and ahhh’s that result in painting over an area of white oil pastel is worthy of admission. I needed a one-lesson project in order to keep my first grade classes in sync with each other. I whipped out my half-sheets of watercolor paper and a few jars of liquid watercolor paints and offered a quick demo on watercolor resist. Although this is an easy project, the results are worthwhile only if you use watercolor paper and not regular drawing paper. The thing is, with regular drawing paper, the watercolor paint will soak into the paper and will not offer a resist worthy of the accolades. With watercolor paper (school-grade 90 lb paper is perfect), the watercolor paint sits on top of the surface, avoiding the areas of oil pastels but blending with their watercolor friends. Both mingling and resist happens. It’s a beautiful thing to a seven-year old. You can see in this cute pig art lesson that I used watercolor paints on regular drawing paper. See how the colors are not as vibrant? That’s because the paint soaked into the paper. As for liquid watercolor paints, if you haven’t tried them, you simply must. They are wonderful. Don’t worry so much if the colors get muddied or blended. As an art teacher, it’s important to instill a sense of fearlessness in your little artists about using mediums with enthusiasm. If we harp on the children for the small infractions of life, we may unknowingly create an environment based on tattling and the need for approval. “Mrs. Palmer, Jon didn’t wash his brush!” “Is this right, Mrs. Palmer?” Think about it. Is a muddied yellow paint really worth becoming upset over? Of course. You may feel differently. If so, ignore the above. Sometimes, it’s just about the process. The freedom to experiment with color, pattern, water, gravity and the occasional...

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Paint Like Pollock: Art Project for Grades K-2

Paint Like Pollock: Art Project for Grades K-2

By on Apr 3, 2015 | 10 comments

As much as I love creating a big mess with paint, I wasn’t inspired to create a Jackson Pollock art project until I saw this post. I knew the technique of dipping yarn into tubs of paint would be a huge hit with my first graders. And it was. Plus, I could finally read Action Jackson! If you don’t have this book, it’s a must-read about Jackson’s painting process, not to mention a perfect read for the art room, which I define as the right amount of text to illustration ratio. To start: Place 18″ x 24″ sheets of construction paper on the tables for placemats. Mix 3-4 colors of tempera paint into tubs and place on the table. I use cafeteria trays to get all the supplies distributed and sorted before placing on tables. I used Crayola Washable paint but Laura from the blog, Painted Paper suggest Premier Tempera Paint. Worth trying! I didn’t have clothes pins like the Mrs. Seitz so I used a combination of masking tape and popsicles sticks. Clothes pins are a far better choice if you have them. Place either a colored or black piece of construction/sulphite paper at each table setting. Add small brushes to each tub of paint. How to be like Pollock: Children are a bit hesitant at first but I remind them of Jackson’s fearlessness with paint. This seems to loosen them up. The idea is to dip the yarn into the paint tub and then drag or dribble the goopy yarn over the paper to create marks. This works, but the first time the children try to dip the yarn into the tub, it doesn’t work. The yarn is dry and doesn’t sink into the paint. This is why I make the brushes available. Give the yarn some help by using the brush to dunk into paint. Have a little extra time? Creating the Pollock painting takes very little time. Only about 30-minutes or so. The mess it creates takes a while to clean up so factor that into your prep time. I used one 40-minute class with my first graders to finish unfinished projects. Many chose to add black paint markings to their dry Pollock Paintings. I gave absolutely no directions as to what to...

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Colorful Painted Owl Art Project

Colorful Painted Owl Art Project

By on Mar 18, 2015 | 3 comments

I’ve been playing around with this lesson for a while now. I created this free owl drawing guide and have been taking advantage of it. My third graders used the handout to create a marker and watercolor painting but for my Kinders, I wanted to keep the choices to a minimum. I decided to use yellow chalk to draw the owl (keep on reading to learn why this isn’t the best choice) and pre-mixed liquid tempera paint. I love to mix my paint colors before the students arrive. This is especially helpful for younger students as they are still learning how to paint smoothly. Adding a lesson on color-mixing is just a bit too premature for most of my students. To learn how to mix colors, download this handy color-mixing PDF. I selected two simple variations of the owl and simplified the drawing even more by using small condiment cups for getting the drawing started. This is what we did:  Every student received a piece of yellow colored chalk, a sheet of 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper, a placemat and access to paints and brushes/water. The students sat on the floor as I demonstrated the process for drawing two styles of owls: one with open wings and the other with closed wings. The open wing owl needs a wide piece of paper (place paper sideways on table) and the no-wing owl needed a tall paper. Using a small condiment cup, trace two circles near the top of the paper for the eyes. For the nose, draw a rhombus (according to the kids, they aren’t called diamonds) between the two eyes. If they wanted to, they could draw a “mask” around the eyes. I show them how to draw a line close to, but not touching, the eyes and nose. Place chalk above mask and draw a straight horizontal line. Add ears. Next, draw a long letter “U”. This is the body. The tall owl shows a few back tail feathers. I showed the kids how to add these if they wanted to. Draw a wing in the middle– like a pocket. The open winged owl has big wings. Draw (or trace fingers) wing shapes on both sides of the owl body. We added two...

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Sea Turtles Drawing & Painting Lesson

Sea Turtles Drawing & Painting Lesson

By on Mar 2, 2015 | 3 comments

This sea turtle art project was inspired by this Under-the-Sea Chalk Lesson. To keep the project manageable for first graders, I used just one sea creature–turtles– but switched up mediums. My first graders used oil pastels and cake/puck tempera paints to create these beautiful sea turtles. Download this Sea Turtle Drawing Handout. This is what you’ll need: 12″ x 18″ white sulfite paper Cake or Puck Tempera Paint Black Oil pastel White School Glue, Brush and Glitter (optional) Drawing the Turtle You can use the handout linked above or show a few pictures of sea turtles on the white board. I offered my students both a handout and some drawing instruction. We talked about what they could include in the background of their pictures. I told a story of how I saw sea turtles while snorkeling in Maui. I noticed that the turtles loved to hide under the huge rocks and swim amongst the plants. We added a few rocks, some seaweed and a few other fish. Painting the Turtle Once the children painted the ocean color on the background, I asked them to paint the turtle. Remind the children to pick a color other than the background so the turtle will stand out. Many kids used lots of paint colors in their turtles, while others created a more subdued palette. To add a special touch, we brushed glue on a few areas and sprinkled with glitter. I know. You don’t need this but we had a few extra moments and the glitter was just sitting there....

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Easy Cubism Art Project

Easy Cubism Art Project

By on Feb 23, 2015 | 4 comments

Cubism is one of my favorite art genres to teach. Because of the influences of contemporary artists (think Romero Britto), children are familiar with how artists transforms everyday objects into geometric shapes. The earlier influences of cubism (Picasso, Klee, Cézanne and Braque) are just as fun and colorful. When I taught my Cubist-Inspired Picasso lesson to Kinders (from Fun with Movements Art Projects) , I drew a fish, cut the fish into sections and shapes. Then, as a group, we put the fish together again in a new and different way. This exercise was really fun and emphasized the concept of abstraction (to take apart) and ultimately cubism. My Easy Cubism Activities utilize the same concept: draw a familiar object then divide into shapes and lines. My third graders loved this project and although the instructions are the same, each child produced wildly different pieces. I used Prismacolor markers for this project and are absolutely lovely. The colors are rich and heavy. Using card stock instead of sulfite paper makes coloring a pleasure. I read that using photo paper is a dream to use with markers so if you have a ream of that laying around, try it out! Here’s a look inside my Easy Cubism Activities: If you are looking for a great sub plan or need a lesson for those days when an easy prep lesson is needed, this packet is for you.  ...

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