Pi Day Landscapes- 6th Grade

Here’s a fun way to celebrate Pi Day.


Materials: Graph paper (I used 1/2in squares), Sharpies or black marker, Craypas Oil Pastels


Begin by Graphing out the number for pi with black sharpie, 3.14159265358979323. You can do less or more depending on how large the paper is and how much time you have. once it is graphed, use oil pastels to create lights on the buildings.

For the sky you can start with white circles of oil pastel and then ring around it with a light blue oil pastel.

pi 3pi4

Begin filling the sky in from bottom to top. Start with white, to light blue, to dark blue. Blending a little to create a nice transition. Finish it off with using white to ring around the stars a bit more and the adding some yellow swirls in the center of each.

pi 6

pi 5

7th & 8th Grade Bicycle Paintings- STEAM project

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I teach art for a 7th/ 8th grade STEAM elective. This project incorporates engineering thinking with art.

Materials: pencil, eraser, sharpie, watercolor, water cup, paper towel, paint brush, watercolor paper, scratch paper

Click here for art supplies for this lesson

I started the lesson by giving the kids a few minutes to draw a bicycle on scratch paper, without showing them any type of example. Then I showed them the example of the project and discussed how parts of a bike have to be in correct place for it to be a working bicycle. Out of 30 students, only 2 drew a bicycle that could actually work. That in itself can be a fun mini lesson.

On watercolor paper we then go step by step through a drawing of the bicycle in pencil and go over it in sharpie.  Then watercolor in the background.



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3rd Grade Charcoal Penguins



These little penguins are a great lesson in using charcoal…

1/2 sheet of white drawing paper, charcoal pencils or compressed charcoal sticks

Start off drawing step by step the simple shapes for the penguin. Working from the large body shapes to the details. Once the drawing is complete, draw in an iceberg and the background.
I discussed Values, shading in lightly and dark shading. Step by step shade in one part at a time so they do not get lost along the way. The wings, beak, feet shade in dark. The body, medIum. The hills in the horizon can be medium as well. When we get to the ridge around the iceberg and the water we discuss creating texture with the charcoal. Vertical small lines for the ridge around the iceberg and light horizontal texture for the water.

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4th Grade Winter Watercolor Snowman Landscapes



These cute snowman landscapes are a great lesson in using watercolor pencils…

Materials: Crayola Watercolor Pencils, Watercolor Paper, small watercolor brush, water cup, paper towel

We begin the drawing with a light grey watercolor pencil. I stress the importance to the kids of drawing lightly. The watercolor pencils do not erase easily. We begin drawing the simple shapes for the snowman, working from large to small, then adding shading on each sphere of the body. We paint over each part as we go, with a small amount of water.

Once the snowman body is done, we begin with the background using a light blue or aqua watercolor pencil. Color in a horizon and the shadow of the snowman, and use a small amount of water to paint over. Color the snowman nose, eyes, arms, scarf and a hat. We only paint water over the scarf and hat, not the nose, eyes or mouth. Then the trees and shadows of trees, paint over with water.

I carefully plan out the steps when using watercolor pencil to give areas a chance to dry along the way. It keeps it from getting messy and all blended together.

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1st Grade Painted Collage Winter Birds





I’ve seen many variations of this project over the years… I’ve taken bits and pieces and ended up with these cute collage winter birds.

I used a lot of materials for this lesson, but these really did come out great and finished it in about 50 min.

Materials: Grey Cardstock, watercolor paper, Watercolors, acrylic or tempera (brown, green, white), paint brush, water cup, pencil, eraser, scissors, glue, Q-tips, index card or thick paper cut into 1 or 2 inch squares( used for stamping on the pine needles)

Start off by drawing individual shapes for the bird on the watercolor paper:          a body, a head, a tail and a beak. You can add a wing too. Paint the shapes in with watercolor. I warn the kiddos, no puddles of paint… It won’t dry in time to cut and glue. Quick, thin layer of watercolor. This works well when painted with acrylic as well.

While the painted watercolor is drying start on the Cardstock background, use a Q-tip to paint 3 brown branches. Using the 1or 2 in. cut piece of index card or thick paper, dip it into the green paint, use it as a stamp to make the pine needles on each branch with green paint.

By then the watercolor should be dry. Cut out the body and glue it to the painted background, then the cut out the head and glue. Then the tail and the beak.

Then using a Q-tip make a dot with the brown paint for an eye.

Then add the falling snow with a Q-tip and white paint.

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Kindergarten Texture Owls



Materials: black card stock, Crayola Colored Chalk, pencil & eraser

Draw a simple body & head for the owl, draw big eyes & pupils, a beak and a branch below him.

When using the Crayola Chalk I break the stick into 3 pieces so the students can use small 1/2 in pieces for all projects. Color in the large eyes orange, don’t color the pupil. Color the beak yellow.

With the brown chalk start creating little lines of texture around the eyes and beak. Then use the side of the brown colored chalk to make short fat strokes on his face. Then start down the owls body, being sure to let the black show in between each stroke. After the body we start making the strokes around the face.

The branch can be green and don’t forget yellow little toes holding the branch.

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2nd Grade Texture Turkeys




Materials: Black Cardstock, pencil & eraser, craypas oil pastels

The drawing for this turkey is pretty simple. A circle in the center of the paper, the head, and neck. Add the feathers, wing, feet, face.

Start with the texture of the head, neck and body. Color in the beak, legs, eyes and the red turkey snood… Betcha you didn’t know that’s what it’s called.

Then I let the students choose 2 colors for each tail feather texture and add a second color to the wing.

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-Art Teacher in LA

4th Grade Fall Birch Trees



Materials: Blue or purple Cardstock, paint brush, paper towel, pencil & eraser, paint tray, water cup, small piece of chipboard, index card or thick cardstock, acrylic paint- white, grey, black, brown, red, orange, yellow

Here’s how I organize the paint on the trays or plates


Start by drawing the horizon line and the tree trunk on the colored Cardstock. Paint in each tree white and add grey shading to one side. Once all three trees are painted white and grey, paint the ground brown. Then we need to add the texture to the birch trees. Dip the edge of a small piece of chip board or I’ve used index cards before, into black paint. Scape the edge starting on the grey shaded side across to the white side. Repeat until the tree is covered in texture.


Using the brush add the texture of the leaves on the upper part of the paper with red, orange, yellow, brown. Add a few fallen leaves on the ground. If there’s extra time I let them add a bit of black into the brown paint to make a color for the shadows of the trees on the ground.

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-Art Teacher in LA




5th Grade Negative Space Trees




This project is one of my favorites. These just look beautiful when they are all displayed. The idea for this lesson came from another teacher, but I’ve adapted it over the years. We made fall trees, but it done any time of year.

I use a full sheet of black cardstock and white paper that is cut 1-2 in smaller than the black, Scissors, glue stick, Crayola Construction paper crayons, pencil & eraser.

We begin by coloring the white paper, the hills and the sky- coloring in the whole paper makes this project go so much smoother. If the cut pieces get mixed up, they’ll know what side is up.

I have them draw the lines that will be cut.  Just remember they are not drawing a tree, just a vertical line up the center of the paper and a few branches. I limit it to 4 main branches with a few little ones, more than that and it ends up a mad house trying to help kids figure out how it all fits back together.

We begin cutting on the center line ( I have them place the 2 halves on the black paper so the can see how to form the trunk with the negative space).
We cut the bottom branch on each half and glue it into place on the black paper. We continue cutting a line and gluing the piece in place, until the tree is complete. It’s really important to only cut and glue one piece at a time and work from the bottom up.

when all of the pieces are glued we add fall leaves with the crayons.

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-Art Teacher in LA


6th Grade Funky Self Portraits





Materials: solid colored Cardstock, patterned paper, white and black paper, glue sticks, scissors, pencil, crayons.

I prepped the paper ahead of time into several sizes. I cut the patterned paper into 1/2’s for the face & neck and for the hair. I cut some patterned, solid and white & black paper into 1/4’s for the details.  One successful thing I did with this was to have the students choose their paper before they knew what we were doing. I had them choose a solid and 2 half sheets of the patterned and then I showed the examples of what we would be doing. They made bolder choices with the colors they chose.

We cut out a head and a neck from one of the half sheets and glue it into place. Make the ears from the same paper. Then choose a few 1/4 sheets for the brows, nose and lips. The eyes I had them choose a solid for the biggest shape of the eye, a pattern for the iris, black for the pupil and then a white sparkle. Cut and glue as you go. I tried to encourage not using a pencil to draw and just using the scissors. Hair and a shirt were the last parts we added. I had crayons available for kids to draw on their glasses.

These were so fun and looked amazing hanging in the classrooms.

-Art Teacher in LA