Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day from San Diego!

I spent yesterday walking around the harbor. Here is our sculptural version of the famous end-of-WWII photo, situated right next to the USS Midway.

Also in sight of the USS Midway – a large sculpture installation saluting Bob Hope’s contribution to the USO. The installation also features a real soundtrack of Bob entertaining the troops.
Hope you are enjoying your weekend…and giving thanks to all who have sacrificed for the US.

iPad Alphabet Photography for Fourth Grade

Armed with camera-equipped iPads and iPods, our fourth graders spread out in our school garden in search of alphabet letters. Each student was assigned a letter to photograph.

Letter O

It was interesting to see how they completed the assignment: some students found letters in the branches of trees, some created letters from stones and twigs. Some poured water on the pavement to draw their letter. If they were absolutely stumped (get it?) , I let them use a letter from the garden signs. I asked students to take 5-10 photos of their letter.

I am happy to report the fourth graders LOVED looking for letters. They were completely engaged, and helped each other.  I heard a lot of shouts of “I found a T! Who has T?”

This week, students used their devices and the Pic Collage app to turn their best photos into a photo collage. I asked them to zoom in so that we could really see the letter – aim for making a letter so clear a kindergartener could recognize it. They emailed me their files and we reviewed them as a class.

Great work fourth graders!

Our fourth graders are in a pilot 1:1 iPad program, and it is a huge success. The goal is to turn all the photos into a free digital book downloadable through Apple’s iBooks store.

Inspiration for this project came from www.alphabetphotography.com.

UPDATE: see the completed whole-alphabet collages in this post.

Sand Art for Second Grade

Summer is almost here. For our last project of the year, second graders made sea creature sand art. Allow two 40-minute sessions.


  • white glue in squeeze bottles
  • colored sand (I used four different colors) in shallow trays
  • bamboo skewers
  • black construction paper, 9″x12″
  • pencils and sketch paper
  • reference photos of sea creatures for sketching

Day 1:

Students sketch various sea creatures using pencil and paper.

Day 2:

Each student picks a favorite sketch and draws it on black construction paper. Encourage kids to make simpler, larger designs.

Trace pencil lines with glue.

If kids make a glue mistake, they can try moving the glue around with a skewer.

Sprinkle on one color of sand at a time.

Then tap excess sand back into the tray.

When kids spill sand on the table….a house paint brush makes clean up easy.

Kids love to clean up sand with a large paintbrush.

Completed work:


Clean up:

I store leftover sand in old apple juice jugs. At the end of class, I put a funnel in each jug and let the kids pour in their sand.

Seriously fun! This would also be a fun summer camp or vacation art project.

‘Under the Sea’ Repouseé

This week fourth grade finished their foil sea creatures. If you have never tried tooling foil repouseé, you simply must!  It is so much fun.  If you are unfamiliar with repouseé, check out this excellent post at A Faithful Attempt blog.



Day 1

We talked about the repouseé process. We are going to use a pencil to shape and press lines and patterns into our foil. We will make texture. For practice, I gave kids a piece of heavy aluminum foil and we folded it four times. The number one rule: always keep the foil on the newspaper pad. The pencil will  bend the metal down into the pad.

We practiced drawing different lines (wavy, straight, zig zag) and patterns on our test foil.  I showed kids how to flip the foil to the back and press lines into the back of the foil. Once kids got used to working the foil front and back, they really enjoyed the process.

Day 2

I passed out square paper sketch sheets and templates (optional – I encouraged kids to make their own design so long as it filled the square). Goal: create a sea creature with a textured body and textured background. When the sketch was approved, I gave them a square of foil. They taped the sketch to the foil and retraced their lines. then they turned over the foil and pressed more lines into the back.

Optional templates ruled to fit foil squares.


Pencil sketch and completed art



Day 3:

Color with colored Sharpies.  The color makes our repouseé art looks like jewels of the sea!

Here they are on display in the school lobby for our annual Ocean Week


Skip the background. Cut out the textured sea creature. Color on both sides and hang as a mobile.

Skip the pre-cut squares and do the project on folded heavy foil.

Have fun!

Affiliate of:

Birds on a Wire: Thumbprint Art for Kindergarten

Looking for a quick 40-minute project? Get out your stamp pads. Kindergarteners used crayon, stamp pads and ballpoint pens to create these cute thumbprint birds on a wire.



And just for fun….look how Ryan signed the back of his art! He must be very proud of his writing skills. These kids have come so far since the fall. What a joy!


Inspiration came from Mrs. Weber’s Art Class blog via Pinterest.

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