More Photos from Art Show 2014

Here are some more photos from Art Show 2014.  Thanks again to Devan, our art show chair (and party planning/layout genius) and all the AMAZING art show and art room volunteers who put this show together.

Sixth grade foil name art. Click here for lesson plan

Upper grade display

Foil name art (and those awesome decorations!) in the upper grade area.

Primary grade display

First grade clay self-portraits on table top. Click here for lesson. On skirt: marker and foam prints lesson plan at shine Brite Zamorano. Above on wall: baby oil and oil pastel herons. Click here for lesson.

Marker prints, clay faces and great blue herons in the K-3 area.

Marker prints, clay faces and great blue herons in the K-3 area.

Kindergarten Kandinsky CD Case Circles Mural

Click here for the lesson plan. The lesson went incredibly well. The mural was mounted on foam core using the 3M clear mounting tape.

Primary grade display

Kandinsky CD case circles mural

Shoe Art and Sport Trophies:

On the table skirt: fourth grade shoe art. Click here for lesson. This is a 100% successful lesson.

Fifth grade sport trophies. Click here for lesson.

Upper grade art display

Shoe art and sport trophies in the upper grade area.

Upper grade display

Calder wire hands

Want more pictures? Check out our first post from Art Show 2014. And check out Art Show 2013 and Art Show 2012! Click here for more on Devan’s space-saving displays.

Our volunteers are the best! Our school is blessed to have the help of parents year-round in the art room. We had some amazing, hard-working parents who hung this show in just three days.

It was our last show with Devan as chair. We will really miss her vision and energy. How fortunate we are to have had her help these past four shows.


What’s your best tip for a successful art show?





Art Show 2014: A Rainbow of Color

art show 2014 stage

SSF art show 2014: paint cans spill a rainbow of color down the stairs; Bob Ross painting video plays throughout the evening.

We had our annual art show last week. It was amazing! Over 1000 pieces of art; at least two from each student. This show featured a rainbow theme (designed by Devan, our AMAZING parent volunteer art show chair), a FEAST! food art area, and an iPad photography/digital art showcase.

Rainbow theme:

Devan used real paint cans purchased at Home Depot. The colored ‘paints’ are plastic table cover rolls. The 10 cans on the stage were drilled and hung on monofilament. Hidden PVC pipe stands hold up the freestanding paint cans.

Spilled paint decorations

The show featured Devan’s amazing freestanding paint can decorations.

Giant crayons and a rainbow of color.

Giant crayons and a rainbow of color in front of the plaster masks.

FEAST! Food Art

I taught food art projects in grades K-4. Click here for kindergarten cookie collage, first grade feast collage, second grade Wayne Thiebaud geometric dessert, and fourth grade Seurat pointillist food. Devan decorated the tables with real cooking utensils and ingredients.

Five FEAST! art projects (clockwise from left): clay cupcakes with roses and alphabet pasta; Seurat pointillist food; Thanksgiving feast collage; cooking plate collage; Wayne Thiebaud geometric dessert.

Andy Warhol activity:

We had a coloring contest again this year. I used a blank Campell’s soup can sheet courtesy of E is for Explore blog. Click here to get yours. We used a real soup pot and real cans of Campbell’s soup.

Our interactive coloring contest ties in to the FEAST! unit.

Our interactive coloring contest ties in to the FEAST! unit. Check out the pot of crayons!

iPad Art Showcase:

We put the iPad showcase right up at the entrance. I printed out a few samples of the second grade iPad photography project, then stationed two iPads looping slideshows of our other digital art projects.

This achieved three goals: 1) display student art, 2) advocate for the art program and 3) thank the parents who raised money to bring iPads to our school.

iPad photography print outs, plus looping slideshows at the iPad art showcase.

iPad photography print outs, plus looping slideshows at the iPad art showcase.


Thanks to our PTO and parent volunteers

Our entire art program is made possible by the parents at our school. A big thank you to the art room and art show volunteers for all their hard work during the year and for three CRAZY days hanging the show. We also had the help of a college student, Abby, who spent two weeks observing our art program. The gorgeous room layout and decorations are the vision of our amazing art show chair, Devan, a professional party planner. We are so lucky to have Devan on board.

100% of our art program is funded by our school PTO. Thank you.


What’s your best tip for a successful art show?

What Advice Would You Give to a College Student?

advice for a college student

This week I had the privilege of working with a 19 year old college student. She is going to change her major, and is seriously considering art education.

What advice would you give her? Find a college with an art ed degree? Get a general ed degree? Get a fine art degree? Relocate to a state that has good (or at least better) opportunities for art teachers?

She is shadowing me in the art room, and even teaching a bit of the lessons. She is helping out prepping art for our art show next week and will see all of our projects from the past year.

I shared with her the conversations I had at NAEA14 with elementary art teachers from across the country and urged her to contact her state art education association.

I shared lots of online resources, including:

Now I’m turning it over to you:

What advice would you give to a college student considering a career in art education?

Please leave a comment!

Modigliani Portraits of Mom


Modigliani portraits of mom

Our first graders just completed their Mother’s Day project – portraits of their Moms in the style of Amadeo Modigliani.

Day 1: Learn about Modigliani’s style; practice drawing.

We talked about how the artist’s style included almond-shaped eyes, long skinny noses, tiny lips, and long thin necks. Click here for my Modigliani powerpoint. Students did a practice drawing of Mom on copy paper.

I didn’t focus on Modigliani’s life as much of it was tragic. Click here to learn a bit more about Modigliani’s life.

Day 2: Draw portrait, color with oil pastel

We drew our portraits on watercolor paper using pencil. We colored with oil pastels. I offered several skin color options.  Students were encouraged to rub two colors of oil pastel in the background.

First grade results:



I taught this project before – click here to see more examples of student work. This project would work really well for Father’s Day – Modigliani made many portraits of men.

Educate the parents

This year I sent the classroom teachers an explanatory email with images of Modigliani’s work and a link to his biography. The email will go home in the weekly classroom newsletter. (Why? Last year a mother commented she didn’t understand her gift – when I explained she said she had never heard of Modigliani).

Here is a 2-minute video of Modigliani’s portraits of women.


Roy Lichtenstein Art Project for iPad and Computer

Our 6th graders did another digital art project this week: a quick artwork inspired by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. We used iPads, but the good news is you can do this project from a computer just as easily.


Lichtenstein’s Thinking of Him, 1963.

After looking at Lichtenstein’s 1963 painting Thinking of Him, students used their iPads to do a Google search for Lichtenstein images. They saved their five favorites to the camera roll.
I asked what they noticed about Lichtenstein’s work. Students noticed word bubbles, a lot of blonds and cartoons. I asked them to review their saved images and look for

  • everyday items
  • primary colors (red/yellow/blue)
  • black outlines
  • dots, especially for flesh tone

We talked about appropriation in art. During the 1960s, Lichtenstein and other pop artists such as Andy Warhol used pre-existing images of everyday objects (i.e. comics) as a starting points in their artworks. I passed out enlargements from old newspaper comics, plus the little wax paper primary color comics from Bazooka bubblegum.  I explained that these types of images were well-known back in the early 1960s. Even the dots (known as ‘benday’ dots) Lichtenstein used were appropriated from comic book printing techniques used back in the 1960s.

The digital Art Project
We used the free, online TATE kids dotshop website to create our digital artworks. (note: dotshop is compatible with iPad and computer).

How to create a digital Lichtenstein-inspired portrait using TATE kids DotShop.

Create a digital Lichtenstein-inspired portrait using TATE kids DotShop. Teacher example. Betty Draper photo via AMC

Steps to create a Lichtenstein-inspired digital artwork:

1.Open TATE Kids

2. a) use the camera option to take a selfie or picture of your friends or b) appropriate a well-known image from the internet (e.g. Betty Draper, Sponge Bob, Arnold Schwartzenegger).

3. Adjust color and benday dot size.

4. Color in the background a solid color

5. optional: outline in black

6. optional: add text.

7 Save within the website, then save to camera roll.

8. Turn in to digital turn in folder on Google Drive (click here to read about how we turn in digital art).

6th grade results 

Kenna's appropriated image, includes dots, pink background and text.

Kenna’s appropriated image, includes dots, pink background and text.


Appropriating an image: Lucas found an image of Arnold Schwarzenegger, added benday dots, colored the background red, and added text.

Appropriating an image: Lucas found an image of Arnold Schwarzenegger, added benday dots, colored the background red, and added text.

DotShop Lichtenstein-inspired self portrait



Do you have a favorite Lichtenstein-inspired art project?


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