Collaborative Art Games–4th Grade

Group art games: Color Mixing, task box, musical chairs painting & art observation

Fourth graders participated in a unit of four classes on collaborative art games.  The first of these was color mixing using color chips I painted and gave to them so they could make that color on teams.  They chose the teammate closest to the paint chip to try to go for the class win. I showed them tertiary colors on the color wheel and how to mix them, but I left a lot up to them to discover exactly how to do this.

color mixing game






musical chairs painting

The second game was musical chairs painting, but instead of taking a chair away, we left all chairs in the room and when the music started they walked or danced around until it stopped, and then found a seat other than their own.  Finally, during the last round they returned to their seats to use the Element of Art of unity to complete and resolve their work.

Initial student completes the work






Completed Examples

I asked them to write down how they used unity in their final pieces as a way to asses them.






Task box

The students watched a video on Oliver Herring, a social practice artist, who designs task parties around the world.  Each participant places a task in a box for someone else to blindly choose and interpret for a piece of art.  When the person is done with the task, they put another task back in to keep it moving.  In our class, fourth graders wrote tasks involving painting and drawing for their peers and had a great time!

Examples of tasks the kids wrote

One girl made herself small in a garden

One student asked another to draw Thailand

This student was instructed to draw their biggest fear.








Art Observation game

The final round of games involved art observation by having one student from each team hide a piece of art from their peers and try to describe it to them.  The other students would try to draw or paint an image of the description.  The person closest to the original image would be chosen by the team and then go to the final round where I had them vote on the winner.




















Sketchbook Mania–5th Grade

Paste paper Sketchbook Design & collaborative idea generation

In this unit, fifth graders mixed colors and created their own fancy paste papers to use as sketchbook covers that they added to handmade books.  After they assembled their books, they came up with ideas to sketch as a team or they could use my ideas provided as scaffolding.  Many chose to do cartooning so we watched videos and I gave them handouts.










Making the sketchbooks

Example Sketches



Exploring Nature in Printmaking–2nd Grade

Block printing with vegetables

Second grade created prints in a unit on block printing and monoprinting with everyday materials found in their communities from the natural world.  They first tried block printing in tempera paint with onions, celery, green peppers and carrots.  They were working on getting movement into their piece as an Element of Art.




This 2nd grader figured out how to make rainbows with onions.

Contour line to prep for monoprinting on foam





The kids drew a contour line after I explained that they should imagine themselves as an ant walking around the outside.  Then they cut out their drawing and traced it on the foam in pencil to indent it.

Foam Plates

They added the leaf veins on the foam using observational drawing and then used markers to ink their plate and print on a damp paper.









Block printing their leaf plate with tempera paint

Students then applied tempera paint with a brush to their plates and stamped their leaf on the paper.




















Paste Paper Animal Collage–K/1st Grade

Paste paper animals after Eric Carle and Pete Cromer

Kindergarten and first grade started the unit watching a video of Eric Carle talking about his book The Man Who Painted a Blue Horse and then I read the book to them.  Carle made the book after being inspired by Franz Marc’s German Expressionist paintings.  I explained that real or invented animals can be made with imaginary colors.

They started by making paste paper and I gave them two primary colors to mix in their paste containers.  They did this for two classes layering colors and using other colors made by other kids.

Then they drew up a plan for their paste paper animal using shape templates and we went over shapes as a class.  Then they traced shapes on the back of paste paper and cut out their collage to glue down.

Kindergarten plan drawings







first grade PLan drawings

Assembling the paste paper into a collage

kindergarten examples












first grade examples




Identity Shadow Play–Middle School

The process

While student teaching in middle school, I led the kids through a unit on identity including costume building and painting.  The first step was to play around with props behind the back-lit screen.








After that, they viewed slides on shadow play and I asked them questions about identity and how they can change theirs.  They then came up with sketches for their costumes that they would be making in sculptural form out of paper or cardboard.















They could design any character, animal or object they desired, but they had to brainstorm at least two sketches first and check in with peers before coming to me with their final plan. Then they went to work constructing their costumes.









Standing behind the screen gave them a chance to show off and experiment with the final touches in front of a peer audience who would take pictures of them on the student’s phone for use as a referent in the painting later.

They used the photos they took of their costumes to create either a rub-out painting or an alla prima (wet on wet) one, giving them a choice of technique.


















































Collection of Warm Ups

Warm ups for Middle school

At the beginning of each of my lessons while student teaching, I started the class with warm ups consisting of 3-10 minute activities to get the kids engaged.

Draw yourself at age 90












Draw a futuristic car that represents yourself

Draw three animals together in one mythological creature using three materials