Thaumatropes – 2nd through 5th Grades

the start of animation in the 1820’s!

Kids were coming in and out from quarantine here at school, so I came up with some short one day projects since they were here today and gone the next.  The thaumatrope is a wonderfully fun way to talk to about where animation got its start. Check out their characters in motion! Here is more information on its history.


Videos feature kids’ art such as “pig on a skateboard” and “horse.”


Dot Paintings After Yayoi Kusama

2nd and 3rd graders made lots of dots!

We watched a video of the book, The Dot, by Peter Reynolds and looked at the installation and painting work of Yayoi Kusama for dot inspiration.  After chatting about scale and using different sizes, colors and lines with dots, I let the kids go loose in watercolors. They could choose to place their dots on a figurative object or simply create an abstract work.  We talked about the differences between both.

Heart Paintings – 2nd to 5th Grade

Hearts and Shapes — Painting in Layers

Second through fifth grade celebrated Valentine’s Day in art class with a layered painting of hearts or shapes of choice. They created hearts in oil pastel and painted a layer of watercolor, let dry and added a layer of rubber cement in a design. Then after that dried, they added another layer of paint. When the whole thing was dry, they rubbed the rubber cement off to reveal a beautiful painting underneath! I explained to them not to be perfect and messier is better in this case!

Afrofuturism – 2nd through 5th Grades

Create a Self-portrait as an adult in 2050 or invent a healing machine

In my art room, I pay homage to artists of color every month, but Black History month helps collectively highlight Black celebrations and events., past present and future.   My focus was on Afrofuturism, which is a cultural style that combines science-fiction, history and fantasy to explore the African-American experience and aims to connect those from the Black diaspora with their African ancestry.  We watched a video about Sun Ra, science fiction and racial equity and I showed them slides on Wangechi Mutu.

They could choose between making a self-portrait in the year 2050 with plants, animals and machines or they could invent a machine that heals people in some way.

Student work