Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Tree House for Me! Elementary Art Sub Plan

"A Treehouse for Me!"  Elementary Art Sub Lesson Plans

Kids love the idea of secret and special places that are reserved for just them. I never had a treehouse as a kid but I always loved seeing them in movies and reading about them in books. Knowing that kids would love imagining them, I created this art project about treehouses.

"A Treehouse for Me!" as a Sub Lesson 

This lesson has always been a big hit with my own students, so I wrote it up as an art sub-plan. Why leave the sub lessons that you wouldn't love to teach? 

I write the lessons for my TPT shop in a way that anyone can teach them.  This one is chock full of images of real tree houses and student drawings of them. All anyone would need to do to teach this would be to show each page/slide; read the script on them; ask the questions, and pass out the supplies.  

child drawing of a treehouse for an art lesson

Enjoyed by Kids in K-8th Grade

Originally, I taught this as a 5th-grade art project, but in the reviews for this lesson, teachers say they have taught it in K-8th grade with great success. Here are some reviews left by teachers who have used this:

So, if you want an art lesson or a sub-plan this is a sure thing, click here to go check it out at my TeachersPayTeachers shop: Art Sub Lessons. (It costs less than a cup of coffee, so you can't go wrong!)

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Kindergarten Art Sub Plan and Worksheets

 Emergency Art Sub Plan for Kindergarten

Has this ever happened to you?

A lot of us have experienced the effects of someone else not being able to get a substitute teacher. Sometimes you inherit just a few extra kids from that class and sometimes you get the whole bunch. If you are lucky, someone tells you to expect it before they show up at the art room door. If it has never happened to you, wow, you live a charmed life!!!!  It will likely happen to you at some point in time though, so best be prepared!

Kindergarten Art Lesson Ideas

Mr. E, over on the blog, Art with Mr. E has written a post about just this to help you get ready for the inevitable. Click here to check it out:  "50 Kindergarteners By Myself!"

If you have a coworker art teacher, please share that post with them because you might be the one who is without a sub one day and they add your classes to theirs.

More Simple (and FREE!) Ideas to Help You Prepare

If you want some simple art lesson ideas for when you are in a pinch, check out these FREE downloadables:

"Circle Drawing Game"- and - "What Can You Draw From Circles?"free downloadable worksheets

"Lines, Lines, and More Lines" - a fully formed and free art lesson for primary students 

"Directed Drawing - How to Draw a Penguin" - downloadable worksheet

"Art Sub Plan - Wayne Thiebaud" - a video I created specifically for use by an art sub. This lets ME teach while you monitor all those kids!!!

"Faith Ringold - Art Sub Lesson" - another video I created for use by an art sub. Again, I'll teach the lesson so that you can monitor all those kids!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Faith Ringgold - Art Sub Plans for Elementary

Art Sub Plans for Elementary School - Tar Beach

Kids love when they get to use their imaginations and we need to give them more of an opportunity to do just that. Reading Faith Ringgold's book, Tar Beach, is a great entry point for a creative drawing activity.

Video - Tar Beach - Art Lesson Plan

photo from art sub lesson about Faith Ringgold

I created this this video to use with a 1st and 2nd-grade art project and specifically for use by a substitute teacher. If your sub (or YOU!!!) have access to YouTube videos, this video will do most of the work for you. Some days you need to take a break and let someone else teach, so why not let me do it?

Art Lesson Plan - No Prep, Scripted, with Simple Materials

If you want a fully formed, no prep, and quality version of this lesson that you can hand to your sub (or the office secretary), Click here to see this lesson.
It costs less than a cup of Starbucks!

Monday, December 7, 2020

Dream House - Art Sub Plans Elementary

DreamHouse - Art Sub Plans Elementary

This is an easy lesson that I would adapt to middle school art lessons as well as elementary ones. Mrs. Filmore has an idea for a first-grade architecture drawing lesson. I like open ended lessons as sub lessons, especially for subs who are not confident enough to draw.  Check out her lesson called "Dream House with Patterns."

middle school student drawing of a dream house
If you have time to plan ahead of time, I would leave drawings or photos of a variety of types of houses to go along with this lesson. Also, I would have a sheet or poster board depicting a variety of patterns that the students may be inspired by; and a few student examples. 

Her blog is named, "Art with Mrs. Filmore." This lesson idea is near the bottom of a blog post called, "1st Grade Art."

More Lessons that Integrate with the Study of Architecture

A Home with an Onion Dome

This lesson focuses on the beauty and uniqueness of this architectural element and shows how architects from the past and present have used this element in a variety of ways.

Captivating Castles

In this lesson, students will learn about castles from medieval Europe, including the exterior architecture and the reasons for their design. Students will draw a castle of their own design utilizing architectural elements they have learned.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Ugly Christmas Sweater - Art Sub Lesson Plans

Ugly Christmas Sweater Art Sub Lesson

Ugly Christmas sweaters are an enigma to me. The less ugly ones are what we teachers loved back in the '80s. They were just "cute" back then. Oh well, now they are "ugly." 

So, what makes an ugly Christmas sweater? As far as I can tell, they are Christmas sweaters that are just way over the top.  Too much pattern.  Too many colors. An odd theme that is married to the Christmas theme.  Fringe. Bangles. Sequins. Glitz. So, if you can give your students an idea of just what makes a holiday gaudy, tacky, and just plain ugly, you can start with those things. 

Template for an Ugly Christmas Sweater Drawing

This clip art site,, offers up a free outline of a Christmas sweater. Want to have students do an "ugly Christmas sweater" drawing? Here's a place to start. Black and White Sweater

If you'd like for your students to do the lesson as a directed drawing, they could follow along with this YouTube video by Young Rembrandts.  Teaching Kids to Draw an Ugly Christmas Sweater.

If you would like a fully formed, 25-page lesson that can be taught by anyone, art teachers, sub, or parents, check out the lesson by Cool Classroom Stuff on TPT.  It is a no-prep, fully scripted lesson with tons of examples. There are four templates from which the students can choose.

Elementary student drawing of an ugly Christmas sweater

Monday, October 26, 2020

Art Sub Plans for Day of the Dead

Elementary Art Sub Plans for Day of the Dead

Here's a super sweet and short video that kids would enjoy watching during a Dia de Los Muertos lesson and would help for an art sub lesson. Day of the Dead Video

There are plenty of lessons around that you could teach with this. Here are a couple.

The first one is a STEAM activity for drawing a symmetrical sugar skull. Click here to see it at the TPT Shop: Cool Classroom Stuff.
Drawing of Symmetrical Sugar Skull for Dia de los Muertos

The second one includes three doodle worksheets for sugar skulls, piƱatas, and sombreros. Click here to find it at the TPT Shop:  Centers and Early Finishers
Drawings of sugar skull, sombrero, and pinata

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Art Sub Plan Idea - Drone's Eye View

Drone's Eye View - Middle School Art Plan

This is a great art sub idea for elementary, middle and high school art from Blick. It can be adapted in so many ways.

Is your sub someone that you know and would watch a short video to introduce them to the lesson? Perfect! If not, you can write out some simple plans by watching the video yourself. Here’s a pdf on Buick’s site for the lesson: Drone’s Eye View

You will need to print out satellite views from Google for the students to choose from. Subs would probably need to have students draw the simple shapes they see on the map, but then can color in with crayons. Painting with a sub is generally a bad idea unless they are experienced in such things.

Anyway, check out this lesson from Blick,  It might be a lesson you want to teach yourself!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Birdcages - Art Sub Lessons

Art Sub Plans for Elementary and Middle School 

This is a preview of a lesson I created for my TPT shop, Art Sub Lessons. While it was written with a sub in mind, it can be taught by anyone.

Go here to take a look:  Art Lesson: Birdcages

This elementary and middle school art lesson may be used for distance learning or in person. Also perfect for sick leave, maternity leave, and homeschooling. It is fully scripted, with visuals, so that it may be taught by subs, teachers, or parents. Students are shown many examples of fancy birdcages from history to the present. They then create imaginative drawings of their own, though if distance-learning or homeschooling, teachers may choose to let their students create the birdcage using media they have available. This might include crayons, pencils, markers, collages, digital media, or 3D materials.

What you get: 

15 slides featuring birdcages by artists throughout history

27 slides that are a fully scripted art lesson

7 pages of directed drawing

5 images of student examples

7 full pages of  images of birds and student samples that may be printed out and hung up

1-page birdcage template of the birdcage in case you want to skip drawing the shape of the birdcage

1 page of directions for how to teach the lesson

1 page of how to finish the lesson

This PowerPoint is non-editable, however, you may change the text by adding text boxes and text over what is provided.

More Open-Ended Art Sub Plans

Beyond the Gingerbread Man

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Elementary Art Sub Plans - Kooky Cars

Elementary and Middle School Art Sub Lesson 

One of the lessons I love teaching the most is one I call, "Kooky Cars." It is both an art history lesson and a creative drawing lesson about art cars. It includes the work of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Keith Haring. The students imagine their own crazy art cars and draw one of their own.

drawing of an art car for an elementary art lesson

Here is a review that I got this week about this lesson:

"My students absolutely loved this project! In fact, it is their favorite one to do, and they ask to repeat it quite often. It kept them engaged in creating and wanting to learn more about the artists that were represented in the slides. They learned to think out of the box and to use their voice through their art. Thank you so much for sharing your lesson. We all love it!"

Yay! My students have always loved it too!

child's drawing of an art car for an art lesson

Friday, July 24, 2020

Free Art Sub Plan - Shoe Prints

Free Elementary and Middle School Art Lesson - Shoe Prints

sample drawing for an art sub plan with shoe and pattern

This attractive artwork was done with simple supplies. Paper and crayons. If your students can trace their shoe, they can do this activity.

First, they trace their shoe on their paper. After observing the tread that is on the bottom of their shoes, they will create a pattern on the traced shoe. (Sneakers are likely to have patterned tread.)

Next, they will trace that shoe again in the background and add pattern to that shoe drawing.

They will continue to repeat that until the paper is full. 

Color in.
If you liked this lesson idea, you might like this 26 page, fully formed and scripted lesson on TPT.  Click here to see this lesson on TPT. 

This elementary and middle school art sub lesson includes slides about the artist and two projects for the students to draw. It is great for teaching elementary and middle school students about abstract art and the artist, Bruce Gray. 

Written for a sub, it may also be taught by parents, classroom teachers, art teachers, and homeschool teachers.

Supplies needed for the art lesson are pencils, paper, markers or crayons, rulers and circles of various sizes.

These lessons may be taught in several ways. You may project it as a regular PowerPoint. You may print it out and have the students sit close as if you were reading them a book. You could print out the slides and project them from a document camera.

You or your sub will only need to read the script and ask the questions given, then allow the students to respond. Visuals and directions are given for each step in creating the artwork.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

STEAM Art Sub Lessons Idea - City of the Future

STEAM  Lesson for Elementary, Middle and High School

I get ideas for art sub lessons from all sort of places.  This one came from Flickr. Fabrice Florin teaches an after school STEAM course called "Maker Art" at Tam High. While the initial lesson eventually leads to a sophisticated sculpture, the idea could be a great jumping off place for an art sub lesson. Check out his Flickr page to see more in depth ideas for this lesson. 

middle school drawing of a futuristic city

by Fabrice Florin
City of the Future: Second Class at Tam High

City of the Future Finished Sculpture

If you like the idea of your students using their imaginations to create a new environment, you might like this lesson that I wrote. It is complete with script and many images. It is also no prep. Perfect for you, subs, or parents.  Secret Rooms and Hidden Passageways

Friday, July 10, 2020

Circle Art Lessons | Art Sub Plans Worksheets

Back to School Art Worksheets and Art Sub Lessons

When you are teaching your art classes at the very beginning of the school year, there is so much to go over; introductions; expectations; classroom rules; and what they will be learning that year. After all that, sometimes all you have time left to do is something simple. Here are some simple art activities that might fit well in that short time you have left.

Circle Worksheets, Lessons, and Videos

Here's a free worksheet that I put in my TPT shop so that you could download it. It is free, so go help yourself! Circle Drawing Game - Free Worksheet

A variation of this idea can be found at the Bay Area Discovery Center site. There are variations for a group activity and a solo one. 

Here's another free worksheet that I just threw in.  "What Can You Draw from a Circle?" You can download that at my TPT shop also.  Click here for the free worksheet, "What Can You Make from a Circle?"

This next activity can be found on and is called:  “Drawing Game.” Here is the link: Circle Drawing Game  Their idea is for you to recreate the images that they give you.  You certainly could also let the kids use their imaginations to draw their own circle images.

Here's a YouTube video titled, "How to Draw different things using Circle Shapes." It is more of a step-by-step activity. 

One idea that I have seen around the internet is for the students to draw a picture that starts with one black dot.  This would work for "Dot Day" or just an easy back-to-school lesson. This one is from Jill Bradley, Fine Art.


Here is a worksheet that I created. You are welcome to print and use it. The instructions are simply "What can you make from circles." There are circles of various sizes. Feel free to use these as you like. 

No Prep Art Lessons for Teachers and Subs

If you are looking for fully formed, no prep art lessons that anyone can teach check out my TeachersPayTeachers Shop, Art Sub Lessons. Here are some activities that would be good for getting back in the groove of school.

"The Colorful Art of Bruce Gray" is a lesson with lots of circles and could easily work for back to school. Super easy and could be taught by parents, teachers, or subs. Includes a lot of information and visuals about a contemporary artist. It is one basic lesson but could result in two separate art projects. 

"Lines, Lines, and More Lines" is a free lesson for preschool, kindergarten, or first grade. All the visuals are there along with a script. It uses simple supplies. It could be taught by parents, teachers, or sub. Fun and easy to do.

Silly Sandwiches" is a fun lesson that can be taught to elementary, middle, or high school as a beginning of the year lesson. Lots of fun!

"Negative and Positive Space" an easy lesson that could be taught to upper elementary or middle school, at home, or in school. Lots of visuals and a full script for what to say. 

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Art Sub Lessons for Elementary - Ugly Bug Ball

Ugly Bug Ball - Art Sub Plans

One easy path to take with an art sub lesson is to read a book or show a video and then have students draw their own interpretation from that.

Here is a vintage clip that I love.  "Ugly Bug Ball." It is fun to watch and uplifting.  Kids can watch and then proceed to draw their own ugly bug ball.

Pencils, paper, crayons and you are good to go.

I also have a lesson in my TPT shop that goes along with that but you really don't need it.  It gives your sub more of a structure with a fully prepared script and lots of examples though.  There are even art history references!

Ugly Bug Ball Lesson Plan

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Videos for Distance Art Learning

Videos for Art Sub Lessons and Distance Learning

If your students have access to the web and YouTube, there are some sites that they can access easily. 

Here are some you might check out.

The Kennedy Center
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

Mr. Pstudios is an art teacher. His YouTube channel includes drawing activities for kids.

The blog, Art Room Videos, has links to lots of individual art videos that have been previewed for kids.

The Dad Lab has lots of videos. Your students may have access to lots of materials, so check out his entire channel. For those whose students may have limited supplies, here are some videos that might work for you.
Crayon Rubbing with Legos 
Shadow Drawing
Draw with Your Feet 
Tree Bark Rubbing

Young Rembrandts They have some directed drawings. They also have an online course that you can pay for that is off of YouTube

Robin Art School  They do a lot of directed, step-by-step drawing.

Art for Kids Hub  They do a lot of directed, step-by-step drawing.  

Mark Kistler is a long time favorite for kids wanting to draw better. I would suggest these for upper elementary and middle school.  Many of his videos are hour long, which I suspect will not work for most kids.  Finding the shorter videos, I sorted by "most popular." I saw a lot that were around ten minutes long.

The Art Project has lots of videos you might like for older kids. His drawing prompt videos are the perfect length for kids drawing at home.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Art Sub Lessons - Sugar Skulls

Sugar Skulls - Art Sub Plans Elementary

Cinco de Mayo is in a few days. Drawing sugar skulls would be a fun elementary activity for distance learning or classroom learning and they could be tied into the holiday.

Here is a YouTube tutorial that you could send your students to that is easy to follow.

If you need something in paper form, check out this set of worksheets from the TPT Shop: Centers and Early Finishers. It can also be set up as an art center; used as an early finishers project, or taught as an art sub lesson.  There are templates, sample patterns, and examples of three different designs.   TPT Shop: Centers and Early Finishers