Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Lettering and Typography for Middle School Art


Elementary and Middle School Art Sub Lesson with Typography 

"Ms. Art Teacher" did this lesson with students and then also left it as a sub lesson.  It is based on the book Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types, by Werner and Forss.

The illustrator has filled in the shape of the animal with the name of the animal. I can imagine where this same idea can be applied to other images of things and using a variety of words to describe the image.

This is an alphabet book to help little ones to read, so your older kids won’t be so interested in that part. The illustrations are really interesting though. “Ms. Art Teacher” did the lesson with 2nd through 7th graders. She also left the lesson with a sub and found that was successful.

There are multiple read-aloud of the book on YouTube, so you can always fall back on that if you can’t find the book itself.

I found another interested item about lettering on the website graffitidiplomacy.com. That website seems to no longer exist, but this one worksheet I found seems to have survived.  

Kids want to know how to write in bubble letters. Some gets get it and some need a little help. Maybe I'll make a worksheet for the whole alphabet.  Hmmmm.....

Anyway, that could be another direction to take the idea of lettering or typography.

If you'd like a quick explanation for how to create bubble letters, here's a YouTube video that's just a little over 2 minutes long.  How to Draw Bubble Letters for Kids

If you'd like a video done with the balloon or oval method of creating bubble letters, check out this one from: Pin Koro, Very Easy! How to Draw Graffiti Bubble Letters ABC

Do you have any other lettering lessons you love? 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

One Day Art Lesson

One Day Art Sub Lesson

Jessica Young used this plan initially as an art sub lesson for fourth grade. When she needed a quick art lesson for herself, she pulled this one out and used it for other grades as well.
You can check out Jessica's blog here:  Miss Young's Art Room. 

She says that her students stayed engaged for the whole class time with this. She also gave ideas for those few early finishers and those who took it a little too slow to finish in art. 

The materials she used were markers and paper. With subs, I am careful about leaving markers. If I know the sub and trust them to emphasize using the markers with care, I would leave markers. Otherwise, crayons would work just fine.

Miss Young demonstrated how to draw a "criss cross" star with her kids and then showed them how to repeat the lines in and around that star. I think you could also provide students with templates of other shapes for this. Basic shapes? Animal shapes? 

After that, the same shape is repeated to smaller and smaller shapes.

Check out her blog to see other examples.

If you would like to use masterpieces from art history to introduce the lesson, here is an idea that might work well.

in public domain

This is Kandinsky's Color Study, Squares with Concentric Circles from 1913.  

Here's another lesson plan that you could use to create a lead in for this lesson: "Kandinsky Squares with Concentric Circles,"at the blog, Art Prep has a good, meaty description of Kandinsky and his work.

They talk about Kandinsky choosing to switch to from using subjects in his paintings to focusing on line and color. This is great information for your lesson.

If you would like to use an art sub plan that is fully formed and ready to hand to a sub, check out this one in my TPT shop: Art Sub Lessons. It is no prep and fully scripted. It can be taught by anyone.

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 students about abstract art and the artist, Bruce Gray.

Written for a sub, it may also be taught by 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.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Art Sub Plans - Cows on Parade

Cows on Parade Art Sub Plans - Middle School and Elementary

How fun to watch a parade!!! It’s been a while since I’ve been to one, but I can’t wait to see another. My heart starts to pump hard when I hear that bass drum in the distance, and tears start to well up when the rest of the band comes into earshot.

I hope that your kids have gotten a chance to see a parade or two.

Here are some fun art lessons based on the events in multiple cities called a “Cow Parade.” Here’s a website for the main idea: Cow Parade 

These cow forms have been painted by all sorts of folks, including famous artists and designers. 

Here’s a blog post about how this teacher created artist themed bulletin boards with the theme of Cow Parade in mind.  Cow Parade at Middle Brook School I believe that her students also made small ones for themselves. 

Art room bulletin board for Cows on Parade

You could totally form an art sub lesson around this. I would created cardboard cow templates for the kids to trace and them let them create their own designs inside. 

Get some images from the web about designs that have been used, or purchase some of the Cow Parade books. I think kids would have fun with this.

I wrote another post on the topic a few years ago. You can find that one here:  HerDabbles blog: Cows on Parade

Monday, April 26, 2021

Directed Drawings - Spring - Art Sub Lessons

Directed Drawings for Kindergarten and First Grade

Art sub plans for primary students can be tricky. You really need to keep them engaged.

I noticed that there are not a lot of kindergarten art sub lessons out in the world, ready to use, so I created a few. 

Directed drawings are loved by elementary students. I like for them to have room for individuality and creativity too. Here are ones that work great for spring and summer.
Child's drawing of 3 patterned birds with one upside down

This lesson was written for kindergarten and first grade, but I added a second lesson in the package for the rest of elementary. 

"Kooky Birds on a Branch" is a directed drawing that can be drawn as three birds on top of a branch or two birds on top of a branch and one hanging under. Kids follow, step by step, for the drawing part and then add their own details.

It also teaches how to color neatly and includes a rubric.
child's marker drawing of a patterned bird with flowers

"Springtime Bird with Pattern and Flowers" was written for kindergarten but older elementary students would enjoy drawing it as well. It includes a template for making this a greeting card.

It is also no prep and fully scripted.

The last one, "Bird in a Tree with Flowers," is a directed drawing for elementary students that can also be used as a greeting card. It is also no prep and fully scripted.

child's drawing of birds, tree and flowers

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Kindergarten Art Sub Ideas with Paul Klee’s “Cat and Bird”

Kindergarten Art Sub Ideas with “Cat and Bird"

child drawing of a patterned cat and background
When creating a sub plan that needs only simple instructions and materials, Klee's painting, "Cat and Bird," might be just the foundation upon which to build.  

Paul Klee Idea Emphasizing  Shape, Pattern, and Warm and Cool Colors 

The teachers at Jamestown Elementary, Ms. Worden and Ms. Teitsma have written a blog post that suggests rich resources from which to teach this lesson. 

child drawings of patterned cats and background

Since my older students would often ask if they could do a lesson that the little kids did, I know that sometimes they like the simple lessons too. The perfect time to let them do one of those simple lessons is when they have a substitute teacher in art.

Check out this lesson at Jamestown Elementary Art Blog.

Paul Klee Idea Emphazing Color and Shape

Another take on this lesson can be found at the blog, Art at Miquon.  Ms. Batchelor, at The Miquon School, taught a unit on Klee for multiple grades and this blog post shares the inspirations for that in this blog post. Again, this is a lesson that could be easy enough for anyone to teach with the right resources. This is no cookie-cutter lesson and each drawing is unique.

Elementary drawing of cats

Monday, March 15, 2021

Art Sub Plans: What to Do When the Lesson is Over

 Art Sub Plans: What to Do When the Lesson is Over

I'm always looking around for ideas to share with you about substitute teaching in art.  Today I found something I know your sub would love to know about. 

You know subbing is hard.  Yikes! We all have witnessed it with our own eyes. The lesson is finished and the sub is there with a class of kids who have nothing else to do. That's a recipe for bad behaviors to flare up

Janine Chen has come up with 50 Quick Activities for When Sub Lessons Run Short.  I would suggest that you print out the top five ones you think would work with your students and include them in your sub folder. Some might be new to you. Some are classics.  Kids will have fun with them and your sub will love you for it.

Ready Made Activities for Early Finishers

If you would like some printed worksheets for early finishers, you can find free and inexpensive ones at my TPT shop: Art Sub Lessons.

Circle Game - Free Art Worksheet 

Teachers, subs and parents may use this as an art game; a challenge; an early finishers activity; or an art lesson. Students create as many designs as they can think of using the circles provided. They may create imaginary objects; doodle designs; or as a way to list the things they can think of that are circular in shape. 

Early Finishers Art Activity - Create a Dragon in Disguise

One worksheet shows the lightly drawn in outline of a dragon. Around the sides of the paper are sample details that a student may use to create an original cartoon dragon. I have added an additional full page outline of a dragon that could be used. The student will also add details from their imaginations. After they have added all the details, they are directed to add a background and color their drawing. Much more of a creative outlet than a coloring sheet, your students will enjoy working on their own cartoon. This is one of those art activities in which every creation is a hit!

Early Finishers Art Activity -Create a Frog in Disguise

Need an art activity for an independent work packet? This drawing worksheet includes directions; sample details; and a lightly drawn in frog. All you need to do is print and distribute. Great for centers, subs and early finishers too.

Early Finishers Art Activity- Lego Character

This drawing worksheet includes directions; sample details; and a lightly drawn in Lego character. All you need to do is print and distribute. Great for centers, subs and early finishers too.

Early Finishers Art Activity - Red Riding Hood

Print and go. This art worksheet is a creative activity for students. The worksheet inclues a lightly drawn outline of Little Red Riding Hood. There are also sample details that the student may wish to include. They may also invent their own. A sheet of finished examples is included. This could be part of a station or center. It could be used in the classroom, art room, or with a sub. All the students need to provide are pencils, crayons and their imagination. (Bonus: I have just added a full page outline of Little Red Riding Hood as another drawing option you might choose.)

Early Finishers Art Activity - Trolls

Here's a review from a middle school teacher: "I loved how this ties in with the current Trolls movie- which so many of my students have seen being at home now. They enjoyed the assignment and being able to have the freedom to create whatever they wanted to make. Great activity !!"

There are plenty more as well.  Check them out at my shop:  Art Sub Lessons.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Magical and Imaginary Characters Art Sub Lesson

Imaginary and Magical Creatures - St. Patrick's Day Art 

The month of March is a fun opportunity to teach lessons about imaginary and magical creatures. Subs will love you for leaving them a lesson like this that will keep the kids engaged.

When you can be picky about who subs for you, I would request one that could use a DVD player or computer if I wanted to show a video. If you know you couldn't get that picky, find a picture book with leprechauns or about St. Patrick's Day.

When I teach this lesson or leave it for a sub, I love to show one of the old Reading Rainbow videos about St. Patrick's Day to go with it. You might be lucky enough to have it; find it to buy, or find it on YouTube. There are other resources you can use too, though. As of today, here's a YouTube video for the reading of "How to Catch a Leprechaun" on the Happy Cultivated channel. If you have access to the book itself, it is a good one to go with this lesson. (If you go with a video, always preview it first.)

Supplies Needed
-black pens, if they know how to use them properly OR pencils
-a book or video about leprechauns or magical creatures

Dear Sub, Thank you so much for coming in today. You will be teaching kindergarten through fifth grade and my classes are all 55 minutes long.

I expect the children to work with a minimum of noise. Whispering might be okay but loud play isn't okay. Use your own judgment on what you will accept. If the whole class does not respect the noise level, you can have them put their heads down for a couple of minutes. This usually takes care of the problem when it does happen.

The lessons for today show the theme of St. Patrick's Day. Ask the students if they know anything about the holiday. Show them the DVD about St. Patrick's Day. It is already in the DVD player under the projector. (Press the red button on the projector once. Press the play button on the DVD player. To turn off the projector, press the red button slowly two times.)

Ask them to tell you about the magical creatures they saw in the video. What did they look like? What did they do? Have them talk about their magic. What was at the end of the rainbow?

Since magical creatures are imaginary, we could invent our own lucky creatures. It could be an animal. It could look like a person. It could have wings. It could be a magic genie. What color would it be? What magic could they do? Would they have treasure? Where would their treasure be? Would they be like a dragon? Would they be a magic horse or some other animal?

Think up a lucky creature that you would like to find. Draw your magical lucky creatures and show what magic they could do. You might have a lot of lucky creatures that live together.

Send three at a time to the taller tables and two to the shorter ones. Pick one student from each table to get supplies. They should get the following:
black pens
crayons (in the blue boxes)
paper (they should line up in front of you and tell you how many sheets they need for their table)

They should begin by writing their name and class codes on their papers. They will draw and color what they would like to happen on their lucky day. Remind them to work hard and use their imaginations.

As students start to finish, you can start playing the videos on the disk related to St. Patrick's Day. Students who are finished can watch the videos. Ones who want to continue to work on their artwork may do that as well.

They may watch that until the end of class or you can have the children bring their artwork to you....and you show the art, one at a time, to the class. Students should clap for each other when you show each picture. (Remind them to clap for everyone!)

At the time for the end of class, line the children up to wait for their teacher.

If you would like to leave a worksheet activity that your sub could use with this lesson, check out this activity in my TPT shop: Create a Leprechaun in Disguise It is great for early finishers.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Crayon and Simple Media | Art Sub Lesson Idea

Recycled Crayons as the Main Medium - Kindergarten

Always on the lookout for sub plans for art, I stumbled across this website today. 

Here's an art lesson that I have seen before, but here they give the numbers of standards and objectives that you might have to use when you submit your sub lessons.

This is a version of "Alphabet Soup" that could be used from kindergarten to fifth grade. Click here to see this lesson plan and others:  Crayon Collection.org

Crayon Drawing as an Art Sub Plan


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

2 Easy Valentine's Day Art Sub Lessons

2 Valentine Art Sub Lesson Plans

We're always on the lookout for easy art sub plans for elementary kids. You don't, don't, DON'T want to leave your sub with anything difficult if you are not sure who is showing up to teach for you. Here are two easy art lessons from two different shops that are ready to hand to a sub. They have lots of visuals and instructions. 

Elementary Level

Student drawing of a valentine heart design with pattern

This heart design activity could easily be created by you, but if you want one that is all ready to hand to a sub, the TPT Shop: Centers and Early Finishers might have just what you need. Click here if you want to take a closer look:  Valentine Art Activity for Centers, Subs, and Early Finishers Print copies of the template and the lesson and you're done.

Upper Elementary, Middle School or High School 

Valentine's Day Art Sub Plan

If you need something for an older crowd, check out this lesson from the TPT Shop: Fun Classroom stuff. It leads students through creating a radial symmetrical design for Valentine's Day.  Make copies of the template, and it is ready to be handed

Integrating art with math, this also would work well for a STEAM or STEM class.  Click here to see this one:  Valentine STEM or STEAM Kaleidoscope Activity for Math and Art

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Dragon Dance Art Sub Lesson for Kindergarten

Kindergarten Art Sub Plans

Chinese New Year is on Friday, February 12 this year. What a fun opportunity to teach primary students about another culture. 

Kindergarten drawing of a Chinese dragon parage

Chinese New Year Video

Here's a great children's video that does a nice job of teaching about Chinese New Year. This would be a nice introduction to the lesson.
Click here to see this video:  Learn About Chinese New Year

Dragon Dance is a lesson that you can create for Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year. There are children's books and YouTube videos about Chinese New Year Dragons that you can use to introduce the lesson and then have students draw their impressions of Chinese dragon costumes and Lunar New Year parades. 

Art Sub Lesson that is No-Prep and Fully Scripted

If you don't have the time to create your own lesson, I have one over at my TPT shop. The one I created was written for an art sub but it can be taught by anyone.  I've added lots of visuals and background that provide motivation for the students. Click here to check out my lesson: Dragon Dance - Kindergarten Art Sub Plan for Lunar New Year

I have heard from classroom teachers as well as art teachers who have taught this.  They all seemed to have success and the kids loved it.

Reviews of My Lesson on TPT

Here are some reviews of this lesson: "I think this is a colorful and detailed resource that I can use or have for a sub to use. I have a book of poems called The Dragons are Singing Tonight by Jack Prelutsky that will be an additional resource to integrate with this lesson."

"So much fun!!! Such a great resource! Loved the different dragon pictures!
Huge hit with my Kindergarten class."

"This was lots of fun! I used it as a last minute activity and it was well received!"

Click here to check this out at my TPT shop: Dragon Dance - Chinese New Year Art Lesson

Saturday, January 2, 2021

15 Art Sub Plan Ideas for Black History Month

icons for black artists

Elementary and Middle School Art Lessons about Black Artists

In my search for art sub plans that could be taught for Black History Month, I found 15 that I think would work really well. Some are written out as lesson plans; some are art lessons via video, and some are biographies that would be great starting points for a lesson.

"Caldecott winning author and illustrator, Javaka Steptoe, reads his book, "Radiant Child: Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat."  Click here to see this video:  Jean-Michel Basquiat

photo of the author and book cover for children's book, Radiant Child

Check out this video by clicking  here:  Becoming an Artist: Yinka Shonibare by Tate KidsYinka Shonibare @Tate Kids
drawing of artist Yinke Shonibare

Black History Icons - Group Drawing Project @WCPO9. Click here:  Group Drawing Project

black history - assembled drawing from art students

Art Bytes for Kids: Kehinde Wiley @Detroit Institute of Arts. Click here to see this video:  Kehinde Wiley

Meet Hip Hop's Favorite Artist: Kehinde Wiley @ CNN.  Click here to see this video:

Black History Month Art Projects - Art by Black Artists

I always like teaching art history as a part of my regular art lessons, so teaching black artists during Black History Month is a no brainer. Here are some fully prepared lesson plans in my TPT shop. They were created with an art sub in mind but could be taught by anyone.
Nick Cave - Art Sub Lesson @TPT Shop: Art Sub Lessons

This lesson includes many photos of Nick Caves's wonderful "soundsuits"; sample student drawings; a sample pattern sheet; templates for those who need it; a teacher script including directions, questions, and information about each slide. This could be taught by anyone.

Reggie Laurent - Art Sub Lesson @TPT Shop: Art Sub Lessons

This no-prep lesson was written so that it could be taught by art subs, but it could also be taught by art teachers, classroom teachers, and homeschool parents. Key topics include abstract art, organic, shapes, geometric shapes, and the art of Reggie Laurent. The materials needed are simple: paper and either crayon or marker. All directions for teachers and students are included.

Faith Ringgold - Art Lesson @TPT Shop: Art Sub Lessons

This kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd-grade art lesson is based on Faith Ringgold's, Tar Beach, which is a great read for Black History Month. (The book is not included.) This lesson uses simple materials; pencil, paper, and crayons. It can be taught by anyone, as it is fully scripted. It includes questions and directions too. This is aimed at primary-aged students.

Click here if you want to look at my whole shop: Art Sub Lessons

Black History Month Art Lessons from Museums
Aaron Douglas @The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum

The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum has two lessons based on the silhouette art of Aaron Douglas. They have a lesson for elementary students plus included one for preschoolers! (That's a rarity!) Also, they provide a video on the artist. You will find all three things here: Aaron Douglas Inspired Silhouette

Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, and Alma Thomas @The National Gallery of Art

This is a nice resource from the National Gallery of Art. It has lesson plans for all ages as well as downloadable materials. It includes lessons on Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, and Alma Thomas. (Some of the lessons are presented as painting lessons but could be adapted for drawing. If you are leaving a lesson for a sub, you RARELY would want to leave a painting lesson!!!)

Here is a link to
Art Tales - Pre-K resource which is a pdf with visuals and detailed lesson plans.

Click here to see this video: 
Alma Woodsey Thomas @The Magnificient Paintbrush

Click here to see this video:

Video - Black History Month Art Lessons
African Art Patterns for Kids @Traveling Art Room