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October 12, 2016 Easy and Awesome Autumn Art By Nancy Jang
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Every year, I see teachers searching for fun crafts and cute seasonal projects that connect to the holiday or season. I love those types of projects too, but when I mention drawing or teaching the elements of art to other teachers, I am often met with the comment “I can’t draw.” But I say, everyone can draw and if you are a teacher, you can teach art. I always remind these art-shy teachers that they don’t have to be a mathematician to teach math, or an engineer to build a catapult, or a professional athlete to teach PE. So even if you feel as though you can't draw, this is an easy art project that lends itself perfectly to fall designs.

    First, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with all of the elements of art. Here is a quick handout that kids can keep in their art notebooks from AwesomeArtists.com. There are other great downloadable handouts, posters, and booklets that make teaching the elements of art and the principals of design easy. The handouts are a wonderfully simple visual reference tool to make writing, discussing, and analyzing art easier. There are also great sample lesson plans that study great artists such as Henri Matisse and Claude Monet. During the year, I try and introduce a few terms every week and complete an art piece that best illustrates those terms.

    Next, I comb Pinterest to find awesome easy to do art projects. Last year, I fell in love with Zentangles. It’s doodling using patterns and lines to create dramatic designs. Most of the examples I found were created by adults, but I knew that this could easily be adapted to any age and any ability level. The designs can be as simple or as complex as the student wishes. It’s easy to prep, relaxing for the students, and the results are gorgeous. Here are a few beautiful examples from my co-worker and friend Rebecca Olsen.

    So how do you get started? First, practice different line designs on a plain white paper. We folded the paper into sixteen sections. Then, I gave them about 10 ideas to practice drawing. I introduced zigzags, stripes, dots, wave, basket weave, and spirals. After practicing the designs, I let students create some of their own patterns and designs. As we practiced, I introduced the words organic and linear to describe the type of lines as well as the terms pattern and shape. We used this as our “Idea Page.” If there are a few extra minutes in between lessons, students can grab their “Idea Page” and try a new design. After the students are familiar with forming the patterns, any shape can be filled with the designs.

    Here is an example of a Zentangle inside a maple leaf outline. I found a clipart outline of a leaf on Microsoft Clipart that was divided into small sections. Then, students drew different designs in each section.

    We talked about balancing organic shapes with lines and repeating patterns. Afterwards, they traced every line with a permanent marker.

    Even though I used a leaf, this project easily lends itself to any shape. You could use a pumpkin, a heart, or keep it simple and use a circle or square.

    For more great art project ideas, follow my Second Grade Art Board on Pinterest @sunnyinsocal.

    Happy Teaching,

    Nancy

    Every year, I see teachers searching for fun crafts and cute seasonal projects that connect to the holiday or season. I love those types of projects too, but when I mention drawing or teaching the elements of art to other teachers, I am often met with the comment “I can’t draw.” But I say, everyone can draw and if you are a teacher, you can teach art. I always remind these art-shy teachers that they don’t have to be a mathematician to teach math, or an engineer to build a catapult, or a professional athlete to teach PE. So even if you feel as though you can't draw, this is an easy art project that lends itself perfectly to fall designs.

    First, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with all of the elements of art. Here is a quick handout that kids can keep in their art notebooks from AwesomeArtists.com. There are other great downloadable handouts, posters, and booklets that make teaching the elements of art and the principals of design easy. The handouts are a wonderfully simple visual reference tool to make writing, discussing, and analyzing art easier. There are also great sample lesson plans that study great artists such as Henri Matisse and Claude Monet. During the year, I try and introduce a few terms every week and complete an art piece that best illustrates those terms.

    Next, I comb Pinterest to find awesome easy to do art projects. Last year, I fell in love with Zentangles. It’s doodling using patterns and lines to create dramatic designs. Most of the examples I found were created by adults, but I knew that this could easily be adapted to any age and any ability level. The designs can be as simple or as complex as the student wishes. It’s easy to prep, relaxing for the students, and the results are gorgeous. Here are a few beautiful examples from my co-worker and friend Rebecca Olsen.

    So how do you get started? First, practice different line designs on a plain white paper. We folded the paper into sixteen sections. Then, I gave them about 10 ideas to practice drawing. I introduced zigzags, stripes, dots, wave, basket weave, and spirals. After practicing the designs, I let students create some of their own patterns and designs. As we practiced, I introduced the words organic and linear to describe the type of lines as well as the terms pattern and shape. We used this as our “Idea Page.” If there are a few extra minutes in between lessons, students can grab their “Idea Page” and try a new design. After the students are familiar with forming the patterns, any shape can be filled with the designs.

    Here is an example of a Zentangle inside a maple leaf outline. I found a clipart outline of a leaf on Microsoft Clipart that was divided into small sections. Then, students drew different designs in each section.

    We talked about balancing organic shapes with lines and repeating patterns. Afterwards, they traced every line with a permanent marker.

    Even though I used a leaf, this project easily lends itself to any shape. You could use a pumpkin, a heart, or keep it simple and use a circle or square.

    For more great art project ideas, follow my Second Grade Art Board on Pinterest @sunnyinsocal.

    Happy Teaching,

    Nancy

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