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October 14, 2010 Teaching Art in the Classroom Part Two By Nancy Jang
Grades 1–2, 3–5


    All right, now you have a positive attitude and are ready to tackle teaching art to your class. Here are five art lessons for you to do in your classroom. Three times a year, our school uses Art Masters, which focuses on art history and some of the great masterpieces. So for my class, I have developed some art projects that are not covered in the program from artists that I liked.

     Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office Clipart.


    Compositionabypietmondrian emptyeasel

    Piet Mondrian: Geometric Shapes, Line, Color

    Piet Mondrian art image courtesy of Making Art Fun.

    We study vertical and horizontal lines, geometric shapes, and color. I look up his biography on Wikipedia and talk a little bit about his life and how his art evolved over the course of it.

    For our class art project, we use a ruler and pencil to draw in the vertical and horizontal lines. Then the students go over the pencil lines with black Sharpie or black crayon. After that, we use watercolors to color in sections of the piece. We begin with yellow, followed by red, then blue. Finally, they can choose a few sections to color black. I try to remind them to leave some white spaces in their picture. You can see the results here. Mondrian



    David Hockney: Landscapes

    David Hockney art image courtesy of Millthorpe Art Department Gallery.

    With the landscapes, the students use some oil pastels to draw the road, the trees, and the house. Then we use watercolors to fill in the rest of the landscape. When it's dry, the students use a black Sharpie marker or crayon to outline details in portions of their picture.




    Frank Lloyd Wright: Stained Glass Windows

    Image courtesy of

    Frank Lloyd Wright was an amazing artist and architect.  I found images from Google images of his work to create a PowerPoint presentation tour of some of his buildings and windows. I also talk about his life by finding information on Wikipedia.

    This lesson came from the Orange County Museum of Art, done when they were hosting a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass exhibit.

    Using overhead pens and transparencies, the students create stained glass windows. We use rulers and black Vis-à-Vis pens to create a pattern on the transparency. Then using overhead transparency markers, they color on portions of their designs. Using colored Sharpie markers works as well. We tape the finished product on a black frame, back them with white paper, and then display them on our classroom window. 

    Matisse,polynesia, the sky

    Henri Matisse: Paper Collage Mural and Interior Still Life

    Henri Matisse Polynesia, The Sky and The Goldfish images provided by

    We actually do two different projects with Matisse. We model our collaborative effort after this picture from Matisse, made when he was using paper collage. First we brainstorm ideas for a theme and names for the piece. Then we vote on it as a class. Students cut out shapes inspired by the theme and decide where to put it on the large sheet of butcher paper to create a mural.  This year, our class voted for the theme "Under the Sea." So all the kids cut out shapes based on what they thought was in the ocean. Most of the kids cut out five or so different shapes. I could have glued some dark blue pieces onto the paper before they started, but the kids voted against it.



    We also create an oil pastel and watercolor crayon piece modeled after The Goldfish. I also read these two books to the kids: A Bird or Two by Bijou Le Tord and Henri Matisse Drawing with Scissors by Keesia Johnson, Jane O'Connor, and Jessie Hartland.

    MatissebookMatisse drawingwithscissors


    Well, I hope that I have inspired you to support arts education and teach art in your class. Join me next week as I post about character education using Inch and Miles by Coach John Wooden.  Thanks for reading!

    Happy teaching,









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