HighSchool Art Room: instruction and providing choice to students

Great BTSN & School Open House Art Lessons!

When a new school year begins, one of my goals is get art up right away.  My administration always appreciates having large, eye catching displays that include all the students!   

So I wanted to share a few of the things I worked on with my students to start the year!  They are certainly not limited to back to school night or open house night themes. In fact, they are not related to Fall or school starting at all, but they do look great as large displays.

I can see them being great for any culminating art display.  In fact, I am saving the works so that I can display them again at our year end, “Arts and Culture Night”.

            Kindergarten students drew self portraits in sharpie then added color with bleeding tissue.

First grade students dove right in to messy art making by creating painted paper on day one.  Let me share here, that I now work in a school that has hour long classes, which means I can do things like this on day one, because I have plenty of time to review procedures first! If you want some tips on organizing your class for painted paper, check out my previous post on that very challenge!

This lesson is connected to the illustrator, Eric Carle, and specifically his book, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle.  It was a great book to share at the start of the year as it covers growth in a learner. I used the story to talk with students about persistence.


Students cut out their pieces in the next class and glued their little creatures together.  It was a great way for me to observe and assess their scissor (and general fine motor) skills.

Above I have photos of the retro rockets lesson I did with my third grade students.  This is an idea I saw several years back on the wonderful blog, Painted Paper.  You can check out that post right here.   Because 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, I tied the rocket creation to this historical event.

My students really loved watching NASA you tube videos of the launch and snippets of the broadcast from the moon.  I tried to give the kids an idea of what a big moment this was.  And...I may have drawn them in with the Buzz Aldrin/Buzz Lightyear connection!

students discussing and experimenting with composition possibilitiesa close up of fourth grade Libs Elliot inspired collage

These fourth grade collages really turned out awesome! Many have done this before and found it to be a great collaborative experience.  If you somehow haven't seen Don Masse's lesson incorporating contemporary artist, Libs Elliot, jump over to it right here.

I added one small element to the project.  Students drew any straight line design in sharpie on their large triangle. I really liked the graphic element this added to the already highly graphic collages.

But the best part of this experience, was talking with the kids about the display possibilities and having them arrange and re-arrange the squares to create new compositions.

hung vertically by class

That's all I have to share right now!  Since we start school in August here in TN, we are already well underway and in fact, approaching our "Fall break".  I have some exciting Kindergarten work to share with you in my next blog post.  And I'll be working on posting more frequently this year.

Are you interested in other Kindergarten lessons?

click here to see a Pinterest popular lesson of mine making Kinder Mondrian style art into primary color wind socks!

Thanks as always for reading. I love to see everyone's school year start lessons on IG. Thanks for sharing with me IG community! You can follow me @emily_art_teacher_smile if we're not connected already.


signature photo, emily mceneely