Since this is my first official post, I’m going to use this to show you my favorite project we have done so far this year!
Over each summer, I typically decide and plan a basic order of the techniques and lessons for the next school year . However, this year I decided to do things a little bit differently. I knew what skills and materials I wanted to introduce to the students, but I did not decide on specific lessons. Instead this year I gave each student a small piece of paper and they wrote down suggestions of the things that they would like to draw, make, or create while in art this year.
I got some pretty wild answers like “A picture made of only silly shapes” or “A zombie robot.” A lot of the kids were still in summer vacation mode, so we have a lot of suggestions for places they traveled this summer. We also got a lot of very specific personal answers like “My house covered in snow.” I took their suggestions, combined them by grade and mixed them up. Now, whenever it’s time for a new lesson I pull from their ideas.
The first idea that came out of the second grade set was FROGS! I was so excited because I love frogs. I have even had a few as pets over the years. So I got started in the usual way for me… I looked for a book. I love using children’s literature in my lessons.
Our librarian was in the process of discarding some damaged books and told me I could keep any I wanted for my classroom. I found this gem in there.
Its full of adorable frogs having some summer fun so it was just right for this early in the school year.
Then I found these cuties (Credit to and I knew just what we would do.
The students took turns reading the pages of the story, its short and was easy and fun for the second graders. Then I announced that we would be drawing the sixth speckled frog. We talked about how the sixth frog would feel because in the book the fifth frog finishes off the last of the delicious bugs they were sharing. and we decided the sixth frog would be very grumpy. He’s grumpy because he was late and missed out on all the fun the other frogs had.
This was our first drawing activity this year so I guided them through the steps but laid a heavy emphasis on the fact that they could go in and edit and reshape their frogs before we started painting them. Here are the drawing steps.
We then traced over our drawings with black oil pastels, and we discussed why the water and paint resist sticking to the thick oil pastel lines. Yay, science!
We finished them up with our new favorite paints (Loew Cornell Simply Art Watercolor Cakes)! Check out a few of the finished products below. I love them!