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ABCs of Art / B-C-D | Arts & Activities
Jun 2015

ABCs of Art / B-C-D

A Theme-Based Yearlong CurriculumABCsLOGO

“C” ~ Cave Art Creations
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The following are additional “Alpha Art” lesson plans for the letters “B – C – D”

LETTER: D ~ Drawing with Da Vinci
LEVELS: Kindergarten – Grade 1


Students are asked to think about what they look like, which reflects back to their “All About Me” lesson, seen in the October issue.

1109a1. Students are introduced to the Mona Lisa and the teacher comes into the room for a few minutes dressed as the Mona Lisa painting! (This is easy to create. Simply take an old frame, paint the Mona Lisa on a canvas, cut out the face and drape with black cloth.)

2. Students are given a copy of the Mona Lisa without her face and are told that they will draw their face in place of hers, hence drawing a Mona ME-sa.

3. Students follow the teacher’s demo on how to draw and measure facial features, using their Sharpie pens. (Again, they have done self-portraiture so this is a nice review.)

4. Students create their own background, beginning with a horizon line to create foreground, using places that have special meaning to them.

5. Students color in their art with Mr. Sketch markers.

6. Students use oil pastel to lightly embellish the art and multicultural crayons for their faces, thinking about their own unique skin tones.

7. Students glue their completed art onto a piece of construction paper, which acts as their mat.

8. Students display the art in class exhibits.


K–Grade 1 students will …
• think about the portraiture art of Leonardo da Vinci.
• learn about proportionate portraiture.
• use various media and techniques on one piece of artwork.


• Sharpie® pens
• Multicultural crayons
• Mr. Sketch markers
• Oil pastels
• Print of the Mona Lisa
• Glue
• Scissors
• Construction paper
• 8.5″ x 11″ white paper
• Mona Lisa photocopy with no face


Students’ art will be hung in class exhibits, and students will be signing their name to the art, using Mona, then their name. Discuss the importance of self-portraiture to tell a story, and conduct a mini-critique to talk about their creations.

LETTER: C ~ Cave Art Etchings
LEVELS: Kindergarten – Grade 2


1. Show students prints from throughout art history, and call attention to the simple line work created on cave walls.

2. Have students complete several sketches of simple, prehistoric-feeling art images, such as bison, deer, mountains, hands, etc.

1109b3. Students etch their design onto a piece of polystyrene with torn edges to create an aged look.

4. Students ink the polystyrene with their brushes or a brayer, depending on how “authentic” you want to be.

5. Students then lay a piece of paper over the inked polystyrene, and press and rub. When they lift the paper, they will have created a print of their etching.

6. Students glue both the etching and the print onto a larger piece of construction paper, and embellish with chalk, oil pastel, sticks and moss.


I think it’s important to teach students how to tear the edges of their papers during this unit, which adds an aged effect to their art while providing them with fine-motor skills. Have extra paper on hand, as tearing isn’t as easy as it sounds for our younger students.


Grade 2 students will …
• learn about printing and etching techniques as they create a cave image.
• create a collaborative cave installation using several cave art lessons.


• 9″ x 12″ white drawing paper
• Polystyrene
• Pencils
• Brown acrylic paint or printing ink
• Brushes and water cups
• Sticks and moss
• Chalk and oil pastel
• Glue

LETTER: C ~ Clay Tools
LEVELS: Kindergarten – Grade 3


1. Students are shown examples of found cave tools from the prehistoric era.

2. Students sketch out several ideas about what kind of tools would be important during this era.

3. Students receive a “chunk” of clay and are taught to wedge it before they begin to form their “tool.”

1109c4. Students put their clay tool away to dry, and then begin working on their background watercolor piece, which will display their tool.

5. Students do a warm watercolor wash on a piece of sturdy paper. I suggest Bristol board or poster board, but recycled cardboard looks “authentic” too.

6. Students glue sticks and moss to their background.

7. Once the teacher has fired the clay tools, watercolor them using warm-color washes and embellish lightly with neutral-colored chalks or oil pastels to create an aged look.

8. The teacher hot-glues the cave tools onto the students’ painted background boards.
9. Students critique each other’s work, discussing the many different cave tools and their important uses.


Grade 3 students will …
• learn about form and function as they construct a clay “cave” tool.
• create a collaborative cave installation using several cave art lessons.


• 9″ x 12″ Bristol board or cut poster board
• Clay
• Watercolors (warm-color palette)
• Brushes and water cups
• Sticks and moss
• Chalk and oil pastel
• Glue

LETTER: C ~ Cave Art Dirt and Stick Paintings
LEVELS: Grades 2-3


1. Students see cave wall images and discuss the lines and shapes they see.

2. Students do several sketches of simple, prehistoric art images, such as bison, deer, mountains, hands, etc.

1109d3. Students draw these images onto their paper, and fill them in with a paintbrush dipped into glue and dirt, painting their art with dirt to create an authentic-looking artwork.

4. Students then do the same image on another piece of paper, but this time they use sticks and acrylic paint to create their artwork.

5. Students tear their images out and glue them together onto a larger piece of paper, comparing and contrasting the different media used.

6. Students embellish with warm watercolor washes, chalk, sticks and moss to create the feel of an actual cave painting.


I have tried to do this lesson using sticks and dirt only, but it is extremely difficult. I have found that by doing two separate lessons, students really begin to empathize with the caveman, realizing how difficult it must have been to create such wonderful art with such limited resources!


Grades 2–3 students will…
• learn about what it might have been like to create with limited art
supplies during the prehistoric days by using dirt and sticks to create cave-like images.
• create a collaborative cave installation.


• 9″ x 12″ manila paper
• Pencils
• Watercolors (warm-color palette)
• Brushes and water cups
• Found sticks
• Ochre-colored acrylic paint
• Chalk and oil pastel
• Glue
• Various types of dirt

LETTER: B ~ Beverly Buchanan Shack Art
LEVELS: Grades 4-5


1. Students are asked to think critically about the art of Beverly Buchanan.

2. Students are given samples of her art to critique and discuss together.

1109f3. Students are given black construction paper to draw a self-portrait and horizon line, creating a background effect.

4. Students use glue to go over their portrait lines.

5. On the second day, students add chalk to their portraits, using the expressive line qualities found in Buchanan’s art.

6. Students begin to build their version of a shack using glue and craft sticks.

7. On the third day, students paint their completed shacks using cool colors, then warm colors, then neutral colors to keep the colors from getting muddy.

8. Students add more expressive lines to their shack with oil pastel, again looking at the art of Buchanan.

9. Students glue their shacks to their backgrounds of their portraits.

10. Students write a poem about how a house is a home, again, thinking critically about the importance of the message in the art of Buchanan.

11. Students are asked to reflect on their art and the question, “Why is this art?” Type these responses in to add to the installation.


Grades 4–5 students will …
• critically think about the art of Beverly Buchanan.
• discuss Buchanan’s use of color and line, showing expressive qualities in everyday objects.
• create works of art using line, color, two- and three-dimensional aspects, and write a poem about how a house can be a home.


• 12″ x 18″ black paper
• Glue, pencils and brushes
• Wood craft sticks
• Chalk
• Prismacolor® Art Stix
• Visual samples
• 3″ x 8″ white paper (for poem)
• Tempera paint
• Oil pastel


Walk around and discuss the art with each student. The poems are used as an assessment tool, as students use language arts and poetry to make the connection between the visual images they created and the meaning behind them.


If you don’t want to do the exact same lesson with both fourth and fifth grade, you can have one grade level create the shack houses only, going larger and really focusing on the use of expressive line quality as seen in Buchanan’s work. Once all of the houses have been completed, they can be cut out and put onto one large piece of paper to create a collaborative community of Buchanan-inspired houses!



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