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A&A: It Works! | Arts & Activities
Jun 2015

A&A: It Works!

A&A: It Works!


When our readers tell us Arts & Activities works, they’re not kidding—and the special 75th-Anniversary “A&A: It Works!” section on the following pages is absolute proof.

We put out the call last spring, and the “A&A: It Works!” submissions—due Jan. 1, 2008—started coming in as early as last April. (Thank you, Sarah Taylor of Big Fork High School in Montana!)

We couldn’t fit all of the submissions in, but we did manage to include quite a large number, so there should be something for everyone in this special section.

The articles that inspired the following “A&A: It Works!” accounts are available here by clicking on the article download link.

A treasure trove of ideas and success will be yours.

— Maryellen Bridge, Editor in Chief

Aspen Trees by Elaine Canfield, October 2002


I often look for unusual ways for my students to be creative and was intrigued when I saw this article. I liked the idea of painting trees using cardboard, instead of paintbrushes. At the time, it was the dead of winter and the trees were bare and snow covered the ground, so I incorporated those elements into this project.

First, we painted a sunset/sunrise background using wet-on-wet watercolor technique. The trees were painted on top of the dried background. Dried-out brown markers gave the trees more texture. The children were amazed they could paint trees using cardboard. The finished projects have a wonderful, serene quality to them. I hung them in the hallway next to the poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” by Robert Frost.

Submitted by Karyn Vine,
Penn-Delco School District, Aston, Pa.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Goldfish Bowls … Inspired by Matisse by Karen Evans, October 2001


The compliments we receive when these goldfish bowls are on display are always plentiful. I find this project to be very successful because of the art-history background, and my third-grade students are very excited because of the multimedia aspect.

I follow the lesson, but with a few changes: we use 12″ x 18″ white Bristol board for the background and collage the whole bottom of the page using Mod Podge® water-based sealer instead of glue. We use watercolor paper and draw the bowls freehand. Also, we don’t use the salt, rather a wet-on-wet technique with blues, greens and purples. I tell my students they can add legs to the table if they wish. I have used this project for a number of years and find it to be one of my favorites.

Submitted by Karen Smith,
Wading River (N.Y.) School

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Psychedelic Sunflowers by Maryanna Rudeki, April 2006


Art is taught by volunteer docents at our school because there is no funding; if it weren’t for us, the children would have no art. I read Arts & Activities every month and have been able to integrate many of the lessons into our program.

Often I must adapt the lessons to fit into 60 to 90 minutes. For this one, I brought in colorful sunflowers and gerbera daisies. I followed the directions as given, though the students did not erase their pencil lines and I reduced the paper size to 9″ x 12″. This allowed us to shorten the time needed and still achieve a project that continues to be requested! I taught “Pyschedelic Sunflowers” in two classes last year and will teach it again in two classes this year.

Submitted by Alyssa Navapanich, volunteer art docent,
Deer Canyon Elementary School, San Diego, Calif.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Mosaics of Us by Geri Greenman, October 2006


I read Arts & Activities each month when it arrives, scanning for new ideas or additions to a project I may already have in place. When I saw “Mosaics of Us,” it reminded me of a torn-paper project I have used in the past. This year I decided to tweak the lesson a little and use digital photos, plus incorporate the American Indian education curriculum.

I introduced the lesson as a study in portraiture, value and cultures. The students chose from digital pictures taken of them or from a selection of portraits I had of famous Native American figureheads. Each of the Native Americans was identified, but if the student chose to do a portrait of that individual, he or she had to research that person’s historical significance, the tribe they represented and include a written piece with the portrait. Students who chose to portray themselves did the same, using their own cultural history to reflect on and incorporating something of themselves in the pictures. They were allowed to choose a color scheme with value gradations and only use torn (not cut) pieces of paper. The results were fantastic and not only showed cleverness and creativity, but a sense of inner self in each of the portraits.

Submitted by Sarah Taylor,
Bigfork (Montana) High School

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Let’s Explore Line by Shelley Phillips, September 2004


This project was the inspiration for a kindergarten lesson that focused on line. In addition to drawing lines, I wanted students to experiment with watercolor paints. They used crayons rather than black permanent markers to draw their lines. After a demonstration on the use of watercolors, they picked up their brushes and added the color.

Submitted by Gail M. Dickel,
Christ the King School, Omaha, Neb.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Think Small … Achieve Success! by Hugh Petersen, November 1996


This article was the springboard for a printmaking lesson with my eighth-grade students. The article detailed a linoleum printing lesson that required students to create a 6″ x 6″ printing block. The block design included borders on two sides, so when four blocks were put together on a 12″ x 12″ sheet of paper, they created one large design, with a frame around the edges.

My students used thin sheets of polystyrene foam, instead of linoleum. Although I introduced the “frame” idea, not all students opted to create the frame. Their designs were inspired by nature, just as they were in the original lesson. When the students began to glue their prints together, they were amazed at the repeating designs they created.

Submitted by Gail M. Dickel,
Christ the King School, Omaha, Neb.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

A Story to Remember: Southwest Indian
Storytellers by Marcia Gibson, February 2006


Pueblo storyteller figures had already been a part of my fourth-grade clay curriculum when I came across this article. What caught my eye was the use of authentic colors rather than the gloss glazes I had been using with my students. With a “Making Activities Count” grant from our local McDonalds, I was able to purchase terra-cotta clay and matte glazes in black, white, turquoise and coral. After showing the students works by Helen Cordero of Conchita Pueblo and other storyteller artists, and sharing picture books such as Gerald McDermott’s Arrow to the Sun, students sketched their own ideas for storyteller figures.

After a final firing, students had the option of adding feathers and beads to embellish the figures in a manner similar to some of the samples I had shown them from my own travels in New Mexico. The final step was working with the classroom teachers to have the fourth-graders write, edit and type their storyteller stories, which were then shared orally with the passing of our decorated “story stick,” allowing each student the privilege of uninterrupted speech and the full attention of the group.

Submitted by Charmaine Boggs,
Incarnation School, Centerville, Ohio

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Animals with a Mondrian Twist by Berniece Patterson, October 2006


I use this lesson with my second- and third-graders to learn about Mondrian. They learn about his devotion to primary colors—even in his personal life. We discuss how he wasn’t afraid of trying something new, keeping it simple and just having fun with the lines and colors. It is a great way to expose them to nonrepresentational art.

Submitted by Mindy Burch,
Hebron Christian Academy, Dacula, Ga.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

The Same Old Shoe Contour Drawing … Not! by Len Mathes, March 1994


Shoes are popular still-life subjects with my fifth-graders. Last fall, I revisited a lesson called, “The Same Old Shoe Contour Drawing … Not!” The lesson featured a contour shoe drawing that was traced and repeated around the edges of a square piece of paper. The shoes were then embellished with patterns and designs. I altered the lesson so I could focus on value and shading. Students did drawings of their shoes on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. They traced the images four times, so that they appeared to be “walking” around the edges of their square paper. Students then used colored pencils to shade areas, going from the lightest to the darkest values. The students struggled to get a full range of values, but the repetition gave them extra practice as they “marched” around their papers with color.

Submitted by Gail M. Dickel,
Christ the King School, Omaha, Neb.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Day of the Dead … Gracious, Not Gruesome by Cheryl Crumpecker, October 2007



Many of my eighth-grade students study Spanish as their foreign language elective and are familiar with the customs surrounding Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. After viewing Tony de Carlo’s Web site (www.tonydecarlo.com/html/day_of_the_dead.html), and his use of sophisticated visual humor in his Day of the Dead paintings, I decided to use the idea with my older students. After showing them examples of de Carlo’s work and talking about what they had learned in Spanish class about Day of the Dead customs, the students had the opportunity to create their own Day of the Dead works using oil pastels on either black or white paper. Although a few students did elect to honor one of their own ancestors (and one pet goldfish!), the majority of the students in this age group were more comfortable depicting famous people from history, sports or various entertainment fields, or with creating a Day of the Dead parody of a famous artwork, as de Carlo did with American Muertos and Death of Venus. Regardless of their choice of subject matter, both the students and I agree that the project was a success!

Submitted by Charmaine Boggs,
Incarnation School, Centerville, Ohio

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

A Color Study Through Design by Annita Shaw, September 2006


I adapted Annita Shaw’s high-school lesson, “A Color Study Through Design,” for my fifth-graders. We used Keith Haring figures as our motivation, worked on square paper and only used one color family of tempera paint to paint with. The background was colored with a crayon rubbing to speed up the project. All were very successful!

Submitted by Vicky Siegel,
Electa Quinney Elementary School, Kaukauna, Wis.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Lesson in Motion by Anita Winfrey, October 1991


I spend most of the year with my fifth-graders studying the human form, both full figure and portraits. When I saw this lesson on figure drawing, I decided to adapt it to use in my curriculum.

I started the lesson by talking about the proportions of the body and how things fit together. We did a full-figure drawing together step-by-step. The children then did three more full-figure drawings on their own, showing three different poses—arms and legs bent, hips or shoulders slanted, etc. They selected the pose they liked best and transferred it onto cardboard. That cardboard “person” was cut out and traced onto white 12″ x 18″ paper at least five times.

Next came color theory. Each person was outlined with a different-colored crayon and filled in using the complement of the outline color. (The filling in was done with watercolors and the crayon outline helped to keep the watercolor paint inside the person.)

This multi-step lesson involved many different elements and skills. But the end results were well worth the effort.

Submitted by Karyn Vine,
Penn-Delco School District, Aston, Pa.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Animals With A Mondrian Twist by Berniece Patterson, October 2006


Piet Mondrian has been my best reference artist to teach my kindergarten classes primary colors, geometric shapes and line directions. After the lesson, students remember and recognize his work for years. When I read this article, I was inspired to change my usual lesson into a more exciting one based on Mondrian’s work.

Each class day I teach my students to draw a different animal, which is saved in a packet for their portfolio. After learning about Mondrian and his geometric shapes, students selected their favorite animal from their practice packets and recreated it as a “Mondrian” animal. Through the Mondrian lessons, I was able to connect and expand on the students’ previous drawing lessons with the new and unique Mondrian technique. After the drawing was finished, each student cut his or her animal out and glued it to black paper. To add my own twist to the project, students glue paper squares in primary colors around the paper edge to frame their animals.

Submitted by Gayle Bunch,
Old Union Elementary, Southlake, Texas

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Porthole Paintings by Karen Skophammer, June/Summer 1994


This is one of my favorite back-to-school projects for fifth grade. It never fails to engage students and get their imaginations fired up. I expanded the assignment to include the choice of a view from a submarine porthole or a view from a spaceship window. Students also had to choose between a vertical or horizontal format.

Students researched sea creatures and spaceships in books, magazines and online.

We discussed the use of the basic perspective devices of size, position and overlap to achieve a sense of depth. Images were outlined using permanent markers and colored using a variety of crayons (fluorescent, construction paper and glitter). We used liquid watercolors to carefully wash in the ocean or dark tempera to paint the background in the “outer space” views. The porthole borders were painted with gold or silver metallic tempera.

Portholes take three to four class periods to finish. Students enjoy completing this assignment, especially making all the artistic decisions about media and format.

Submitted by Valerie Taggart,
Livingston Manor (N.Y.) Central School

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

The Quilt and I: How a Lesson Came Back as a Gift by Jane Freeman, December 1994


I was intrigued by the lesson described in this article, which described how a group of students made a quilt with each block illustrating a letter of a “Peace Alphabet,” found in the book, Watermelons Not War.

My sixth-graders created their own peace alphabet, each selecting a different letter. They then thought of two words starting with that letter—one positive and life enhancing word, the other, something negative and destructive. Each student created a 9″ x 9″ paper quilt block illustrating the positive item, while contrasting the two words.

The 26 blocks were assembled into a “quilt” that was five blocks by six blocks, which left four corner blocks to be decorated. These blocks told the title of the quilt, the school name, the grade level and the year. This quilt was full of positive messages, an important addition to our world at war.

Submitted by Gail M. Dickel,
Christ the King School, Omaha, Neb.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

eARTh … it’s got ART: Antarctica, Spectacular Snow Globes by Debi West, December 2007


I teach elementary art in Irvine, Calif., and visit three schools, teaching kindergarteners through sixth-graders. I used this snow globe lesson and painted the snowman. First we began by drawing our snowmen in the foreground, adding a middle ground and background with construction paper crayons. Then, I showed my kids how to stipple the snowman with paint to create a texture. We used quick brushstrokes for the snow on the ground to convey another texture.

Submitted by Arica Dowd,
Turtle Rock Elementary, Irvine, Calif.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Architecture in the Art Room: Warm/Cool Cityscapes by Teri Dexheimer Joyce, September 2007


Being a volunteer art docent at our school, I don’t get paid, but I love to teach art to kids. While we have a basic curriculum we can follow, I often add to it with lessons I adapt from Arts & Activities. One area that has been missing is architecture. “Warm/Cool Cityscapes” was my inspiration here. I only have 60 to 90 minutes to teach a lesson from beginning to end, so I reduced the project to one building and 90 minutes. Students created a watercolor wash background using two to three colors. (We had done watercolor in the past so this was easy.) While the background dried, we looked at pictures of world architecture. Students then created black line drawings of their own building, cut them out, and glued them onto the background.

Submitted by Alyssa Navapanich, volunteer art docent, Deer Canyon
Elementary School, San Diego, Calif.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Aboriginal Adventure by Sherry Armstrong, January 2003


I have found this project to be adaptable for most any grade level. It incorporates numerous art elements, as well as history and culture. Another positive is that you can use whatever supplies you have on hand. At the end of one school year, I had lots of fluorescent paints left over, so we painted our Aboriginal designs with the bright colors on black paper. My fifth-graders loved it. They actually made better designs because they were so excited about the colors!

As the article suggested, we made our dots with cotton swabs and paintbrush handle ends. I have also taught this project using multicultural-colored paints on brown grocery-bag paper for a traditional look.

Submitted by Donna Staten,
Kennedy-Powell Elementary, Temple, Texas

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Adventures in Space à la Rousseau by Susan Kropa, November 1982


This is one of my all-time favorite projects and I have managed to use it every year since I first saw it in 1982. It’s one of those projects the kids just love because they never seem to fail—every student artwork is a successful masterpiece.

The unit is successful because it is done in three parts: background, jungle animals and details. Motivation comes from Henri Rousseau’s painting, The Dream. We talk about how he had no formal art training nor did he ever see a jungle; he created his work by visiting the zoo and botanical gardens. This gives students confidence to do their own work, especially with the sequence of steps, so they have the vision.

We start by creating the background. They tear green paper to create the tall grasses of the jungle, and tear the trees out of brown paper, topping them off with large leaves of various colors. They also add black marker for texture lines to the veins of the leaves and trees.

Next, we move onto creating the animals of the jungle. We talk about how animals are formed from simple shapes, certain colors and varied sizes. Students were asked to create two to three animals. I would remind them constantly to think of their animals in terms of a simple shape, a certain color and to experiment with overlapping animals. This gives the appearance of strolling through the jungle.

Finally, we added details by tearing clouds, flowers and birds. Students transformed their own ideas to reflect how they felt about their own individual jungle art.

Submitted by Rosie Crnecki,
Sunnyside School, Sobieski, Wis.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Aspen Trees by Elaine Canfield, October 2002


Being a big fan of Arts & Activities, I look forward to its art lessons every month. I’ve resorted to cutting out my favorites, laminating them and putting them in a binder by grade level.

When I tell my coworkers I’m going to do the Arts & Activities “Aspen Trees” project with my fifth-graders, everyone is excited. “Oh, I love that project,” and “It’s my favorite,” are some of the responses. We follow the directions with a few changes: I have them draw a horizon line first on 12″ x 18″ paper, so we know where to place the trees. I also squeeze the black paint onto palette paper so each student can reach it.

We use cardboard cut into long rectangles for the tree trunk. We dip into the paint, tap off the excess, and then slide it on the paper. While that is drying, we use watercolor to paint the grass with browns and greens and the sky with different blues. Using acrylic paint and different-sized fan brushes, we paint the treetops. I explain the dry-brush technique and tell students they don’t need to rinse out their brushes and can use up to three colors at a time for the feathery effect. For the ground they can flick the brush or hop like the treetops are done. The end result is beautiful.

As we were working on this project, our principal, who had been on a trip to Colorado during last summer, came into the classroom. He looked at the students’ projects and said, “Ah, aspen trees.” It made my day!

Submitted by Karen Smith,
Wading River (N.Y.) School

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Who Said Giraffes Can’t Dance? by Mary Lu Lovett, September 2002


This is always a favorite when exhibited—you can’t help but smile at the dancing antics and expressions of these giraffes! I was not familiar with the book Giraffes Can’t Dance before seeing this article. Not only is this a fun art lesson, but it is a wonderful character story about not giving up as well. I did the project with second-graders and it was a great way for them to study horizon line, foreground and background. They were also proud that they were able to use watercolor and oil pastel successfully. We listened to African music while creating our dancing giraffes. As stated in the original article, this could be worked into a study of Africa. I used it as a literary connection.

Submitted by Donna Staten,
Kennedy-Powell Elementary, Temple, Texas

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Kudos to Kandinsky by Chrstine MacPherson, January 2005


I was so excited to teach this lesson. I had to make few modifications because the lesson was so well written. I, too, used this article with my students to move away from realistic-inspired work. I loved the format this article used to present elements and principles clearly to all the students.

The scavenger hunt mentioned in the article was the only instruction I presented a little differently, because I was lacking enough postcards for my seven art tables. After a brief introduction of Kandinsky’s background, I conducted the first activity, teaching the whole group. We looked at images on the overhead projector and students responded through a teacher-guided discussion. As we began the creative process through drawing, I noticed how surprised students were that each other’s results were amazingly different. This lesson was a huge success and the hallway displays received numerous compliments from staff and other students!

Submitted by Emily Sandagata,
Bella Vista Elementary School, Sierra Vista, Ariz.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

eARTh … it’s got ART: South America, Collaborative Symmetrical
Butterflies by Debi West, November 2007


This article explained how second-graders created butterflies using math skills and primary colors in a “squish” painting to create a welcoming atrium rainforest. I took this lesson a step further. I had my third- and fourth-graders review symmetry and then use the half-sheet drawing method to create leaves, flowers, spiders, insects, butterflies, animals, you name it, that could be drawn symmetrically and that they had discovered, through research, could be found in the rainforest.

We also used only the primary colors to make our squish paintings. My students have always loved this type of painting. We have usually applied leftover paint to scrap paper at the end of a unit when making these “squish” paintings, so this lesson afforded us a new and useful look at an endearing form of painting.
When our paintings were done, we embellished them with other materials such as feathers, yarn, felt, etc. These rainforest creatures were hung in the hallways of the school with an explanation of symmetry and secondary and tertiary colors having been made from primary colors. Many teachers and students stopped not only to admire the artwork, but to read the explanation. Our collaborative study was a success. Thank you, Debi West and Arts & Activities!

Submitted by Karen Skophammer,
Manson Northwest Webster Schools, Barnum and Manson, Iowa

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Recycling Kandinsky by Nancy E. J. Brooks, June/Summer 2007


This idea looked exciting and colorful to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to the pressed-paper forms used for the project, but did have tons of construction paper! So I turned this recycling lesson into a color-theory lesson.

I used the same six-square format as in the original, but rather than include the reference to Kandinsky, I introduced the lesson with an exploration of color, how a color can look completely different depending on what color surrounds it, and how light colors come forward and dark colors recede. Then, using square and circle templates, my fourth-graders eagerly jumped into selecting their colored papers, tracing, cutting, arranging and gluing down their color designs. Because of the simplicity of the project, I stressed careful cutting, gluing and placement of the shapes as criteria in the assessment rubric.

The finished projects were as bright and geometric as I had hoped they would be. And, my students have a much better understanding of how color works and of how to work with color.

Submitted by Karyn Vine,
Penn-Delco School District, Aston, Pa.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Mosaics Of Us by Geri Greenman, October 2006


I love to use magazines in a number of collage projects with my students. This article inspired a new way to use little bits of magazine pages in a mosaic form. As I already teach a portrait unit with my eighth-graders, I decided to create this project with a different subject matter: iconic figures, cartoon characters, even logos. What I love most about this project is the use of recycled magazine color, as well as the fact that all students can reach a high level of success!

Submitted by Lindsay Gustafson,
Kettering (Ohio) Middle School

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Seeing Through Value, Shades and Tints by Xanthippi Cynthia Stylianou, September 2007


This lesson helps me teach fourth- and fifth-graders about monochromatic colors. The students learn a mnemonic to remember the difference between a shade and a tint:


Each student draws an animal and then paints it using only values of red, yellow, blue or green. They have a palette with their chosen hue, plus black and white, and must mix from there. It has turned out great and the students really remember what they have learned.

Submitted by Mindy Burch,
Hebron Christian Academy, Dacula, Ga.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Imaginative Instruments by Sharon St. Clair, October 2006


My fifth-graders met this assignment with enthusiasm because many of them had recently joined band. We talked about the similar language of art and music (composition, arrangement, rhythm, etc.) and how artist Wassily Kandinsky equated sound with color.

Students worked from reference photos to draw instruments on 12″ x 18″ manila paper, then cut them out and positioned them over colored construction paper. Instruments were traced and graphite paper was used to transfer internal details. Students were encouraged to repeat the instruments several times in different directions, and to let the instruments run off the page. Many of them added treble clefs and music notes as design elements. Instruments were outlined with permanent marker and colored using oil crayons. Students considered the negative spaces carefully and repeated colors to unify the compositions. Finished drawings were sealed with acrylic varnish to bring out the vibrant color. The kids were very proud of their “musical compositions.”

Submitted by Valerie Taggart,
Livingston Manor (N.Y.) Central School

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Young Artist: Ellen Setchko Palmerlee Nominated by Jan LeHecka, June/Summer 2006


I saw a very interesting-looking project on the “Young Artist” page of the June 2006 issue. I had no idea how the project was done or what the objectives of the lesson were, but I liked the project example enough to create a lesson around it. I called the project, “Circle of Hands.”

After tracing a large circle on black paper, students traced around their hand inside the circle in “compass positions” (north, south, east and west). For the next step, I turned this into a color lesson because all of the negative space around the hands was to be colored in using either all warm- or all cool-colored crayons. I used construction paper crayons because the colors are much more intense on black paper.

The students were as excited about the end results as I was. Even though this was not an actual Arts & Activities article, I was amazed that I was able to turn it into a great project, which proves that “It Works!” even when it doesn’t realize that it is working!

Submitted by Karyn Vine,
Penn-Delco School District, Aston, Pa.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

Howling Houses by Thais Wright, October 1991


This activity has been a fall favorite for years at Arendell Parrott Academy. It works because the students are fascinated with haunted houses and love the idea of making something scary!

My third-graders this year wanted to know early on if they could do the “Howling Houses” like the fourth-graders did last year. (We have a school-wide spring art show and there’s much student discussion about the art on display.)

This lesson works for me because it is a fun way to reinforce one-point perspective and color mixing.

Submitted by Judy Johnson,
Arendell Parrott Academy, Kinston, N.C.

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

A Dinner Party of Their Own: Tribute to Judy Chicago by Rose-Ann C. Chrzanowski, February 2006


During the semester this article was published, I was hosting a student intern from a local university who used the article as her inspiration for a long-term clay project with my seventh-grade classes. Although the project was a success, I often like to change projects somewhat for the following year so they remain fresh for each new group of students. I decided to combine the shape of the plate and the various techniques featured in this article with the concept of the mandala, as found in the traditions of cultures around the world, from the Native Americans to the Buddhist monks of Tibet and other Asian countries.

After a study of the creation of mandalas in these various cultures, the students prepared sketches for their own personal mandalas. These sketches were then rendered in clay, bisque-fired and glazed. Although I would usually have my students create their mandalas with colored sand, keeping with the traditional method of creating a mandala, these lovely clay mandalas were equally successful and satisfying to create.

Submitted by Charmaine Boggs,
Incarnation School, Centerville, Ohio

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article

A Hair-Raising Experience by Ted Barlag, March 1997


I saw this article in your magazine when I first began teaching. I loved it! Over the years, this project has become one that is “tried and true.” The students always respond extremely well to a discussion of “a bad hair day” and how to incorporate that into interesting lines.

A few years ago, I was driving home from school and the theme song from the musical, Hair, came on the radio. The light went on! I thought, what a perfect new introduction to a favorite project. The song’s lyrics—long, straight, curly, fuzzy, shaggy, ratty, knotted, braided and spaghetti-ed—were descriptive and inspiring. The creativity flowed out of my students as if their pens were singing!

Submitted by Jennifer Niessel,
Germantown (Ohio) Elementary School

Click Here To Download A PDF Of Article


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