Mondrian Lesson for Elementary Schoolers

With Piet Mondrian’s compositions in red, yellow, and blue, he is the perfect artist to be able to tie art history and primary colours together.  Before doing the project, show the students one or two of Mondrian’s original compositions.


Then, there are three ideas for projects here, all covering the primary colours and Mondrian’s paintings.  There are couple varieties that could help plan for different classes and different levels of students or grade levels.  For these projects, there is a very easy geometry or math integration.  The first two ideas here are using different motor skills.  The first uses cutting and gluing and the second uses colouring and drawing.  They, in essence, are the same project.  The third idea here is to create 3 Mondrian squares of different sizes and put them together to create a Piet Mondrian snowman.  This final project also gives the students the chance to learn about foreground and background in a piece of artwork.

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Picasso Lesson for Elementary Schoolers

Pablo Picasso, beginning in 1907, started his Cubist painting.  This being the style that Picasso is best known for, it would make a good art history lesson.

picasso3 picasso4 picasso5 picasso6

At the beginning of class, show the students images of Picasso’s cubist faces and ask them what they think.  Then there are two projects that can be done with this lesson, so it would be a possibility to let students pick or to split this lesson up into two days.  It can be altered to fit most levels of elementary.



Both outlines of the faces are printables.  The big difference through these projects is grade level.  The first project I have pictured would be for younger children because the body parts that are going to be glued on are already cut out and printed.  The second project I have pictured here would be for an upper elementary student where they have to cut out the eyes and mouth out of a magazine, so they have a little bit more control over what the final project will turn out to be.  Another possibility to alter this project for different grade levels would be to have the students draw their own outlines of the face.  After the eyes, nose, mouth, ears are glued on, there is always the option to colour or paint the project to mimic the colours of Picasso.  Here are the original websites with these two projects posted on them.  The second website is in French, but they still have the printable on the website.

Paper Roll Crafts

If you save up toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, and wrapping paper rolls and/or ask for parents to save some and send them in with their children, this is a relatively inexpensive project that gets kids working with 3D materials.

Here are a few project ideas that would be great for elementary school octopusspider

There are also more advanced crafts and projects to be done with paper rolls that are most likely high school projects but that could also potentially be done with middle school students depending on their level




Resource for the Classroom-The Annotated Mona Lisa


I recently purchased this book off Amazon (for $1) and in reading through it a bit, I realized how great of an art history book it would make for any classroom.  It goes through all art history from pre-historic to post-modern and incorporates history and timelines with it.  Of course it doesn’t get too detailed on all of the works of art, so some additional text or research may need to be done, but it is an amazing book to have in the classroom and can be used for most grade levels.

Project Following a Lesson On Line

Great simple project for high school or middle school after a lesson on line.  Have the students create their own design and then transfer it over onto a three dimensional form.  This example uses rocks, but any recycled material, wood or driftwood, or even an abstract form they made from clay or ceramic, would be perfect to use line on a three-dimensional object.



An easy project for any middle school or high school student to do.  Use photos from magazines or have the students choose to bring in some family pictures or a photo they really like.  Create a short series of altered photos with a theme or have students create their own creative way to display their altered photos.

Here are a few pictures for inspiration.



Art Dog-Lesson Plan

Art Dog-by Thatcher Hurd


This book is a fantastic resource to use in an elementary school classroom.  I designed my lesson plan here around a second grade curriculum using the Standards of Learning for Virginia for second grade students in the visual arts.

After reading the book to the class, discuss the artists mentioned in the book with their real life counterparts:

Vincent Van Dog- Vincent Van Gogh

Pablo Poodle-Pablo Picasso

Leonardo Dog Vinci-Leonardo da Vinci

Henri Muttisse- Henri Matisse

Next, show the original works of art that are mentioned in the book including the Mona Lisa, Van /
Gogh’s self-portrait, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, and American Gothic.

With these original artworks and select others from the artists mentioned, be able to complete SOL 2.15 which states that “The student will categorize works of art by subject matter, including the genres of portrait, landscape, and still life.”

We will talk about different jobs in the museum and how they are all important to the works of art completing SOL 2.14 which states that “The student will recognize careers related to the art media used in instruction.”

Discuss museums.  Is it good or not good to have art in public?  Is graffiti public art like art in museums? How are they similar and how are they different? SOL 2.19 “The student will identify public art and its value to the community.”

Show examples of graffiti and murals. Discuss.


Have the students create their own design for a mural or graffiti piece they would want to put on a wall in their hometown.

Have the students design their own super-hero car like the brush mobile.  Encourage creativity.  What would their superhero name be and how does the car relate to their name?  Do this in clay and model magic to complete SOL 2.10 “The student will create three-dimensional works of art using a variety of materials to include clay.”

Principles of Design


Unity/Harmony-the means by which a composition is made whole, or is unified.  Less a collection of unrelated forms, there is something that ties all the forms together.  Unity is the means by which a composition is held together as a cohesive whole.


Rhythm-often uses the repetition of objects or shapes in ever-changing form to create a form of visual energy.  Rhythm is closely aligned to Movement and Repetition.  Rhythm is a very energetic Principle of Design.


Movement-achieved by using line and shape to move your eye through a composition.  Movement will draw the eye inward or outward, depending on what the artist intended, with the use of line and shape.  Movement will most often give a work a sense of dynamism or energy.


Balance-is amazingly varied.  Formal Balance is where objects are placed along a central axis. Informal balance is where objects are not aligned in this way, but they still balance each other out.  Balance can also be radial with examples such as flowers, webs, and stars.


Repetition-can be expressed in colour, shape, line, or form, and is closely tied to rhythm as well as movement.  The key to repetition-it repeats.


Dominance/Emphasis-this principle of design can be achieved by creating a contrast in form, colour, line, or even texture for the purpose of drawing the eye to one compositional element within a work.


Contrast-which is similar to Dominance/Emphasis, relies on differences to achieve an effect or result.  It can be a contrast in line, shape, colour, or even placement.


Variety-can be expressed through size, shape, colour, or texture and/or all of these.  Variety keeps your eye engaged in a work.

Art Teacher in Training

As my first post, I feel like I should tell a little bit about myself. I am currently in the Art Education Program at Radford University, and I am studying to get my degree to teach art K-12. I have always been very interested in all forms of fine art from dancing, music and theatre to the visual arts. I believe that incorporating all of the arts, as well as all subjects into art will create a better and deeper learning experience for all the students. With the blog, I hope to create a collection of projects, lesson plans, and examples of projects as well as some vocabulary to use within the classroom as I am learning or creating during my art education experience before I go out into the classroom. I am based in Virginia, so my lesson plans will be based off of the Virginia Standards of Learning, though the plans themselves should fit into any classroom. I hope you find my blog useful, and feel free to comment on what you would like to see more of and if you try anything in your own classroom. Enjoy!

Modern Art in New York

Modern Art in New York