A Bright & Colorful Return to Campus

Teaching Art


After 16 weeks of Home Learning, we were finally able to welcome students back on campus before the end of the school year. Although the school day looks and feels very different, everyone is grateful to be reunited, try out a new way of facilitating learning while practicing social distancing and having closure to the 2019-2020 school year. Every school, state, and country is different in regards to what is best for schools and their student population but this post is about my experience and some things that helped me return to campus.

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Managing Expectations

Art teachers are flexible and this will fair you well when managing what to expect as you return as schedules, guidelines, and expectations which will likely change before, during, and after you transition back to campus. At my school, art and music now ‘push-in’ to classes to reduce the number of transitions for students. Art-on-a-cart is better than no art at all. I teach 40-minute lessons and teach twenty students at a time spread between two classrooms with an adjoining door. Expect your schedule, routines, and lessons to look and feel very different, but by managing those expectations you will be better prepared to be flexible for your students and their learning.


Your First Lesson Back

For your first lesson back, you may feel that you need to bring out all the materials that students may not have had access to, but don’t be a hero. Choose a lesson that is going to help ease you and students back into things. From sanitising materials to feeling comfortable with new schedules and routines, choose a lesson that has minimal preparation and clean-up. For my first lesson, I introduced the artist, Takashi Murakami. My goal was to teach students how to recreate his iconic super flat flowers, have them learn about popular visual culture all the while allowing students to chat with others while they created, colored, and practiced motor control and grip – something that many of them regressed on during their weeks away.

Murakami Example

Keeping Things Clean

Students brought and used their own pencils, pens, scissors, and a glue stick. Choosing materials that are easy to clean is important for your first few lessons. My routine is to have students use hand sanitizer before they begin the art lesson and then after they are finished with the materials they used during the lesson, I bring the materials back to the art room where I spray them with 70% rubbing alcohol. Pens, markers, spray bottles, paintbrushes are all easy to clean in this manner and help ensure the materials are safe to use for the next lesson.


Be Art

Use the face mask you have to wear as an opportunity to be art. We now have a new accessory to help show our style, mood, and/or share a message. Whether it is writing, ‘ART MATTERS’ on your mask to theming it to your lesson, inspire and excite your students by modelling a way to be creative through what is now a necessary personal item.

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Make it Fun

This seems obvious but it is important to keep at the forefront of your mind when planning your first lesson with students. Everyone will feel a little tense which is to be expected so try and loosen the tension by bringing some fun into the mix. After students completed their Murakami super flat flowers we played Bingo. If students had four out of four of the combination I called out they yelled, ‘SUPER-FLAT!’ and received a Flower Power sticker. It may seem small but playing Bingo in a room full of friends and peers is a fun way to break the cycle of four months of independent home learning.

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I am not going to lie, I miss the students in my art room, the freedom to use any and all materials without restrictions and getting to play another soundtrack during art class other than the now squeak of my art cart wheels but it is better than not having the students on campus. Whether it is from a potted plant at home or a flower sprouting from a crack in the sidewalk, our students will continue grow as long as we maintain a positive growth mindset and embody FLOWER POWER ourselves!

Below are the shared resources for the lesson – feel free to use and share!

Murakami Coloring Expectations

Takashi Murakami Worksheet

Takashi Murakami Coloring Example

Murakami Bingo List





HKIS Home Learning Portal: Weeks 11- 16

Teaching Art

Tune in every Friday at 9:00am to watch Ms. Kit’s Art Room, a TV-show-like video lesson that is a about art! From doodling and drawing to movin’ and groovin’, each 20 minute episode highlights a different Element of Art introduced and taught by a zany cast of characters from the Upper and Lower Primary. Watch with your family and then complete the art activities together after – fun for the whole family!

New Episodes Premiere Every Friday!

Reception 1 & 2 and Grades 1 & 2: Week 15 – TEXTURE

Reception 1 & 2 and Grades 1 & 2: Week 14 – COLOR

Reception 1 & 2 and Grades 1 & 2: Week 13 – SPACE

Reception 1 & 2 and Grades 1 & 2: Week 12 – SHAPE

Reception 1 & 2 and Grades 1 & 2: Week 11 – LINE

Also, please share your artwork wit Ms. London and in the Online Gallery. Simply click the button below which will take you to a Google Drive folder where you can upload a photo of an artwork. We want to see what you’re making and how you are being creative at home!


Marvelous Monday’s_Specialist Zoom Calls

Teaching Art

Lets Make Monday Marvelous - Banner

Ms. London and I are so excited to chat with you! WE MISS YOU SO MUCH and can’t wait to see your smiling faces! Be sure to check the date and time of your class’ Zoom call by clicking the button below.

Specialist Zoom Call Schedule

Please kindly review the Zoom call exceptions before your class’ call. Note  that Reception 1 & 2 students to not need materials for the call as it will simply be an opportunity to talk with students and for us to provide some ideas of how to continue some of learning from the in art room, at home.

Grade 1 & 2 will receive an Artist Trading Card (ATC) in the mail prior to their Zoom call. Grade 1 & 2 students should have their ATC ready to share on the date and time of their Zoom call.

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HKIS Collaborative Artwork: Fabric Twine Wall Hanging

Teaching Art

CALLING ALL LOWER PRIMARY STUDENTS & THEIR FAMILIES! Despite being a part awe still wanted to make a collaborative art piece together! Our gaol is to have lots of families make DIY Fabric Twine to contribute to a large wall hanging for the Lower Primary Campus.

Below are step-by-step written instructions in how to create the fabric twine which will be sewn together to create round circle-like rugs.

If you need a little extra explaining, we also have a Little Lesson to show you how!

Once you have made a bundle of twine to donate, please use a mailer envelop and send it to the following address:

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HKIS Home Learning Portal: Weeks 7 – 10

Teaching Art

New Episodes Premiere Every Friday!

Tune in every Friday at 9:00am to watch Ms. Kit’s Art Room, a TV-show-like video lesson that is a about art! From doodling and drawing to movin’ and groovin’, each 20 minute episode highlights a different Element of Art introduced and taught by a zany cast of character from the Upper and Lower Primary. Watch with your family and then complete the art activities together after – fun for the whole family!

Well done completing the first 6 weeks of Home Learning and for creating some amazing art! If you have not already, please share your artwork wit Ms. London and in the Online Gallery. Simply click the button below which will take you to a Google Drive folder where you can upload a photo of an artwork.


As artists, we know that you are coloring, drawing and making and backing lots of scrumptious art on your own, so for the next weeks ahead Ms. London and I will provide home learning content on art history and art appreciation. From listening to songs about artists to learning about different street art around the city, each video will have an online quiz you can take for fun to see what you have learned! If you’re really keen, you can listen and take the quizzes of all four videos!

Grade 2: Lesson 7: Aurora Robson

Aurora Robson Quiz

Grade 2: Lesson 8: Cath Love

Cath Love Quiz

Grade 2: Lesson 9: Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo Quiz

Grade 1: Lesson 7: Salvador Dali

Salvador Dalí Quiz

Grade 1: Lesson 8: Alex Croft

Alex Croft Quiz

Grade 1: Lesson 9: Romero Britto

Romero Britto Quiz

Reception 2: Lesson 1: Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh Quiz

Reception 2: Lesson 8: Alex Senna

Alex Senna Quiz

Reception 2: Lesson 9: Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama Quiz

Reception 1: Lesson 7: Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas Quiz

Reception 1: Lesson 8: Invader

Invader Quiz

Reception 2: Lesson 9: Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock Quiz




Art Teachers Preparing for Home Learning_Part II

Teaching Art

So your school has closed due to COVID-19 and you’re now trying to think through how you are going to deliver your art program for students at home? If the answer is, yes, then the information in this post is for you! I was in the same position as you six weeks ago and asking myself the same questions. Here are some answers to your wondering based on my own experience with Home Learning for the Visual Arts in Lower Primary. I am by no means the expert, just someone trying to help others during an uncertain and challenging time and in someway doing my part.


What platform should I use?

In my first post on preparing for home learning, I mentioned using what you have and what you feel comfortable with. This still stands but it also severs to mentioning that you should talk to the other specialists and/or the rest of your department to see what everyone else is using in an aim to align making it easier for parents. Just like we are trying to figure out new platforms for home learning, so are the parents, therefore, making it easier for them the better it will be for our students. Click the button below to see how I have done it to give you an example of one way of doing it. 

Home Learning Link

Should I have students turn in work digitally?

Some of you have 500 + students so managing artwork being sent in digitally is a lot of work. Then there is the expectation for feedback or a grade even. Schools could be closed for a while so be mindful of setting your expectations in the beginning as they will then be expected until schools reopen.




Flipgrid is a platform similar to Seesaw where assignment can be uploaded, information shared and feedback given. 

How many lessons should I create?

Depending on the number of students and grades you teach, the scalability of created content for numerous grades in not sustainable especially when we don’t know how long school will be out. Therefore consider grouping grades when creating content, using the same lesson/video/content for all grades and/or modifying the activities for each grade based on a theme like Pop Art or Pointillism. Jules White, an art educator in Hong Kong uses this format. Check out her home learning blog as well as her video examples!

What kind of content should I make?

Because our subject is so visual, creating video demonstrations of different techniques is really helpful. You can then create your own Youtube Channel making it public or unlisted and then simply share the links so your students can access them. You can also use a blog to house the video links and outline the different prompts for different grades. If you use Seesaw you can upload the videos and lessons there are well. The bonus with video content is that you can use it for days when you have a substitute or even maternity leave! Below is one of the videos I have created for Kindergarten students. Check out more of my videos here.

What about the kids that don’t have the internet at home?

A sketchbook challenge is a great way to get all kids making art regardless of materials and access to the internet. All the kids need is a pencil and some paper. A list of different prompts can be mailed to the students that don’t have access to the internet for the rest that do it can be posted on a blog, sent in an e-mail or even delivered over the phone!



The Art of Ed has lots of great resources for teachers and many different ideas for drawing prompts.

But I am technologically challenged, how am I going to do this?

You can learn anything! You know why? Because out there is a Youtube tutorial on EVERYTHING! That’s how I learned! It seems funny to have to remind teachers of this but no one is born to be technologically proficient, you have to learn and in this instance, YOU NEED TO TEACH YOURSELF! My mother always says, you can eat an elephant one spoonful at a time so start small and break in down into manageable learnable steps, one Youtube tutorial at a time!

What materials do kids have at home?

Assume they have only a pencil and paper Use this time to focus on observational drawing, fonts, lettering and text, shading and value studies, illustrations and storyboards and life drawing. Access to a variety of materials, techniques, and experiences is the backbone of your job. This is why not having kids in the art room is such a challenge for us. However, we art teachers, we are resourceful and during this time we need to lean on our knowledge and expertise of teaching skills with basic tools rather than experiences with different mediums.



One of the Hong Learning assignments was to draw three different plants student could find indoors or outdoors using materials they had. After completing the assignment, the students used an app to create wallpaper patterns using his drawings! 

How long will schools be closed?

Sorry, I don’t have the answer to this one but from my experience here in Hong Kong, expect schools to be closed for the rest of the school year. Once we approach a state to return to school, it is pushed back another two weeks. Things are happening day by day and also administration want to give specific dates to appease parents and teacher but no one knows what will happen. Therefore, be mindful of the platforms you use, the expectations you set for yourself and recognise the sustainability and scalability of what you are creating, making and doing for Home Learning.

Keep Calm


Art Teachers Preparing for Home Learning_Part I

Teaching Art

This was the last photo I took of my students in the art room before our long separation from one another due to COVID-19. It was the day before the Chinese New Year and all of the students wore festive attire to celebrate. As we said goodbye to the students before the week-long holiday break, no one had any idea how different the new year ahead was going to be.


Reception 1 learners showing off their stained-glass windows inspired by Frank Llyod Wright. – our last lesson before the school suspension.

Since February 3rd, 2020 I have been facilitating Home Learning for the Visual Arts for over 760 Lower Primary students between the ages of 4 and 8 years old. With the virus spreading and more school closures imminent, I want to share some of my experiences providing home learning as a primary year visual arts teacher and by doing so, I might be in some small way, doing my part, helping others navigate this difficult time.



Once it was announced that our school would be facilitating home learning, I decided to use things that I already have and already know. If you have a professional Instagram account dedicated to student artmaking, USE IT! If you have a blog or are using Seesaw already, USE IT! If you have a Youtube channel that you created 4 years ago to upload a funny video of your cat, USE IT! What I am trying to say is, dust off some of these platforms that you have already established and give them a new lick of paint to make them useable and function as a way to teach, communicate, share and provide feedback.

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I use a public Instagram account not associate with my school to showcase student work as well as any art-related content I teach, make and/or see.

Connect Everything!

Your school may or may not have a system in place to easily collate virtual learning content so make it easy on yourself, your admin and the little people you are trying to connect with and connect all of your platforms. Link Tree is a great way to do this. If you don’t already have Link Tree, DO IT! This creates one sharable link that has all of your platforms in one place, one easy click away. That way when you need to share your content with classroom teachers, parents or your super supportive mom, it’s slick, easy, and always up-to-date.

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Link Tree is free and a great way to have all of your content housed in one convenient place.

Curriculum Content vs. One-Off Lessons

When I received the news initially that we would be closed for two weeks, I figured I could use videoes to front-load some of my essential questions for my new units, introduce the artists we were looking at and teach art vocabulary we would use in the upcoming projects. Then, when kids come back to school, you can launch into the making and doing. As the weeks turned into months, I just kept my units coming.

Now, I’ve had to modify them to use different materials, ones that kids likely have at home but this way I could show that curriculum was continuing on despite being physically apart. I have talked to some teachers who have done the opposite and now in our 6th week of home learning, they are finding it difficult to keep generating new content. This takes me back to my original point, USE WHAT YOU HAVE! Use your units and lessons and simply modify the materials or rearrange the order of your curriculum to facilitate the units and lessons that are more suited for home learning i.e. portraits, observational drawing and/or collage.

Engagement Rate

At my school, the specialist subject’s home learning content is not required. I have strong feelings on this but that is for another day and another post but be prepared for kids not following through with learning you have created for them. However, despite being optional (eye twitch) I have about 20% engagement rate meaning, about 1/4 of my students/partners/guardians are looking at my blog, watching videos and sending me photos of their work. This is actually pretty good for being optional!

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Our subject is very visual, so personally, what I think works best is video demonstrations. Think of it like any other lesson minus the actual making of the art and clean-up. Film your opener, state the goals for the lesson or assignment, demonstrate techniques and skills and the rest is up to them!



I have created a set in my art room to film introductions to demonstration videos. I film everything on my iPhone and then use iMovie and Garage Band to create videos that I upload to my Youtube Channel.

Some of my comrades have created online galleries where kids can share their artwork but depending on how many kids you teach and how long school might be closed, be careful to not make a rode for your own back. That’s a lot of digital artwork to manage! Have a plan if you need to virtually collect work to not create an organization headache later.

Life-Long Learners

Take this situation and look at it as an opportunity to learn and try new things! From finally learning how to use iMovie and Garage Band on your Mac to logging into your first Zoom meeting, there is going to be a lot of learning! Also, constraints bore creativity so try to use this time to think differently on how you do things and how you deliver content. Also, do a bit of research and find other teachers and Youtubers that you like regarding their style, delivery and try to use them as a model, a guide to help you get started helping you find your own way of doing things. Below is a fellow Hong Kong Primary Art Teacher, Chris Gadbury, that has used his impressive graphic design skills to create entertaining video lessons.

What Materials Do They At Home?

A big constraint is materials and knowing what kids have at home. From my experience, you can assume that all kids have some pencils, pens, scissors, tape, a glue stick and maybe some markers, crayons and/or colored pencils. There is a lot you can do with these items. In addition to teaching visual arts, we are now teaching resourcefulness!

No watercolor paint? Make some using old markers or coffee! No paintbrush? Use a Q-tip! No blank paper? Make your own by turning recycled paper into pulp and making handmade paper with a deckled edge that would rival the expensive stuff in the store! You get the idea. Don’t let limited materials hold you back, see it as an opportunity to teach students how to improvise, adapt, and overcome!

Go Get Your Nails Done!

Yes, you miss your students, yes, the workload is the same because filming and editing take a long time but you don’t have to prep or clean-up after materials! This is a positive, at least for me who has always wanted nails like Cardi B! Use this time to moisturize your hands, wear clothes you normally don’t because you’re worried they will be ruined and put your feet up because the physicality of your day-to-day is now a whole lot lighter! Oh, and then use your own nail polish to make more content! HA!

HKIS Home Learning Portal: Weeks 1 – 6

Teaching Art

Ms. London, and I have created content to use at home with our Lower Primary Learners (HI HKIS DRAGONS!) This post will provide Home Learning Activities for students ages 4 to 5 (Reception 1), 5 to 6 (Reception 2), 6 to 7 (Grade 1) and 7 to 8 (Grade 2). The content below provides one art activity per week per grade level/age group. More Little Art Lessons for at-home use are also available on my Youtube Channel for additional art activities and experiences. Note that these videos and activities can also be used by anyone so feel free to share with other parents, families and other little artists!

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Hi Artists! Ms. London and I miss you!

Ms. London and I would love to see artwork that artists are creating at home! Whether it is a photo you snapped during the process or a photo of your final finished artwork, SHARE IT WITH US! Simply click the button below which will take you to a Google Drive Folder where you can upload photos of artwork. Please label the file with your little artists’ first and last name and put it in the correct grade level to help us sty organised. Looking forward to seeing your amazing artwork, artists!


Grade 2: Self Portraits – Lesson 1: The Selfie

This lesson is to introduce the art vocabulary term, Self-Portrait, in a fun and relatable way for our Grade 2 learners.

Grade 2: Portraiture – Lesson 2: Self-Portrait Drawing

In Lesson 2, students will create a Self-Portrait drawing of their likeness! Using some step-by-step resources and drawing guides, students can draw a cartoon-like emoji of them themselves! Don’t stop at one, draw two or three and experiment with different hair styles, expressions and accessories!

Simple Self-Portrait Drawing Guide

Expressions & Emotions Drawing Reference

Grade 2: Portraiture – Lesson 3: Color

In Lesson 3, students will add color to their Self-Portraits! Using basic materials at home, add color to provide more information about themselves!

Grade 2: Portraiture – Lesson 4: Collage

In Lesson 4, students will add collage items to their Self-Portraits! Using images and text cut from old magazines and newspapers, students can add more information about themselves using different imagery and text.

Grade 2: Portraiture – Lesson 5: Portraits

In Lesson 5, students will use what they have learned in previous lessons and create a Portrait which is a drawing or artwork portraying someone else! Using the same materials and drawing guide, students can create a portrait of a family member, role model or even the family pet!

Simple Portrait Drawing Guide

Expressions & Emotions Drawing Reference

Grade 2: Portraiture – Lesson 6: Assessment

This week’s assessment is to show Ms. London and I what you have learned on Portraiture! Click the button below to take a  fun and short online quiz, testing you on what you have learned over the last 5 weeks of hoe learning in art!

Grade 2 Assessment

Grade 1: Where do Artists Get there Ideas!? – Lesson 1: Observational Drawing

Grade 1 learners are introduced to the artwork of Adam Frezza & Terri Chiao as well as learning different ways artists generate and gather ideas for their own art making. This lesson focuses on observational drawing as a way to gather ideas for art making like Adam Frezza & Terri Chiao.

Grade 1: Where do Artists Get there Ideas!? – Lesson 2: Draw from your Imagination

For Grade 1’s second lesson, students will use their ingredients of art, The Elements of Art, Line, Shape and color to build pattern to take their plant from the real world to the surreal world!

Grade 1: Where do Artists Get there Ideas!? – Lesson 3: Sculpture_Play Dough

For Grade 1’s third lesson, students will use some other ingredients in the kitchen with Ms. London to make play dough! This lesson also introduces the art vocabulary and actions for Sculpture, 3D & 2D. Students will later use the play dough as a sculpting material to create playful plays.

Grade 1: Where do Artists Get there Ideas!? – Lesson 4: Sculpture_Hand Building

For Grade 1’s fourth lesson, students can use the play dough they made in Lesson 3 or another sculpting materials to practice hand-building techniques in preparation of creating their playful plant in next weeks lesson!

Hand Building Worksheet

Grade 1: Where do Artists Get there Ideas!? – Lesson 5: Playful Plants & Cacti

For Grade 1’s fifth lesson, students will use either the play dough they made or another sculpting material to create a playful plant or cacti! Note that the examples in the video are what students have created years prior using air dry clay and acrylic paint to paint designs once dried. Depending on the materials you have, the clay can be painted or simply made over and over again using play dough – it’s up to you!

Grade 1: Where do Artists Get there Ideas!? – Lesson 6: Assessment

This week’s assessment is to show Ms. London and I what you have learned! Click the button below to take a fun and short online quiz, testing you on what you have learned over the last 5 weeks of home learning in art!

Grade 1 Assessment

Reception 2: Looking Like an Artist – Lesson 1: Hong Kong Buildings_Drawing

In the classroom Reception 2 students are learning about the city in which they live, Hong Kong! They are connecting their learning to art by practicing building from observation and resources. In this lesson students practice drawing iconic building within the city and/or buildings they see around them!

Reception 2: Looking Like an Artist – Lesson 2: Hong Kong Buildings_Tracing

For Reception 2’s second lesson, students will trace their drawings with black marker. This is a great way to help practice fine motor control and mindfulness. Use what you have at home – lots of options are listed in the video.

Reception 2: Looking Like an Artist – Lesson 3: Imaginative Creature

For Reception 2’s third lesson, students will use their imagination to draw an imaginary creature we would not see roaming around Hong Kong i.e. dinosaur, unicorn, space alien. Using materials at home, students will draw and color a crazy creature to have ready for the next lesson.

Reception 2: Looking Like an Artist – Lesson 4: Arrange & Glue

For Reception 2’s fourth lesson, students will cut, arrange, and glue their buildings and imaginary creatures to a background to complete their artwork.

Reception 2: Looking Like an Artist – Lesson 5: Imaginary City

For Reception 2’s firth lesson, students will use the skills they learned in previous lessons create their very own imaginary city. This lesson again combines observation and imagination which helps young artists start to use their observations of the world around them and their own ideas to create art.

Reception 2: Looking Like an Artist – Lesson 5: Assessment

This week’s assessment is to show Ms. London and I what you have learned! Click the button below to take a fun and short online quiz, testing you on what you have learned over the last 5 weeks of home learning in art!

Reception 2 Assessment

Reception 1: The Elements of Art – Lesson 1: Sing Along!

It is important for our littlest learners to retain and practice the language we have been using in the art room. Below is a video of a song we sing in the art room, The Elements of Art Song, as well as the actions to use when singing and listening. When your little artist is drawing and painting at home, ask them to show you where they used Line, Shape and Color. Talking about their art is as important as making art so take some time to use the song and actions to help your little artist practice their art vocabulary.

Reception 1: The Elements of Art – Lesson 2: Color

Read some of our favorite books from the art room with Ms. London and her dog, Dolly. In this video, Ms. London and Dolly read White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker. Try making your own color wheel at home using found objects. Paper clips, toys, or bottle caps try to find one object for each color in the color wheel – Red, yellow, orange, green, blue, indigo (light blue or teal) and violet.


Reception 1: The Elements of Art – Lesson 3: Line

Read some of our favorite books from the art room with Ms. London and her dog, Dolly. In this video, Ms. London and Dolly read A Line Can Be by Laura Ljungkvist. Using string or yarn at home, try making ten different kinds of lines! After you make each line using the string, try to copy the line using a pen/pencil on paper. This is a great challenge using your hands in two different ways!


Reception 1: The Elements of Art – Lesson 4: Shape

Read some of our favorite books from the art room with Ms. London and her dog, Dolly. In this video, Ms. London and Dolly read My First Shapes with Frank Llyod Wright by Frank Llyod Wright Publishing Company & Muddpuppy. At home try to use shapes to build a house. You can choose the materials! From blocks on the carpet to paper and crayons, name the shapes as you use them to build a house like Frank Llyod Wright!


Reception 1: The Elements of Art – Lesson 5: Hello, from Friends in the Art Room

White Rabbit, Larry the Snake & Frank Lloyd Wright miss the students! So this week students can reconnect with them as well as reminding them to continue using their ingredients when they are making and baking some yummy delicious art! These three art loving mascots are excited to see you!

Reception 1: The Elements of Art – Lesson 6: Assessment

This week’s assessment is to show Ms. London and I what you have learned! Click the button below to take a fun and short online quiz, testing you on what you have learned over the last 5 weeks of home learning in art!

Reception 1 Assessment

Matte Medium & Tape Transfers

Teaching Art

From journaling to mixed media art, transfers are a great way to add text, texture, and images to your artmaking. I learned several techniques in my papermaking course at university and have recently incorporated some of these techniques into my lessons. The students were amazed that they could ‘make stickers’ and transfers images to surfaces ‘like tattoos’. Below are some easy ways for you to add transfers into your art as well as how to teach transfers to your students.


InkJet Printer Images

For transfers explained in this is post, the images that are used need to be printed from an inkjet printer as opposed to a laser printer. The matte medium and the adhesive of the tape stick to the printed ink from the paper leaving the transferred image. High contrast black and white images and text work best. Because the images are transferred background, any words, characters or symbols must be reserved on a computer program before printed to ensure the when transferred they can be read correctly.


Tape Transfers

Using adhesive clear packaging tape, apply the image sticking the image on the adhesive side. Then, wet the back of the paper with a wet cloth or rage or run under water. Once the paper is slightly transparent, begin rubbing the paper off the tape. The white paper rolls and rubs away relieving just the black ink image sticking to the adhesive. Continue to rubbing until all of the white paper pulp is off the tape. Use a clean dry cloth or rag to pat dry the tape. The tape is still slightly sticky allowing it to stick to surfaces.




Matte Medium Transfer

The matter medium acts like the adhesive of the tape and created a thin layer of medium for the ink to adhere. Brush on the matter medium unto the surface you are placing the transfer on. Place the paper ink side down onto the medium. Be careful not to get the matte medium on top of the white backside of the paper. Although it to dry and use a wet cloth to wet the paper until it is transparent and you can see the images beneath. Then using your fingers or gentle with the rag, begin rubbing the paper away. Often some of the images rub away which creates tarnishes, antique effects. Rewet the surface to continue to rub gently until all of the paper pulp is rubbed off. The technique also works on cardboard and most surfaces however because you need to wet and rub the paper using a heavier weight paper for the background is important.

Latex Glue Varnish

I often use a latex glue to varnish the surface of a collage or artwork with transfers because it helps to seal the collage items, gives a slightly shiny surface finish and also helps to intensify the black of the transfers.

For the artwork below, students began by making backgrounds with watercolor. Then they added cut out collage items from lai see packets. Lastly, they added matte medium transfers before putting a coat of latex glue on the top.

Day of the Dead Inspired Pumpkin Artwork & Display

Teaching Art

Because we are such a large school and lack permanent space to exhibit students’ work, I have had to get a bit creative on how to share our students’ art within our community. Therefore, I have hitched my wagon to our school’s annual Pumpkin Festival and this year it was another wild ride!


Wanting to recycle the same lessons, planning and logistics from last year, Grade 2 students made papier-maché pumpkin sculptures, Grade 1 created oil pastel and watercolor resistant pumpkins and Reception 2 collaborated to make a large banner that tied in their learning from their color theory unit. Last year students pulled inspiration from the art and life of Yayoi Kusama, whereas this year students looked at the imagery, colors, and designs from Dia de los Muertos to influence their art.

Reception 2: Painting Pumpkins using Tints & Shades

After learning how to mix secondary colors as well as how to lighten and darken a color by adding white or black, Reception 2 students painted pre-made pumpkin templates demonstrating their ability to create two tints and two shades. Once we had all two hundred painted, I cut them out and glued them to a banner that I painted and prepped prior.  I painted latex glue onto the back of each one and then flattened them with books while they dried.


Grade 1: Day of the Dead Inspired Oil Pastel a Watercolour Wash Pumpkins

Students began the unit by creating observational drawings of pumpkins. Once they had the outline of the pumpkin traced in marker, we looked at images and videos from the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. Students then created posters to have as reference later.

Students practiced drawing Sugar Skulls in their sketchbooks before transferring their designs to their pumpkin drawing. After tracing the rest of the designs in marker, students added oil pastels and then painted a watercolor wash over the top. for the background, I taught a step-by-step lesson on how to draw a web with rulers also using oil pastels and finishing with a watercolor wash. Lastly, pumpkins were cut-out and glued to their background.

Grade 2 Day of the Dead Inspired Pumpkin Sculptures

Grade 2 students began by applying several layers to a balloon. After the form was solid, they added a stem using rolled newspaper and masking tape. Then applying a final layer of papier-maché to connect the two forms. A layer of black or white gesso was applied to create a smooth surface.

The Day of the Dead celebrations were introduced and students learned how to cut a symmetrical paper skull to which they then glued onto their pumpkins with latex glue both under and on top of the skull. Before drawing directly on to their sculpture, students practiced different patterns and designs in their sketchbook first. Posco paint pens were used to build color, shapes and lines to make their skulls unique and their own.

When I first began visualising this display, I knew I needed a cohesive color scheme to help tie the three different art forms together. I made sure to stick with the same colors for each project as well as using black and white to ensure the artwork looked both stunning on its own and as a collective.


I enjoyed my second ride through the pumpkin patch and the students felt excited and proud showing off their pumpkin paintings and sculptures. It made the prep, planning and pungent smell of papier-mache in the art room all worth it! cheers to another wild wagon ride in 2020!