My Favorite Meal


My 4th grade art students always seem to have fewer barriers between their art and their imagination than my 5th and 6th graders. I’m not sure why that is, but is delightful to watch and listen to them as they open up to a project. I revisited an old classic recently when I asked my 4th grade artists to draw their favorite meal.

The set up for the project is a discussion about going on a picnic. Students get to pick their favorite foods to have at the picnic, which must include a main course, sides, drink and dessert. They must also include silverware and a napkin and a tablecloth under the plate.

I have three goals for this project.

  1. They must have their food shown from a bird’s-eye point of view, which involves a demonstration and discussion of how shapes change when they are shown from different perspectives.
  2. They must show a place setting, which involved a discussion and pictures of how you set a table. Social skills in art class. I wonder how many families sit down at a common table for dinner these days, so I hope I filled in a gap for some of my students who have not ever set a table.
  3. They must show a pattern of some kind on the tablecloth, which reinforces the definition of a pattern in art as a repeated shape or color series.

Students have a large sheet of paper as their format, 12 x 18 inches, and draw first in pencil, then outline in sharpie and color with crayon. I give them a paper plate to draw around to make sure we don’t have miniature plates.

And oh the stories about what food my students like the best!

And the extras! Ants on the tablecloth. Butterflies flying over the picnic.  Good memories about family. Great fun.

Art Elements 101


I found a wonderful beginning art project to explain and practice the seven art elements all on one composition on the great blog So thank you Miss Osborne! I love this project.Art Elements 1

Art Elements 2

A little background. We have a twelve week fine arts rotation schedule in our elementary school. Fourth, fifth and sixth grade students come to art for twelve weeks, music for twelve weeks and technology for twelve weeks. Thirty minute classes, Monday through Friday. It is a great schedule for continuity in the lessons. Students don’t forget what they learned yesterday like they do if you only come to art class once a week. So we hit the ground running at the beginning of the year, to cover as much material as we can. After the have-to’s in any classroom; behavior rules, emergency drills, where does everything go discussions, we get down to art business, which was about Wednesday of the first week.


dsc09790The art elements are a critical understanding in my class. As I tell my students, “They help you interpret new art you have never seen and organize the art that you create today.” This year I built an art elements power point to help us progress through the lesson. the-elements-PowerPoint
The words I use with each slide are on the notes pages of the power point. Plus I used a super art elements handout from Pinterest that focuses on each element in a kind of short-hand way. At this point my intent is more about building a visual vocabulary than creativity, although there are plenty of opportunities to be creative and make choices. My students really seemed to respond well to this beginning and now we are on to a new project with out art elements firmly in mind. Here’s some results:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.