Kindergarten Kings and Queens

I just received some great news this year; my principal actually asked me how much money I needed for my budget, rather than give me a number that the district dictated.  It seems our new interim superintendent believes in “building level management”.  He instructed the principals to dole out budgets as they see fit, rather than having a stipend that was fixed across all schools.  So, next year, I will have almost twice as much money!! I am so excited!  I will finally be able to afford some of the more “luxurious” art materials that I used to covet.  I am dusting off some of my old lesson plans in preparation for rolling in the art dough next year.  Here is one of my favorite lessons with model magic (one of my favorite, easy modeling materials, that I only use very sparingly since it is pricey)

I did this lesson with kindergartners– This variation is “kings and queens” but I have also done this as a self-portrait and they are very successful as well.

clay the clay the clay clay queen

Students were asked to create themselves as a king or queen.


Model Magic, black construction paper- cut into 6×9 in pieces, glue, watercolor paint/brushes/water, Googly  eyes, feathers, beads, sequins, jewels, etc.

Day 1:

First demonstrate basic techniques for clay sculpting.  Have students come up with ideas for shapes to use for head, body, arms and legs.  Each students should first start off by creating a ball for a head and then gently flattening it.  Then add a neck, body, etc.  Demonstrate how to blend the clay together to create a stronger figure. Label with the student’s name and allow to dry.

Day 2:

Glue down any limbs or parts that have come loose or broken off– glue directly to construction paper.  Have the students paint their figure.  I found that it is best for the students to first paint the skin and then their clothes (I found that if they paint their clothes first, the bright colors from their clothes can get mixed into their skin tones).  Make sure to review with the students what parts of the body will be painted with  a skin tone— there are always a few that want to paint the entire body skin colored (and make their figure look naked!).

Day 3:

Embellish!! Pass out lots of fun little stuff and let the kids go wild.  Go around and make sure there are no loose parts or limbs.

Give this lesson a try and see how it works out for you. Do you have a project you like to do but your budget holds your back?  What art materials do you wish you could splurge on?

My Favorite Art Resources- Kindergarten Edition


Today, I would like to introduce a new feature to The Funky Art Teacher blog, My Favorite Art Resources! Each week I will introduce you to some of my favorite supplies, books, websites, and tools.

We have all been in the same situation– we have a few precious dollars to spend on supplies, but don’t know which ones are worth it!  This year I spent a large portion of my budget on gallons of tempera paint, only to realize that I type I purchased is practically worthless!  It is transparent, runny and drives the kids crazy (picture 20 students trying to use red and constantly shouting out to me “this paint is pink… not red!!!!”).

This week I will highlight some of my favorite supplies for kindergarten.

(WARNING– the following post contains real art supplies lovingly used in an actual elementary art room)

photo 5Black Crayola Crayons– These are great for drawing.  Oil pastels make a darker richer line, but are so messy and smudge easily.  Crayons are great for a smooth, black (non messy) outline.  Consider buying the fat chubby crayons for preschool, Kindergarten and First Grade



photo 1

Sargent Glitter Paint- I don’t know what camp your in; Art that looove glitter (ME!) or those that dislike it, but this glitter paint is awesome!  The colors are very vibrant and beautiful.  It manipulates well if you are making “painted paper” for collages.  My favorite quality of this paint is that it is transparent.  Often times our younger students tend to paint outside of the lines, which is fine by me, and the transparency of this paint still allows you to see the orginal drawing (unlike chalky tempera paint)

photo 3Glue Tap Caps- These caps come in handy for the youngest art students.  It is a two part cap that fastens on to any regular school glue bottle.  You do not need to twist the cap to use, but rather the kids tap the glue bottle onto their artwork and the cap releases a small dab of glue.  Sometimes the glue crusts over the tip, so you just need to pick it off a bit.  I have found that the best way to reuse these caps is to take the glue bottles, throw them into a tub of warm water and let them soak for a few hours or overnight.  At that point the glue will be soft and the caps will just twist off and can be rinsed for reuse.


photo 4Stubby Paintbrush- A great staple for the elementary art room.  It holds the perfect amount of paint, is cheap, sturdy and covers a large area in a short amount of time.  These brushes are also great if you are having the students paint large pieces of paper that will later be used in collages.


photo 2Liquid Watercolors- What did art teacher do before these were rolled out?  These paints are BRIGHT, paint up beautifully, are relatively inexpensive, and a little goes a long way.  I usually thin these down to make them last longer.  I like to use these with the kindergarteners mixed into something called Tempera Extender (a clear viscous liquid that is supposed to be added to tempera paint to make it last longer).  By mixing the liquid watercolor and tempera extender, you get a pretty transparent paint that allows the kinders under-drawings to show through.

Let me know if you have any favorite art supplies for younger students!  I am especially looking for recommendations for tempera paint brands that are affordable for my small budget but are not runny or transparent.



Monster Collages- Kindergarten Art

Kindergarten MonsterKindergarten art lessons seem to be a universal challenge to all art teachers.  How do you engage 20+ little learners who are more interested in asking to go to the bathroom and telling you about the latest Scooby Doo movie than listening to your well thought out art lesson of the day?!  A few years ago I submitted a proposal for a presentation at my state art education conference.  I was very happy when my presentation “Conquering Kindergarten” was accepted.  I collected all my favorite art lessons for kindergarten, borrowed a projector from the school and headed out to the convention.  When I walked into my presentation room, I was shocked— there were TONS of people there; some even sitting in the aisles and packed into the doorways.  It seemed kindergarten art was a “tough nut to crack”

Today I am going to share with you one of my favorite art projects for the kindergarten set– Monster Collages.  This lesson has three secret ingredients to engage the kindergarteners

1. MONSTERS!!  Most little kids looooove monsters

2. Simple shapes– break down the monster into shapes that ALL students can draw so every learner is successful

3. Glitter Paint– I know some art teachers HATE glitter, but the kids love it, so I embrace a little sparkle every now and then

To start off this lesson, I used a monster picture book.  I looked for one that had simple text and would be a quick read (in order to hold the kids attention).  I also wanted a book that had a variety of monsters of all shapes, sizes, and colors to give the students some ideas for their own monsters.  A book like this one would be a great choice:

My Very Silly Monster 123s: A Very Silly Counting Book

My Very Silly Monster 123s: A Very Silly Counting Book

I usually gather the students around me on the carpet and read.  After reading the class can brainstorm ideas for how to use shapes to create a monster. Questions to ask: What shapes can you use for a monsters body? What details can we add to our monsters and what shapes can we use to create them?

I send the kids to the seats and give them a piece of white drawing paper (somewhere around 12×18) and a black crayon.  I give students a crayon rather than a pencil because they erase too much when they draw with a pencil.  For this project I have the kids draw step by step, but not in the traditional sense.  I will not demonstrate on a white board or chalk board, but rather just verbally give instructions.  I may say something like this.

1. Close your eyes and imagine your monster.  Try to picture what his body will look like?  What kind of monster will he or she be?

2. Take you crayon and draw a BIG shape for your monsters body– it can be an oval, square, heart etc.

3. Draw some shapes for your monsters arms

4. Draw shapes for your monsters legs

5.  What kind of eyes will your monster have?  What shape can you use to make your eyes?  Will he/she have one eye or 5 eyes?

6. What other details will your monster have– give some suggestions. Horns, claws, antennae

At this point I tell the students to put their name on the back and give them a tray of liquid tempera paint (fluorescent would be fun for this project) and have them paint their monster.  I encourage them to select ONE color for the monster’s body, but can use as many other colors as they wish for the other areas of their monster.  If they have enough time, they can use the black crayon to draw a baby monster similar to their big monster and paint that as well.  This is a good “early finisher” activity for those kids that rip through an art project.

The next art class I have the students make a funky background paper for their monster.  We talk a little about picking contrasting colors.  I give them a sheet of paper, placed on top of a construction paper placemat.  I walk around the room with a bunch of glittery paints and let them pick 2-3 paints that I squeeze on their paper.  They have to cover the whole paper with glitter paint and use a plastic comb tool to rake designs into the wet paint.

The next week when the paper is dry, cut out the monsters and glue them to the background.  If you have a little extra time, the students can make a little book about their monster and attach it to their finished project.

I thought this project turned out quite well.  The students were excited about their monsters and looked forward to sharing them (and their little booklets) with their classmates at the end of class.  I mounted these on black paper to really make the colors pop and included them in our district art show– the parents loved them!

Do you have any successful kindergarten lessons?  Do you  have another monster lesson you like to do or favorite monster book you like to read?  I would love to hear about it!

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My first real elementary art blog post!

I created these little finger puppets in the third grade; they were one of my favorite elementary art projects!

I created these little finger puppets in the third grade; they were one of my favorite elementary art projects!

Hi everyone! My name is Laura Hubbard aka “The Funky Art Teacher”.  I teach art in Southern NJ in a wonderful school district with a rich arts program.  I have been teaching for about 1o years in a variety of elementary grades from K-6. Most years I have been a nomadic teacher, teaching at several school a week, as well as pushing around a trusty old art cart!

I have always loved art– when I was little, I used to craft little outfits, furniture, and accessories for my dolls.   I was lucky that I have parents that fostered my love of art, and eventually I found myself going to college for painting.  After four years at Rowan University, I graduated with a BFA in painting, but realized that life had bigger plans for me.  I enrolled in Tyler School of Art, and worked towards my MEd. in Art Education.  This is where I truly found my calling, to be an art teacher for the littlest learners.

As an art teacher, I have found that social media is a great outlet to share ideas and connect with other art teachers!  I love to read other art teachers blogs to gather ideas for my classroom and thought it was my time to share some of my interesting ideas, favorite lessons, photos, and perspective as an art teacher. So here I am…. another art teacher in the great world of blogging!! Here are some things I would like to share in my blog:

– Art lesson plans (printable hopefully)

– My art projects with many pictures; the more pictures the better as art is visual and I love seeing pictures of artwork when I read blogs.

– Art resources; My favorite art supplies, books, etc.

-Adaptive art lessons for the elementary art classroom.   This is something that is a little harder to find on the art ed blogs I peruse.

– Videos– If I can handle taping myself and hearing my squeaky voice on film

For now, look for me to post 2-3 times a week, or whenever I have a really interesting project, story, or art idea to share with my readers.

To start my blog, I decided on a very simple theme designed by a stay at home mom. Some main components I was looking for in a blog template were:

1. Simple 1 column blog with a right side menu

2. Social media clickable navigation buttons

3. Top menu to add pages to archive lessons, resources, link to my TpT site

4. Pinterest “pin it” buttons on each post; this will make it easy for readers to pin my lessons and share them via social media

5. An awesome blog header- look for this later this week as my graphic designer friend works on a interesting design that will be added to the top of my blog.

I hope that you find my blog informative, engaging, and gain some great ideas you can apply in your own art classroom.  What kind of lessons would you like me to share?  Is there a certain medium, topic, or art period you would like me blog about?