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Project Ideas Submitted - 2021-22

Below are short descriptions of the projects submitted, along with sample pictures, upgrades, and related links.  

If you are voting on projects, please get the general idea of the projects before going to the Feedback (aka voting) form!   Thank you!

A Not-So-Gory Gorey (Edward Gorey)

Students will learn about Gorey, his pen and ink texturing, “nonsensical” prose and off-kilter sense of humor.  Then with some guided drawing, they can create a piece in the spirit of his work.   They will draw one human form and one creature in pen and ink with a bit of a story or verse to go with it.    

They can make up their own creepy creature and give it a name, or draw something from real life if they prefer.    There are a couple of options for writing a little “nonsense” of their own depending on desire and grade level/ability.

Easy upgrades: Cardstock pre-cut into square shape, 

Sakura Micron Pen or Black Flair Pen (Sharpie not recommended) 

Video Reading of one of his books:


Arctic Fox

Follow a guided drawing of an arctic fox!   To keep it simple, we can make a version on a single paper, drawing the fox and adding a background with trees or some sort of artic lighting. 

Easy upgrade:

Cut out the fox and put on another page for the background.  Blue radiating circles are usually done in paint, but if paint isn't possible, we could do some other version or interesting background.  Maybe radiating lines.  Maybe supply dark blue and use white pencils to draw stars or snow in the sky, or the birch trees.

Extension option:  

Add birch trees using masking tape before coloring value sky

Example lesson:

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Butterfly Life-Cycle

Create a folded art project using watercolor paper and follow a caterpillar as it munches on a leaf, creates a chrysalis, and then becomes a big beautiful butterfly.   Build skills in drawing lines, shapes, curves, and vocabulary: metamorphosis, symmetry, spiral, ovals, circles, line and more.

Easy upgrades: Watercolor or good quality paper, oil pastels, watercolors if allowed



Draw cacti in a decorated pot (color or black and white).  Lesson could include things like Mexican pot patterns, overlapping, texture (for spines and gravel), balance, shading.   Could do multiple pots with one succulent in each if it is easier for K-1.  Sample patterns and cacti could be provided for ideas.

Easy upgrades: 

- sharpie or thick black markers (to make black extra black)

- cut out cacti/pot and glue on colored paper backing. 

-bring cacti and/or pots into classroom to see for examples or refer to to make it more a still-life practice. 

- handouts with samples patterns and cacti.

Example lessons:

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Colors (Kandinsky)

Kandinsky did this piece as a study to see how colors work together. Talk about color and mood and have them choose colors that are associated with various emotions for some of the squares... and let them play with color relationships on the rest.  Works with markers, crayons and colored pencils. 

Easy upgrades: oil pastels

Example lesson video (history):

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Donuts (Wayne Theibaud)

Learn about Wayne Theibaud and create a grid of 4 donuts.  (Or maybe less for younger students).  A great lesson on form and shading to get the illusion of depth.  And it is fun!  

Easy Upgrades: oil pastels, drawing paper pre-cut into a square



- Black paper with oil pastels donut lesson

- Cakes!

Sample lesson:

Sample video:

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Dragon Eyes

This is a kid favorite and is a great lesson on blending. Plenty of teacher led instructional videos on Youtube.   Can be simplified for littles or more detailed for Middle/High.   

Easy upgrades:  Oil Pastels, sharpies 


- Origami Folded Dragon Eye - Fold and color so it can look like it is blinking

- Dragon in Castle Window - Dragon eye paper taped/glued  behind cut out window castle window paper

Sample lesson video:

Sample video of Origami Eye:

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Dream Castle

Learn all the parts of a Medieval Castle: Towers, Turets,  Battlements, Portcullis, Drawbridge, Moat, Banners & Flags.  Then have a royal good time creating a dream castle!  

Easy upgrades: sharpie, watercolor, handouts

Possible extensions: More details & architectural elements, Shading, 2D Elements

Example video lesson:

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Fantastic Sunset (Alma Thomas)

Discover abstract artist Alma Thomas and emulate her style using broad tip markers.   Crayons work OK too. 


Alma Thomas was an African-American artist and teacher who lived and worked in Washington, D.C..  She is best known for the "exuberant", colorful, abstract paintings that she created after her retirement from a 35-year career teaching art.  

Upgrade options: 

- markers (to ensure they have thick ones and many colors)

- Glue and colored paper make a composition with torn or cut paper instead.

Example lesson video:

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Folding Fish

Have fun with hungry fish!  Students can bring home a surprise...It looks like a kind fish, but open up the paper and perhaps there is more to see!  Kids can be creative picking how to decorate their fish, and why their fish might be opening their mouths. 

Optional possible extension - have students tell someone else about their fish - it's a name, what type of fish it is, where does it live, why is it opening it's mouth.  

Easy upgrades:

- thicker paper so colors don't blead thru if they do it with ink.

- googly eye stickers they can add if they want

- supply markers 

Example lesson:

Example video:

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10,000,000,000,000,000,000. It is estimated there are over 10 quintillion insects at any given time on earth! They deserve some love! Think beetles, ants, bees, butterflies, caterpillars, flies, crickets.

There are various 'famous' insect artists.  One is Bernard Durin. He painted many beautiful “portraits” of these creatures in watercolor. His very detailed work reveals the ingenious wonders of nature and the wide palettes of colors, textures and details. His work is admired by both natural scientists and art lovers alike.

For our lesson students can have samples of insects to pick from and observe.  Then they can draw what they observe.  Tips can be given like look for 'shapes' that they see.  If needed, can be a more directed drawing for younger students.   They can be colored like they observe, or they can come up with their own patterns. 

Easy upgrades:  nice paper, glitter/metallic pencils (some insects look iridescent!), watercolor if possible

Example lesson with samples:

Variation class lesson (interactive)

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Lampshade Diorama

Create a cool diorama!  When a view walks past the 'Character' will appear to move!  On a paper, students will design a “character” of their choice, and then cut around it so it protrudes into the void. On the other side of the paper, draw the environment, or scenery to be associated with that character.   Once completed, roll the paper and tape the edge to create a tube or “lampshade”.   If you walk by it it appears to move because of the the distance between the “character” and the background as well as the shape of the diorama itself.


It offers a lot of flexibility, kids love it and they can be creative.  We can adapt it for younger grades that may have trouble with the cutting step.



Piet Mondrian is well known for his style that looks like an irregular checkerboard drawn with black lines, and with white and primary colors - blue, red, and yellow.   Students can create their own Mondrian styled art.  Lessons on-line vary: 

- use various rectangular templates, trace around them and have them overlap in spots, and color with primary colors.  (have seen with other shapes too like circles and triangles, but rectangles are more 'classic')

- draw free-hand lines/shapes or rulers instead of templates

-create a border shape and fill it in his style

Easy upgrades: thick paper, regular and thick sharpies or black markers.  Supply black paper strips that can be glued down and trimmed  for the lines.  Juicy markers for the bold colors (to make sure they have red, yellow, blue)

Easy extensions at home:  Use black tape for lines.  Do a version with Legos.

Example lesson:


Example video:


Night Walk

Create a night walk scene!   What will you find with your flashlight?  "Flashlight", a picture book by Lizi Boyd with similar artwork, is available to 'watch' on youtube.  This requires black paper, and just a little some cutting and gluing - to put the flashlight on the paper.  It also uses colored pencils (at least one light one!).  We could pre-supply flashlight cut-outs if needed for the younger kids if they can't cut. 

Example lesson:

Book trailer & pictures on Youtube:

Extension idea:  Create an under the sea magic flashlight (or Halloween scene!)

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Rubber Ducks

Learn about community art parade exhibitions, and create your own  decorated rubber duck. Classes and schools can put them on display to have their own duck exhibition! 

"Cows on Parade" in Chicago is credited by many in helping spur this trend on.  But since then many towns have put on art parades with various twists - like the Wild Salmon on Parade in Anchorage, or the Rubber Ducks in Michigan.

Why should we do the rubber duck?  "The rubber duck is a symbol of happiness and childhood memories, giving comfort to different people regardless of their nationality, age, and race."  

Students can decorate their own rubber duck - modifying for the various ages as needed.  Depending on age and classes or schools  can display them to create their own art exhibits.

Easy Upgrades:  thick paper, sharpies for decorating, glue and magazine/picture scrapes or adds and ends to add to the decoration.

Examples Lesson with lots of samples:

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Also seen as "Textures on Umbrellas".  Whatever you call it, let's imagine a happy rainy day.  Create an umbrella and add different textures, patterns  or designs in each section.   Add the person carrying the umbrella, puddle, and rain.  Event the clothes and puddle can be decorated with patterns. Umbrella doesn't have to be a perfect octagon!  Versions from little ones with circular umbrellas look cute!  

Upgrade options: 

- Cut out character with umbrella and glue to blue or black paper.  Then add rain with a white or light pencil on the black paper. 

- Metallic Sharpies for special touches on the umbrella

Extension/variation options:

- Create a color wheel umbrella

- Put two people under the umbrella

Sample lesson:

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