The Dot

25 03 2010

One of my most favourite books is called The Dot by Peter Reynolds. It is about a girl who believes she cannot paint. Her art teacher encourages her to sign her name and the process of creativity begins. Its a great story to make the point that if you are frustrated, take a small step and it can lead you to success. I begin a lesson with this book then the art activity is to create our own dot(s). I discuss Wassily Kandisnky and then we proceed with the art project. I like to use different “canvases” to create art. I have done this lesson using light switches and coloured Sharpies. Light switches are cheap and kids love the uniqueness of designing something useful.

I have also done this with plasticine. I get mat boards from a local art framing business for free. Here are the results.



21 03 2010

I just came across this fantastic website for kids art games. Check out Cybermuse. There are enough games to appeal to everone. Have fun.


17 03 2010

We just got back from a two day trip to Toronto. We had a great many laughs at Second City. I love improv and they had a show just for kids which we found very funny. After, we went to the Bata Shoe Museum. I don’t have a love for shoes like my 7 years old but the museum has done such an excellent job of exhibiting the shoes and the history. They had one shoe of Picasso. Not sure what happened to the other half.   Because we got there a little too late in the day, we rushed through the exibits and missed out on the many activities offered. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this musuem. On Tuesday, we went to the Ontario Science Centre  along with thousands of other people. Even with the crowds it was manageable and there were lots of shows and activitoes. The highlight of the visit were designing their own “shoe”, making duct tape wallets and a duct tape rose. It was very cool and not too difficult.  Here is a link to  duct tape crafts.

Here is Maya’s green duct tape rose.

Duct Tape rose

Barefoot Books

12 03 2010

Shakespeare’s Storybook was my first book from the publishing company Barefoot Books. I loved it so much, I was telling my stay at home mom friends to become book sellers. Then, when I relocated to London and found myself unemployed I decided to take the plunge.  Barefoot Books complements well with Budding Artists. The books are top quality-beautifully illustrated and the short story collections are fantastic. Shakespeare’s Stories is a collection of  7 folk tales popular during Shakespeare’s time. These are the folktales that inspired him to write his plays.  I have read this book to junior students and have had excellent discussions on the themes. You can also purchase this book with accomapanying CDs for long car rides.

I am not actively selling these days, choosing to focus on Budding Artists instead. However, I maintain a Barefoot Books marketplace page.  Any commissions earned will be donated in books to a high needs elementary school in London, Ontario. Watch out for their free shipping promotions. Its a great deal! Be aware that you still have to pay $10 for customs. Unfortunately, if you pay for shipping, this fee is added on top which makes it very expensive. If you are not in rush for a title and you live in London, call me and I will order it during the free shipping promotion and you can save the custom fee.

Leon the Chameleon

9 03 2010

I love this book. Its about a chameleon that changes the opposite colour from his surroundings. Because of this, he is shunned by all the little chameleons. In the end, Leon proves that being different is a good thing. This book was written by Melanie Watt (of Scaredly Squirrel fame).  I use this book to  begin a discussion on complementary colours. For this lesson, we used watercolours. I ask the students to create their own animal and paint it one colour. Then I ask them to choose the complementary colour to paint the background.

Purple Bug

Alfie’s Long Winter

17 11 2009

Alfie on a cool night

Alfie’s Long Winter is written by Greg McElvoy. It’s a fantastic book about a leaf named Alfie who is too scared to jump off the tree when autumn comes. It’s a wonderful book to make connections on children’s fears and ways they have conquered their fears. 

I took this idea from That Artists Woman blog. I adapted it for the classroon. After reading the book, we  created our own tree with Alfie on it.  I began with teaching a lesson on drawing trees. We practiced on GOOS ( good on one side) paper.  Then I asked the students to create a background. I used a 3×5″ size cardstock paper. They have to choose a warm or cool background. They are free to anything in their background but they must use only warm or cool colours. They can use pencil crayons, markers or crayons. Some students made patterns, while others created abstract backgrounds. Once the background was completed, students had access to  thick, medium and thin black markers to draw Alfie’s tree.  Its simple and quick.   I pasted the artwork on black construction paper and hung it up. The  lesson took about 1 hour.


3×5″ Cardstock

Black Construction Paper

Thick, medium and thin black permanent markers

Alfie on a warm day

pencil crayons, crayons and markers