Pasta Textured Pinch Pot Fish

Texture is an Element of Art that we review with different materials throughout the year. This week we used dry pasta to create a variety of interesting textures in a pinch pot. Students added features and details to create a unique fish.


Wet clay textured with a variety of different shaped pasta 


Swimming to the kiln….

After their sculptures were fired in our kiln, students used liquid water color and construction paper crayons to bring them to life!


See how we made them or try it at home with air dry clay or modeling dough… Pasta Textured Fish Demo Video


Andy Saczynski Inspired Florida Folk Art

As an art teacher I believe it is important to teach students that people are making art today, after all, many of the masters artist we come to admire are now on the other side (Van Gogh, Monet, da Vinci, etc.). There are so many artists creating amazing work this very minute, right here in the Sunshine State no less. Cue…Andy Saczynski!

Saczynski is a Florida based Folk Artist who uses a variety of materials to create bold works that are eye catching and student accessible. His work can also be found on Immaculate Baking products at your local grocery, further proof art is everywhere if you look! You can read more about Andy Saczynski and see his art by visiting,

Together we looked at Saczynski’s alligator assemblages, while he used a variety of materials (requiring several power tools) we opted for paint and paper. Students worked with different color paper and studied how shapes can be used to create simple images. Using a variety of patterns and colors students created breathtaking works while also reviewing the Elements of Art (line, color and shape).




Artist Mark Oliver Inspired Litterbugs


Mark Oliver is a contemporary artist based out of England, his work is not only beautiful but incredibly interesting. Oliver takes two elements that most people find unsightly, trash and insects and makes them so intriguing that most cannot look away. Analyzing Oliver’s work provides an opportunity for students to question what they consider an art supply and how different materials are used to communicate powerful messages.

Litter is a universal problem, but what if students discovered ways to create art with lasting materials we regularly discard. This project is designed to get students to think creatively about what materials can be instead of only looking at what the material is. When students start to see possibilities where others see limitations, suddenly the entire world becomes an art store. Mark Oliver’s work proves that you do not need fancy, expensive art supplies to create beautiful art that communicates powerful messages.


For this project, students were given an array of materials. They were tasked with designing an insect using unlikely supplies.  Each insect had to have a three part body, antennas and fit within specific measurements.  The results were amazing.





Scrap Paper Fish

Maybe it is because I am an art teacher, or maybe it is by chance, either way, when I see beautifully painted bits of paper in the trash I must heroically come to their rescue. At first it was the big pieces, then the medium ones and slowly my obsession grew to collecting even the smallest scraps. As the pile of brightly colored shapes started to overtake desk, I realized they had so much potential, and were deserving of a second chance at becoming a masterpiece.  As I began to experiment and plan for a future project, I realized that what I really wanted was for my students to see the potential and possibilities that I saw when I looked at their beautiful scraps. And so it began….

Each student created an 12″x 18″ piece of textured painted paper. Students were free to experiment with different tools, different colors and even different brushes. Once the paper was dry, the project details were revealed….and things got a little “fishy.”


Each student cut out a fish body (a football/lemon shape) then, their scraps were put in a plastic tub in the center of the room. To create the detailed features of their fish they were only allowed to use scraps from their peers. Suddenly, those discarded bit of paper became valuable and students were eager to use them in new ways!





Elizabeth Rosen Inspired Collages

Artist Elizabeth Rosen is an New York based illustrator, painter and designer. This week we looked at her collage and mixed media work. Rosen creatively incorporates texture, a variety of paper, paint and simple shapes (Elements of Art) into each of her works. To see her pieces, visit (it’s nearly impossible not to love).

These collages were so much fun to create, the background texture was achieved by dragging a fork through wet paint! 1st & 2nd graders did an amazing job!

IMG_4397 IMG_4438




Transforming Spaces Through Art Education



Wet clay waiting to dry before being fired in our kiln!

Art has the power to change opinions, communicate ideas, transform spaces and change feelings. The power of art is limitless. This lesson focused on how art can be a vehicle for change. Together we looked at the young artists who transformed Brownsville, New York by creating a series of murals. These murals changed the way the community felt about where they lived.


  • How can we use art to change how we feel about our school?
  • How can art change other people’s perception of our school?
  • How can we transform a space on our campus?

Millions (well, maybe hundreds) of ideas followed through the art room. Here’s how our art room is using art to transform the front of our school (car loop). Our goal is simple…change how people feel when they approach our school (simple enough for a group of elementary students, right?).

Each student is creating two flowers (one for Columbia, one to keep and cherish forever). That 501 flowers that will be “planted” in a landscaped area in the front of the school. This large scale project will be too big to ignore!



‘ Together we all grow…




Dumpster Discovery

I think it is safe to speak for all art teachers when I say, we love trash. Here is the visual story of how an old, unloved chalkboard became something entirely different thanks to assistance of so many little painters! 

Playdough Plaster Molds

Surprisingly, this project falls into the “clean and easy” category even though it may sound slightly terrifying!

It has been raining for days, not just an afternoon shower but a slow, lingering rain that leaves you craving sunshine. Our days have been dominated by indoor activities which all seem to last a total of 4 minutes (despite my best efforts). This project was so much fun, it lasted over an hour (and clean up took minutes…with two boys under 4 “helping”).

Here’s what you’ll need….

  • Playdough
  • Plaster of Paris (Walmart, $3)
  • Small Shells, animals, sticks, leaves….the possibilities are endless!
  • Squeeze Bottle (Dollar Tree, $1)

IMPORTANT: Wait until all the molds are created before mixing plaster. The plaster will dry very quickly.




Filling playdough mold with plaster

Nature Mold

15 minute dry time

The finished product!


Keith Haring Inspired Art

Now that we have finished our Keith Haring box for public display (our front office lobby), we are moved on to creating individual works inspired by artist, Keith Haring. Haring’s work really lends itself to studying the Elements of Art & Principles of Design (especially line and movement). One of my favorite things about Haring, is he felt strongly that art is for everyone, because of this philosophy everyone in the school completed this project…although every student put their own twist on it!




District Elementary Art Show

The Brevard District Art Show was held at the Melbourne Auditorium, the room was filled with so many amazing pieces of art created by talented little artists. Congratulations to all the students whose work was selected to represent Columbia Elementary! We were fournate enough to have 5 students place…

2nd Place (3D, 5th Grade): Danielle

3rd Place (3D, 6th Grade): Alana

2nd Place (3D, 4th Grade): Jasmin

Merit: Alex (4th Grade) 

Merit Naomi (3rd Grade)