Lesson Plan:  In this class, we explained the significance of sharing work and ideas.  Each student created a portfolio which compiled their work made throughout the course of this class.  Work time was dedicated to sending collagraphs from last class through the printing press, binding books together, and creating any final works of art (using any technique) to add to portfolios.  Nick created more pieces using his knowledge of color theory while Kelsey continued making work featuring her signature pattern.  Students bound their books using the handmade pieces of paper from previous classes as book covers.  At the end of the day, students walked away with portfolios to share with their family and friends.

Key Concepts: Observe and learn to Comprehend, Envision and Critique to Reflect, Invent and Discover to Create

Essential Understandings: Creating a collection of art shows artist’s ideas and progression of thinking and making over time.

Objectives: Students will be able to present their work and ideas clearly through a portfolio.  Students will also be able to discuss their work with other students or viewers.

Skills: Students are able to organize their work into a portfolio and share their discoveries with other classmates, friends, and family members.  This skill is essential in the field of visual arts as well as any other content area.  It is important to understand how to organize ideas or thoughts in a way that can be presented clearly to other people.

Summary: We couldn’t have asked for a better way to wrap up two-dimensional Artistic Abilities.  To bring everything we learned full circle, students built portfolios and shared them with their classmates.  At the beginning of class, we gathered everyone in front of the projector and briefly went through the photos we have been taking to remind them of everything we learned throughout these classes.  During work time, students had about an hour to create any last piece of work they wanted in their portfolio.  Students were encouraged to go back and revisit a skill they really enjoyed from a previous class.  Jared, Ashley, and Jim were really excited about working with their collagraph plates and sending them through the press.  Nick and Ashley were happy to continue working with their themes and designs established in previous classes.  We helped each student punch holes the pieces of work they wanted in their portfolios and finally, we bound them together using ribbon or yarn.  The students took so much pride in their work and were excited to show off their portfolios to one another.  Nick opened up more about his knowledge of colors, and Ashley was enthusiastic about sharing her ideas with her fellow students.  Everyone ended up signing each other’s books, reminding us of the last day of school when everyone would go around having their peers sign their yearbooks. It was a great conclusion to a fun class full of talented and creative students.


Jared was very focused when applying paint to his collagraph.  He only used black for his print in order to see the different textures.  When the print came through the press, he waited anxiously to see the result, and was very excited to see how the textures turned out.  Through this process, he was able to discover a new way to create textures and prints.

Everyone was very excited to use the printing press to make prints with their collagraphs.  When a print came through the press, all of the students were amazed and waited anxiously to see the final piece.  Ashley was overjoyed to see how her prints turned out and couldn’t wait for them to come all the way through the press.  Each of the students were able to learn a new skill and discover a new way to create texture in a two-dimensional piece of artwork.


While other students were sending their collagraphs through the press, Nick took the remainder of class to explore color theory and began making color comparisons.  Up until this point, he focused primarily on mixing colors in straight lines to create a gradient effect.  However this time, he focussed on aligning colors to see how they stand next to each other while finding ways to relate the color mixes to real subject matter.  It was so cool to watch him take his incredible knowledge of color theory and relate it to the colors he sees during his daily life.  He went through each color with me to tell me what they represented.  For instance, he told me again that “blue and orange are Bronco’s colors.”  Before, he would have blended them together to see what they made, but this time he decided to compare them instead.


While putting together their final books, Kelsey decided to include her favorite design in the front page with the class picture we gave each student.  Since almost every piece she worked on this semester was built around this intricate design she created, this was a great way for her to bring all of her work into a full circle.  When looking through her portfolio, it is easy to see the pattern present itself through all of the different skills we discussed in class.

Each student was able to put together all of the work they have made over the semester to create a portfolio with all of their work.  They were able to use the paper they made as the cover pages, and use them to bind together all of their work.  Everyone was very excited about this final process, and the entire classroom was full of excitement and determination as they aimed for that final goal to have a portfolio to share with their family and friends.


One of the best parts about this last class was giving the students time to sign each other’s portfolio books.  Two weeks ago we took pictures of each student and then got a class picture.  This week we gave each student a copy of their picture as well as the class photo to include at the end of their books.  This was great; not only did they learn how to build a portfolio, but they were also able to show their work to their peers and share their ideas.  This is an important life skill not only in the field of visual art, but of any content area or social situation.  Being able to make a portfolio of their own work gave many of them a great sense of pride and confidence to express everything they worked on this semester.  Hopefully, this will translate well in other content areas and give them more confidence to express their thoughts or ideas, and translate them in an organized way the way a portfolio does.

Printmaking Methods (continuation)


Lesson Plan:

Students will continue to explore various printmaking methods. During this class students will learn how to make collagraphs and made monotypes. Students will receive a short demo on how to “ink” their collograph plate and how the printing press works. Students will review this process next class as well. Students will design plexi glass plates with markers and will use damp paper to imprint their design. After seeing a printed collagraph students will us various objects to create plates with various textures. Papermaking will still be available for students that were not able to make two pieces of paper for their books.

Key Concepts: Texture, Color, Layering, Pattern

Essential Understandings:

  1. Various methods can be used to make prints.
  2. Texture and color can be used to create artistic compositions.


Explore Printings methods for Planning Portfolio : students will learn new printing methods and plan pages for a final portfolio book. Colorado Visual Arts Standard Fifth Grade 3.3 Invent and Discover to Create


Skills: The skills taught in this lesson include creating mono-prints as well as creating patters for collagraphs.  They learned how to transfer designs from plexiglass (which is a different medium for mixing or creating a sense of texture) onto dampened paper to make a permanent design.  Students also learned how to create patterns for collagraphs by essentially combining different textured materials on a piece of paper that will go through a press with paint and paper to make a textured design.  These different strategies and skills in printmaking will help them grow as artists with emergent understanding.  Nick worked on developing stronger skills in color theory on his mono-prints by mixing different colors together and aligning them to compare and contrast. This will help Nick in other content areas that require comparisons as well as help him make make more assumptions while in the process of discovering.


Summary: In Wednesday’s learning experience, Students came to class eager to further develop their books which will contain all of their work from class.  In this lesson, we demonstrated how to both create a mono-print, as well as how to create the textured paper for a collagraph (which many students have claimed to be very excited about for next class.”  After we demonstrated everything we would be working on in class, the students quickly got to work on their pieces.  Some students like Nick were quick to begin the art-making process and see where it took them, while others like Heidi or Tyler spent a few minutes thinking about what it was they wanted to make that day.  Tyler has explained to us how much he enjoys creating characters, and the mono-printing was a fun and new way for him to create them.  He learned early on that in order to make a clear mono-print, you have to use a lot more marker ink and pressure when applying it to the paper.  He went on to develop his character by layering mono-prints on top of one another to create a fuller, more textured effect.  This was a great moment of discovery for him. Nick used the mono-printing station to further his understanding of color theory, while Kelsey used it as a new way to create her favorite pattern that has appeared in multiple pieces of her work.  The students worked with great excitement and expressed many moments of discovery.  The students were very quick to understand how to create mono-prints and how to build up textures for their collagraphs (which they will create next class) and were able to learn the skills quickly as well as use them as a source of many discoveries.  The students had a great time with these techniques!


Kelsey continued her use of patterns in her art. She carefully filled the plexiglass with various lines and forms.  She told us that her “favorite color was black”, and that she “loves making this design with that color.”  We have noticed that Kelsey has worked to build on this same pattern in each class.  She was excited to continue on with her experimentation with this design in a new way that could create a new sense of texture along with it.  
With monotypes you can usually only get one print, but Jared decided to print the excess color and was able to get two prints from one plate.  This image shows how Jared took the basic skill of mono-printing and discovered how it can be used to create patterns or texture with different amounts of color and water.  Jared was very surprised when his second mono-print appeared more like a watercolor piece rather than a piece made with washable marker.
Tyler enjoyed being able to use his drawing skills to make prints of his different characters. In this picture you can see his progression on how many layers to add to make the print come out clearer.  Tyler has created many different characters in his own personal time and documented them in a binder that he was kind enough to show us.  This image shows us how he took his designs and learned how to create them in a new way.

”  “

Most people in class used these new printmaking methods to further their designs from past classes. Nick transferred his color theory knowledge and used it to make monotypes. He was very excited to mix the blue and orange colors together, because “They are Broncos colors, and Broncos are [his] favorite team”.  As he began mixing, he said, “Blue and orange should make a red-gray when mixed together.”   We have noticed throughout the classes that Nick has been focussed primarily on color theory, and he has been very happy with each lesson that allows him to discover new colors in different formats.  He guesses beforehand what new color might be created when colors are mixed, and he is always very excited to see the outcome.  This continuation of discovery with colors will help him develop stronger skills in both creating colors, and better-documenting real life objects with accurate colors.  Last class, Nick focused primarily on creating earth tones like sepia, while in this past class, he worked to find different types of grays.  
Heidi really enjoyed making collographs, she precisely made a “fashion” design. She called it “Fashion Girl”

Found Object Printing: Pattern and Texture Exploration

Lesson Plan:

Students will discover that everyday objects can be used to create art.  Students will explore this by dipping or rolling found objects in paint and using them to make marks, creating unique patterns and textures.  After being introduced to the lesson and viewing examples, students will be encouraged to think of new ways to use these various objects in their art making process.  Students will also be able to create their own paper which they will later use as a cover for a books comprised of their artworks created throughout the class.

Key Concepts: Texture, Pattern, Unique use of materials

Essential Understandings:

1.) Artists transform everyday materials to make art.

2.) Pattern and texture can be formed many different ways.


New Ways to Look at Materials : Students will explore how common objects can be used to create texture and pattern.These explorations will teach them how all objects can be used in the art making process.   (Colorado Visual Arts Standard Fourth Grade 3.2 Invent and Discover to Create) 

Explore Materials for Planning: Students will learn different ways of printmaking, and paper making to plan for a final project. These processes will help students through the process of creating a book comprised of their explorations. ( Colorado Visual Arts Standard Sixth Grade 3.1 Invent and Discover to Create) 

Skills: Observation, Exploration, Composition, Planning.


There was one paper making station and four texture and pattern stations.  Each station had a box filled with various materials such as string, buttons, beads, spools, sponges, pine cones, etc.  Students began playing with these different materials and were encouraged to discover the unique patterns and textures they could create.  Some students focused on creating texture through painting with the objects and others focused on dipping and stamping.  Once they felt satisfied with their work they went over to the paper station and learned how to create a piece of their own paper.  By the end of class every student had made a piece of paper and had explored the various ways in which objects can create texture and pattern.  After everyone helped clean up we came back together as a group and shared our discoveries.

Christopher made multiple exploration pages using sponges and color.  He found that patterns can be made by repeating shapes or colors.
Jared pressing down on his paper to remove excess water.
Some of the completed paper from the paper making station. Ashlee really enjoyed this station and was continuously helping other students with their paper.
Heidi said, “let’s see what happens when I do this!” while exploring that pattern can be made with pinecones. After a few printings she realized that they looked like flowers.
Heidi presenting one of her explorations. She used a pinecone to print multiple patterns along with adding different shades of purple. She decided they looked like flowers and used pine needles to create stems for her final piece.
Judy made two cards for her mom and grandmother. Both times she worked with green. Besides just printing objects she also added brush strokes and glued some of the found objects. On the left card she used one of the object containers to print, it can be seen as the large rectangle. 
Some of the finished exploration cards. The center three are Christopher’s were he continuously explore sponge printing along with how color and the amount of paint can change the print. 



Artist Trading Cards: Marbling and Collage


Lesson plan:

Students will learn how to create artist trading cards through marbling and collage, and understand that part of the beauty of making art is that it can be shared with others.  After introducing the lesson with a short demonstration on marbling and collage, as well as skit about trading the cards, students and teachers will break up into small groups.  Two tables were set up with collage materials and two tables were set up with marbling materials.  The students chose where they wanted to start and began exploring the materials.  The teachers at the marbling station gave another demonstration and worked along with the students.  Everyone seemed to be very excited about the marbling because it was new and exciting, and through this process they learned how mixing different colors and swirls in the shaving cream produced different results.  When working with collage students cut out images in magazines and collaged them together on paper.  Through collage students were able to create unique compositions and color schemes.  Some students even mixed the mediums by collaging on top of their marble design, demonstrating their creative ability to mix mediums without being told to do so.  At the end of the lesson everyone was excited to share their cards with each other, and received great joy from sharing and receiving unique artworks.

Key Concepts: Color, Patterns, Collage, Composition, Exchanging Artwork.

Essential Understandings:

1.) Part of the joy of creating art is that it can be shared with others.

2.) Unconventional materials such as shaving cream mixed with acrylic paint can create unique and exciting outcomes.  More conventional materials such as magazine collage can also create unique outcomes through the choice of composition and colors chosen to create the collage.


Explore Materials: Students will explore how multiple materials can be used in cohesion to create a composition (Colorado Visual Arts Standard Sixth Grade 3.2 Invent and Discover to Create).

Connect Personal Artwork to a Community: Students will create multiple trading cards and learn how art can be used to bring a community together. They will exchange their work with other students in class. (Colorado Visual Arts Standard Sixth Grade 4.2 Relate and Create to Transfer

Skills: Collaboration, Invention, Composition, Connecting with Community


We started the class by asking student if they have and use trading cards, most answered yes and had prior knowledge about cards like Pokemon and Magic the Gathering. We had a new student named Tyler who had a lot more knowledge about Artist Trading Cards, he even held up a deck of cards that he had made with his own characters. We explained to the class what information is needed on a trading card and did a skit of us trading with each other. We introduced two new techniques they could use, marbling and collage. People broke up into tables according to what technique they wanted to try out first. The class was evenly divided between the two stations.

Nick seemed to really enjoy color mixing. In his tub he spent the whole class mixing various browns, oranges, and yellows. He even exclaimed, ” I am making Mahogany.” He continues to show an advanced understanding on color theory. Another student that continued working on past explored compositions is Kelsey. She  made one card with and image and continued her fascination with intricate patterns and colors.  Zachary and his Paraprofessionals really enjoyed marbling, he would laugh and smile when his hands touched the shaving cream. Multiple students were having realization of how collage and marbling could be used to create smaller compositions. Some students focused on a theme, while others made individual works.

At the end of making the cards everyone participated in a light clean up, and then began trading cards. Some students like, Ashlee decided to spread her cards out on the table for everyone to see. Other students like Christopher felt more comfortable walking around and see who they wanted to trade with. Everyone walked away with new cards, some decided to trade all of their cards, so they could collect multiple artist trading cards.

Nick worked on multiple prints from one tub, after every printing he slightly changed some of the colors. Nick focused mostly on earth tones in this series demonstrating his clear understanding of color theory and mixing.


Taken near the end of class. Kelsey is holding up a new card ( left) and the card she traded for it (right). Her own card shows her continued exploration of patterns utilizing lines and colors.
Jared continued to work individually with Willow, he enjoyed mixing the colors but did not like getting shaving cream or paint on himself. He seemed more interested in creating swirls than printing them on paper. After printing a couple pieces of paper, he continued to swirl the colors until they mixed all together. He said, “Look, they turned green!”
Ashlee focused her time solely on making marbling cards. She made multiple series only featuring one color. Inspired by the recent celebration of Valentine’s day, her first series focused on the color pink.  She is pictured here showing her yellow series. She also printed green marbled cards.
Heidi holding up the cards she ended up with at the end of class. The front Egyptian theme was her own design. Heidi divided her time in class between marbling and collage. As she was making this card she would teach her table information about King Tut while she cut out images from an article about his artifacts. She strategically placed a smaller picture of a sarcophagus to cover words that were on the front cover of the magazine. Heidi also made realizations during marbling, she stated, ” If you mix the shaving cream a lot and push the colors down your print will have more of a solid color, but if you only mix a little bit you get a really strong marble effect. “
Tyler holding up a new traded card (left) and his own collage (right). Since he already understood how to make and how to use artist trading cards, Tyler focused on creating environments for his dragons with his collage pieces. This card shows the environment for a dragon that lives in a forested area. The dragons are “fed” through large crystals that energize them. This demonstrates an advanced understanding of the way visual imagery can be manipulated to fit the aesthetic desires of the artist. Very impressive Tyler!

Materials Exploration : Colored Tissue Paper

Lesson Plan:

Students will learn that small pieces of work can be combined to make larger, more complex compositions, illustrating that each unique individual class member is a part of a larger whole.  Students will also explore new media in the form of colored tissue paper, which can be used as a sophisticated artistic medium.  Tissue paper can be collaged, overlapped, and manipulated to create new colors and texture.  The dye used to color tissue paper also bleeds when exposed to water and thus, can be used as a painting medium or method for stamping and creating repetitious forms. Students will be shown examples of color overlay and color mixing. A demonstration of the many uses for tissue paper will be given and afterward, students will be encouraged to experiment with the medium for themselves. After they have gotten the chance to practice and feel comfortable with the new medium, students will create a final composition utilizing their favorite techniques.

Key Concepts: Color, Shape, Collage, Manipulation of Tissue Paper, Composition.

Essential Understandings:

1.) Similar to the way we make connections on a communal level, art can be used to build relationships. Unique, individual pieces can be combined to create larger, more complex works of art.

2.) It is important to explore and experiment with different mediums to discover their full range of use. Materials have diversity and can do many things, whether previously known to the creator or discovered through exploration. Tissue paper, for example, can be used to create unique compositions through a number of techniques.


  1. Explore Materials: Students will explore the various techniques possible with tissue paper. (Colorado Visual Arts Standard Fourth Grade 3.2 Invent and Discover to Create)
  2. Identify Color Mixing: Students will be able to identify secondary and primary colors through painting and mixing with tissue paper or color overlap. (Colorado Visual Arts Standard Fifth Grade 1.1 & 1.3 Observe and Learn to Comprehend)

Skills: Collaboration, self-direction, invention

In today’s class everyone got to know a little bit about one another through our “people puzzle,” project. Every class member and teacher decorated a piece of paper (in the shape of a Tetris piece) with our names and drawings of our favorite foods and favorite places. Following this, we presented our blocks to the rest of the class and then taped them together to form a complete “puzzle.” Next, the teachers demonstrated the various ways to use and manipulate tissue paper. We then let students play with the materials to explore the different ways in which they could be manipulated. Finally, students created a composition using the newly introduced techniques.


“I’m going to make something I can take with me to the game this week. I’m a ‘basketball girl.’ Go Rams!” – Ashley consciously combines yellow and green pieces of tissue paper to create a composition which displays her support of the girl’s basketball team.


Nick had prior knowledge of color theory. He recognized that overlapping the paper would create secondary colors. He spent his time creating new colors. 
Individualized Tetris piece by each student and teacher.
Willow and Jared exploring tissue paper.
Kelsey began this pattern on her Tetris piece, she was focused on intricate patterns. She did the exploration of tissue paper, but decided on creating more patterns for her final piece. 


“I never knew you could do all this with tissue paper! I really like the way the colors mix when you put them next to each other. I can create secondary colors by mixing the primaries together.” – Christopher explores the way the tissue paper interacts with water/glue mixture, enjoying the way the colors bleed and blend.