The Tuesday 12: 12 Amazing Art Projects Your Students Will Love!

In this week’s edition of The Tuesday 12, we’ve rounded up 12 art projects that are not only beautiful, but students will absolutely love working on them! Click on each image to be brought to the source.

1. Collage Self Portrait: This is such an interesting idea and Rachel Moani’s site had so many great art ideas with step-by-step directions. [update: Rachel’s site seems to be down for now, so here’s a link to the image from her pinterest board: Collage Self-Portrait]


2. Colourful Christmas Trees: Watercolour paint is used for the background; however, colour transfer from tissue paper is used to create the beautiful trees in the foreground.  The link has the complete instructions.  I can’t wait to try this because the student artwork looks so beautiful grouped together!

3. Colourful Silhouettes: This art project combines both silhouette and mosaic art, as students are traced onto cardboard, painted black, and then covered in circles cut out of marbled paper to create a beautiful mosaic.

4. Sculptural Paper Relief: Students created these beautiful, three-dimensional works of art by cutting, bending, rolling, folding, and then gluing paper onto the backgrounds.

5. Personality through Fingerprints:  This would be a great activity for the beginning of the school year for students to learn more about one another and discover what makes each person unique.  Student fingerprints are photocopied and enlarged.  Students then follow the swirls of their prints and add in their interests, thoughts, ambitions, goals, and personality traits.

6. Versatile Trees:  I’ve done this type of activity with crosses for Lent, but I like the idea of using a bare tree as well.  The tree is cut out of darker paper and different art media can be used to colour the inner areas (e.g. oil pastels, chalk pastels, water colours). Students can focus on warm colours, cool colours, monochromatic colours, or any combination of their choice.

silhouette trees patterns art lesson project autumn elementary fall

7. Draw Me a Song: I love this idea! It reminds me of an art project I had in high school where we chose a song (mine was also a Beatles’ song!) and had to design it using a different font for each letter of the alphabet.  This image is from the lesson I did with my class, but the original inspiration can be found here

closeups lyrics





8. Paper Dart Collage:  I’m always looking for ideas to make three-dimensional art projects.  I find that many 3-D art is very time consuming and requires quite a bit of skill.  I like these types of art assignments where the materials are easy to obtain (paper) and uses a simple, repetitive technique, so that students have time to focus on the composition and colour scheme.

paper darts


9. Chalk Cityscape: You really can’t go wrong with bright, blended chalk pastel on black construction paper. I love how the buildings and moon glow. Cut out the buildings on separate paper, place it on the black construction paper, and use the chalk pastels to shade around the buildings. Once you remove the buildings, you’ll be left with this glowing outline.

Cityscape- Chalk on black paper (cut out city stencil from tagboard/posterboard) Grades 3-6

10. A Study in Line: Students trace their hands and then use a variety of lines to fill in the background, and then coloured patterns to fill in their hands.

11. Positive/Negative Art: This is such a great idea…students create a scene (I like the winter scene, but this could be done with almost anything really!), and then recreate it in the bottom half using just the shadows.

12. Pinwheels:  Are these pinwheels just amazing? Click the image for more art project ideas and step-by-step instructions! (update: the image can’t link to the actual post for some reason, just the blog homepage.  Once there, search for “pinwheels” in the search box to be taken to the post with directions.)


Don’t forget to check in next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12!

Teaching the Middle Grades

As all teachers, we are constantly learning and developing our knowledge.  I have recently purchased a book I would like to share with you all. 

Day One and Beyond: Practical Matters for New Middle Level Teachers by Rick Wormeli


As the title states it is based on Middle school or Junior/Intermediate grades.  What I truly enjoyed about this book is that it does not deal with instruction per se.  It is everything around instruction that we as middle school teachers do or need to do.  This is a great foundational book about how to succeed in this grade level if you are a starting teacher, new to the grade level or in your first few years of teaching this grade level.  It provides the reader with teaching strategies in every chapter but it also helps you answer questions such as “what you are to do the first day of school, how to set up your grade book, how to discipline middle aged students and how to get their attention” (pg. 3).


I was fascinated when I first found this book as these were the questions I wanted answered.  I know many of us do professional development reading,  but this one I feel is a true book about the How and not the What of teaching! 


One of my favorite quotes from this book are : “If you have successfully eliminated from your vocabulary all words and phrases which could be construed as having anything to do with pubescent body parts or things those parts could do with each other – such as nut, ball, melon, jug, crack, hard, soft, limp, rubber, bone, French, stick, stroke, whack, poke, bang, feel, lick, insert, suck,  or blow – then you most definitely are a middle school teacher.”  (p.8)


Rick Wormeli truly catches the essence of our teaching experiences and guides us onto paths of success.  It is an all-encompassing book that helps us deal with everything from classroom set up to parents.  Click on the link to be able to purchase the book.


I hope you enjoy it as much as I have! Let us know what you have found interesting and worthwhile with this read.



How will you color your classroom?

I always knew that color affects people differently but I then started to think: “Can color affect how students learn?”   

Since we are preparing our classrooms for our new school year we should be prepared to understand what can help or be a detriment to our students. We usually use posters, charts, and other décor but consider the backdrop while planning out this year’s classroom space.

Color can be used to help gain students’ focus and increase their learning. However, if the wrong color is used, it could also be a detriment to learning. 

High contrast and bright colors are intellectually stimulating and can increase mental focus for younger children. Those same colors can be too distracting for older students.  More subdued hues can be less distracting in the upper grades. 

We can use this knowledge to our advantage!

If we know that high contrast and bright colors are distracting, then think about putting those bright colors where you tend to do more demonstrating which would draw greater attention in that direction. 

Using neutral or pastel colors (blues, greens, primary colors) in the area where students are to work and concentrate, allows better productivity due to their soothing nature and decreased distractibility.    

Due to this calming effect, students are more open to new ideas.

Use yellows and oranges to help students’ creative energy but stay away from white and off white shades which are boring, make students restless and cause frustration.

Do you want students to pay greater attention to detail?  Use red!  It is known to energize and make students more attentive to mistakes.  But beware that red does not invoke creativity, but is linked to aggressive behavior!

So what will you do?  How will you prepare and set up your classroom?  Let us know what you have done, post your pictures, what has worked and how it has worked. We would love to hear from you!



NeoCON. The Impact of Color on Learning. (accessed August 2, 2012)

NPR. Study: Seeing Red, Blue Affects Outcome of Tasks. (accessed August  2, 2012)

The Tuesday 12: 12 Essential Supplies for Your Classroom (Each Under 50)!

It in this week’s edition of The Tuesday 12, we’ll be looking at 12 essential supplies that are awesome to have in your classroom.  There are so many products that are beneficial to teachers; however, these 12 items will make your lives a little bit easier and let your classrooms run just a little more smoothly.

1. Squeegee

36286800 - Flo-Pac® Windshield Washer/Squeegee 14-7/8


Do you want a sparkling clean blackboard? Head on over to the nearest hardware or automotive store and pick up a squeegee! The best squeegees for this job are the ones that have a sponge on one side to scrub the board and the rubber blade on the other side to remove excess water.  No messy hands, no drip marks, and boards dry super fast!

2. Personal laminator

Scotch Thermal Laminator 15.5 Inches x 6.75 Inches x 3.75 Inches, 2 Roller System (TL901)


I love my laminator! Although it can’t laminate large items (the largest is 9” x 14.5”), it’s great to laminate tons of small items and comes in a variety of film thicknesses that provide extra durability for those items that go through a lot of wear and tear.

3. Label maker

Dymo LetraTag Plus LT-100H Personal Label Maker


I bought my Dymo label maker at Costco because it came with a variety of tape cartridges (glossy, matte, transparent), so it was very cost efficient. If I could, I would label everything around me.

4. Personal paper cutter


I use this Friskars paper trimmer when I do some crafting and use it on a regular basis to prepare items for my classroom.  Who doesn’t love perfectly straight lines?

5. A level!

Johnson - Structo-Cast Level - 24 inch - 40-0112 - Home Depot Canada


And speaking of straight lines, I cannot live without a level in my classroom! It really comes in handy when I am putting up bulletin board items and hanging student artwork. I cannot stand to see crooked items on the wall, so my $2 level from the dollar store is a life saver!  Better yet, pick up a laser level!

6. Wet Erase Fluorescent Markers

Click here to enlarge product image(s)


These markers write beautifully on the blackboard and remain until they are wiped off with a wet cloth.  They are great for items that you want to be semi-permanent for a certain time period; for example, use them to write out the daily schedule, create a graphic organizer on the board, or keep important reminders up on the board for students.

7. The Desk Apprentice Rotating Desk Organizer

Staples The Desk Apprentice Rotating Desk Organizer


I have this organizer on my desk and it is a life saver! The middle section has space for hanging folders which I use to organize worksheets, items for each day of the week, and any other important piece of paper that lands on my desk.  The top portion has a small, hanging basket to organize items, while there are four corner organizers to store markers, pens, pencils, highlighters, and scissors.  Each side of the organizer provides extra storage for notebooks, papers, envelopes, and files. It is a great purchase!

8. CD Case


What a creative idea! Normally I just use envelopes to store bulletin board letters, but I really like how organized the letters are in this case.

9. Velcro tape

Velcro - Velcro 5 ft. X 3/4 in. Sticky Back Tape - 90678 - Home Depot Canada


Velcro tape is great to use for areas of your classroom where you regularly rotate between a variety of materials.  Personally, I use it on my classroom jobs board, since students rotate between various jobs every two weeks.  Velcro would be great for words walls, daily or weekly schedules, or calendars!

10. Wrapping paper roles!

The Gift Wrap Company Bright & Posh Wrapping Paper & Ribbon Set


Don’t throw out those empty wrapping paper rolls! They are fantastic to store away posters and bulletin board décor. Simply roll up the item, place it inside, and label the outside of each carton (use the label maker!).

11. Curtain rod with clips (or pants hangers)!

shower rings

Source: Hacks for Teachers

Another great Pinterest find! Check out the link above to see the step-by-step instructions.  This could easily be used to store bulletin board sets, anchor charts, bulletin board trim, seasonal items…

12. Spice rack!

spice rack

Source: Greg Marino/Studio D from

This idea came from Pinterest (love Pinterest!) and it is such a great concept! Buy a spice rack (or repurpose one that you have at home) and use the containers to organize all those little odds and ends that are useful, but always end up everywhere! Jars for rubber bands, pushpins, paperclips, the possibilities are endless! Can’t wait to use this in the classroom! (Check out the article link above for more ways to organize using a spice rack).

Don’t forget to join us next week for another addition of The Tuesday 12!


Disclosure:  All ideas expressed are the author’s own and compensation was not provided by any company in any way.

Words to Live by Wednesdays: You miss 100% of the shots…


This weeks Words to Live by, are great words to teach students at any level, in any grade as it can be explained and exemplified in so many different ways and for various reasons. Understanding these words will have a strong impact on an individual’s level of confidence, sense of motivation, and degree of  encouragement. This simple and neat quote are definitely words to live by – teaches the young minds of the future that simply put, they basically miss out on any and every opportunity unless they try and take the chance! Click on the image below, print and enjoy!



What Does a Good Scientist Do? Science Process Skills Poster Set

We’ve added a new product to our Teachers Pay Teachers store!  A bright and colourful six poster set that helps students understand science process skills.  The six posters outline the processes of observation, inferring, predicting, experimenting, investigating, and analyzing.  Check it out!