July 5

Grade 6 Optical Illusion drawing

I was looking for a drawing activity for my grade 6 at the start of the year and found this on my pinterest board op art that I had pinned ages ago.

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Thank you to We Heart Art who had a brilliant step by step procedure on their blog. It was a fantastic activity as it required few materials and soon had the students totally absorbed in their work.

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I must admit to being horrified at the grade 6 students poor ruler skills so was glad to provide them with this much needed practice!

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After looking at this set of samples all agreed that they would like to put themselves in the illusion, so when they were tired of ruling and colouring neatly they used their ipads to take photos of each other falling into 3e6ab44ae72303d30cf33c62c09b25e3what we all thought looked like a mysterious portal to somewhere else.

The photos were then to be emailed to me so I could have them printed off for their next art session. It was supposed to be so simple but the amount of students that did not have their email set up and running on their ipad was ridiculous. I also pointed out to the students that as they have their ipads all the time they could take their photo and send it to me any time rather than waste their art session doing this bit. A few students did this and emailed me their photos from home but most forgot about it until their next Visual Arts session.

I am certainly not the type of Visual Arts teacher that spoon feeds her students so they were responsible for getting their photo to me for printing. It became plainly obvious fairly quickly that there were lots of students who had forgotten all about getting their email settings sorted out and/or taking their photos in their own time. I absolutely refuse to fuss over students who don’t fulfill a simple requirement in a timely manner. Learning to use your one hour of art time well is part of being a responsible student but not having had this  particular cohort of students for a long time ( I have taught Prep – 3 the last few years) it was clear I was going to have to spend a lot of time pushing them to become more responsible for their own learning.

They did get there in the end and all were proud of their finished pieces which made an amusing display in the main hallway!















Grade 6 optical illusion drawing

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 20

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 18

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 18

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 8

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 8

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 10

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 10

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Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 16

Grade 6 optical illusion 2015 L

Grade 6 optical illusion 2015 Look out Georgia

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 17

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 17

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 19

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 19


  • Fantastic activity for the start of the year
  • needs little in the way of materials
  • many interesting discussions about colour, shading, line etc
  • students very supportive and encouraging of each others ideas
  • hilarious acting in the photos
  • practicing ruling lines
  • practicing cutting tricky shapes
  • practicing terrible colouring skills!


  • Some students were incredibly sssllllooooowwwwww to get this finished!
  • internet, email, etc never work when you want them to
  • many beautifully drawn backgrounds without photos to finish them off due to students not taking responsibility to get this bit done

Thanks for looking and I’m sure the grade 6 students would love it if you left them a comment!


September 29


This is what happened when I gave the Grade 1 children a tub of wooden clay tools for the first time. Up until this stage they had only been using their hands and fingers as tools. I explained that this was a time to try out and experiment with the tools and see what they could do with them.

It was interesting how some of the children madly textured their work while others incorporated the tools into their finished items. Hey, I didn’t tell them that they couldn’t do that!

Quite a few of the children created a clutch of a few small items rather than make one large piece, and they all knew that none of this work was going to be kept but I would try to photograph their experiments before their session finished.

We certainly had a terrific discussion after everyone had walked aroud and looked at each other’s work.

“How did you do that?”

I wish I had thought of that!”

“I’m going to try to do mine like that next time!”

How did you make that shape?”

“Can we use the clay tools like that?”

“I made my clay flat like a picture but next time I want to make a fat shape that sits up on the table.”

And just in case you were like me who mistakenly assumed this was a nice tree – this is the Tower of Isengard from the Lord of the Rings!!!

September 29


I have always been really good at using up scrap paper, and encouraging all the children to do the same but have always been annoyed by the huge box of mess the old scrap box always ended up in.

Well, OK, it was never quite that bad but it was still annoying!

Here is my solution which seems to be working out really well.

I purchased a set of magazine boxes in bright colours and I already had a set of images of coloured paint tins which I was going to use for a display.  I stuck the paint tin pictures on with some clear contact and

ended up with a


set of scrap paper boxes which the children seem to be using carefully as they think they look special!!!

And this is my Georgie fiddling around with them and helping me to sort them out – thanks Georgie! XXX

September 29


It took me ages to get around to creating an avatar for myself that I could use on Edmodo for school, and on this blog, and other things. I made sure I gave myself a pointy chin where it used to be before those other chins moved in and hid it, and my new blue glasses!

And then I went and had a radical haircut and got my new BLUE HAIR!!!

So now I have to give my avatar BLUE HAIR – and it will probably take me another age to figure out how to do that!!!


May 2

Grade 3 incised and decorated clay slabs

Last term, yes, in the incredibly hot weather, was when I was working with clay with Grade 3. The Main Art Room was a dustbowl for most of the term as the clay dried out and broke down so quickly but I had to persevere as we can only do clay activities in our Main Art Room. I thought I did pretty well as I only decided I couldn’t face it on one extremely hot afternoon, so that grade drew pictures with the air conditioner and fans on full blast!

The first skill to be learned was how to roll a slab to an even thickness, then we used tools and our fingers to incise into the clay as well as adding extra bits on using slip and correct joining technique. We worked on all these skills over a few weeks and this also gave us time to experiment with the type of picture we wanted to create on our slabs as we packed the clay back into a cube at the end of each session.

 I can’t stress enough how valuable it was to make time during each session to all walk around the tables (not touching, of course) and look at what everybody else was doing. The discussion after this was always intense and interesting and lots of children decided to try something new next week for their picture after they had seen what their fellow artists were doing. When I had photographed several of the slabs during these sessions I started to show these images to all the grade 3’s after we had looked at the work from their own group.

Most of the slabs in these photos were practice slabs and didn’t end up getting fired so I’m really glad I photographed them when I could!