August 20


grade 1 clay 29

It has come to my attention that lots of Visual Arts programs/classrooms don’t seem to be doing clay anymore!

grade 1 clay

grade 1 clay 57

I have developed this opinion after discussing it, off the cuff, at school, at network meetings, at our Outer West Visual Art Teachers Network Professional Learning Day, earlier this year, talking to colleagues at last year’s Art Education Victoria Conference, etc, etc, etc.

grade 1 clay 53

grade 1 clay 53

And, as far as I am aware, modelling is still a part of the Visual Arts Curriculum in Victoria.

grade 1 clay 54

grade 1 clay 54

I use clay for most of my modelling sessions. It’s fun. It’s messy! It’s cheap! And my students love it! And I love it!

grade 1 clay 65

grade 1 clay 65

And, let’s face it, the Visual Arts room is the last place in the school where you are not only allowed, but encouraged, to make a mess, while you express yourself!

clay man in boat

grade 1 clay 32

So what is happening out there? Are you still doing clay at your school? Have you got a kiln that is no longer being used? Why not? Do you find it too messy? Seriously? Or is all the kiln firing too time consuming? is it an OH&S matter at your school? Why? Do you use alternative materials to clay for modelling or is it just not part of your Visual Arts curriculum any more???? Do you find it a bit scary – a bit out of your comfort zone? Would it be helpful if more networks or other bodies were offering more professional learning in this area?

grade 1 clay face 22

grade 1 clay face 22

Please reply and comment on my observation as I would really like to know what you think.


PS I have mentioned this to my students and they have been as horrified as I am that there are other students out there who seem to be missing out on such a wonderful material to learn and have fun with in the art room.

grade 1 clay face 27

grade 1 clay face 27

July 19

Grade 4 Foot Zentangles

Grade 4 footangle 55 2015

As mentioned in my last post, I went a bit crazy with Zentangles at the start of this 2015 school year.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 25 2015

Grade 4 Foot zentangle 25 2015

These are the foot zentagles – and we shortened the name to footangles – that my grade 4 students did.

Grade 4 footangle 26 2015

Grade 4 footangle 26 2015

I had done this activity 20 years ago in the art room, way before Zentangles had even been invented, and it always went well.

Grade 4 footangle 56 2015

Grade 4 footangle 56 2015

The students started with taking off a sock and a shoe and getting a partner to trace around their foot and yes, in between their tickly toes, with a grey lead pencil, on A3 cartridge paper.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 13 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 13 2015

They then had to lift their foot and reposition it with their foot overlapping somewhere.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 8 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangleangle 8 2015

The tracing was repeated until their arrangement of traced feet looked balanced and enough. Their decision, not mine.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 11 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 11 2015

The partners then reversed positions and did it again so they were both ready to start drawing.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 5 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 5 2015

I suggested they do this with a partner so they would get a decent traced shape of their foot with their full weight on it, rather than leaning back and tracing their own. Plus, it was the start of a new school year so what better way to get to know a classmate better than getting up close and personal with their feet!!!

So after a giggly 20 minutes or so everyone was ready to start in on those patterns.

grade 4 foot zentangle drawing 2015

grade 4 foot zentangle drawing 2015

They had looked at patterns and amazing zentangles the week before and filled in at least 5 spaces on their own pattern ideas sheet of 20 squares that had been glued into their art journal, so they were all set to go.

Grade 4 footangle 47 2015

Grade 4 footangle 47 2015

These students were also the only year level I had done Zentangles with in 2014 when they produced a name tangle.

Grade 4 footangle 44 2015

Grade 4 footangle 44 2015

And when they were in Grade 2 we had looked at the brilliant pattern work of Queenland contemporary artist Dave Behrens.

Dave Behrens self portrait

Dave Behrens self portrait


Dave Behrens painting the spoken word

Dave Behrens painting the spoken word

Dave Behrens painting Crossroads

Dave Behrens painting Crossroads

So I was confident that the pattern work they did would be good, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 35 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 35 2015

So now it was time to forget they were feet at all but just look at their paper as being covered in random, organic shapes, all of which needed to be retraced with a thick black texta and then filled with a different pattern with a black fineliner.They weren’t allowed to repeat a pattern once it had been used.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 32 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 32 2015

When they were finished they then had to fill the background with stripes using warm or cool colours.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 37 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 37 2015


  • Students we re so proud of their finished work!
  • stunning pattern work
  • students were so encouraging and enthusiastic when we did our “studio walk” around the classroom to look at everybody else’s work


  • Again I was way too ambitious with what I thought the students would be able to achieve over a few sessions However if they had used A4 paper the completed work wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive as there wouldn’t have been room for as many traced feet so less spaces to fill with pattern?!?!?
  • less children were certain about warm/cool colours than I thought
  • some students struggled to persevere to completion
  • I would definitely get the students to paint the backgrounds next time as coloured pencil or crayon backgrounds just dragged the work out even more. I cannot think why I didn’t get them to do this anyway?!?!?

Thanks for looking and I’m sure the Grade 4 students would love it if you left a comment,


July 10


Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 24
Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 24

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 24

I saw a post, ages ago, on one of my favourite art teacher blogs, ARTE A SCUOLA.COM, full of patterned landscapes which I thought were gorgeous. As I have done with a lot of this blog’s brilliant ideas, I tucked the idea away on MY PINTEREST BOARDS, saving it up for just the right time, which happened to be at the start of our school year 2015.

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 10

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 10

I sort of went a bit Zentangle mad at the start of this year and ended up with the grade 3s doing Zentangle hands,

Grade 3 zentangle hand drawing 6

Grade 3 zentangle hand drawing 6

the grade 4s doing Zentangle feet

Grade 4 footangle 37 2015

Grade 4 footangle 37 2015

Grade 4 footangle 56 2015

Grade 4 footangle 56 201

and these coloured Zentangle landscapes being done by the grade 5 students.

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 9

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 9

All three grade levels started off looking at and discussing examples of patterns and zentangles from MY PATTERNS AND ZENTANGLES PINTEREST BOARD on the projection screen. It was then time to get into a detailed pattern drawing frame of mind so I printed off about 15 pattern sample idea sheets, also on my patterns and zentangles pinterest board, for each table and then each student was given a grid sheet of 20 squares to glue into their art journal. The students had to use scrap paper and a pencil to come up with a pattern that they liked and then use a black fine liner to fill one of the grid squares on their sheet, thus creating their own pattern resource in their art journal. The aim was to finish off 5 grid squares at the end of the first session.

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 31

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing

The grade 5 students, at their next session, discussed landscapes and looked at a couple of the samples from ARTE A SCUOLA.COM The students suggested writing up a list of elements for the landscape on the whiteboard which they could follow while they were drawing their landscape outlines in pencil. I reinforced with the students that the list was to be seen as a guideline rather than a recipe and they could add or take away elements as they saw fit. The landscape was drawn on A3 cartridge paper.

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 46

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 46

All students brought their pencil landscape shapes to me for a brief one on one discussion directed at their specific ability level – DIFFERENTIATION! Is the work balanced? What can you do to your tree so it doesn’t look so top heavy? Which elements have you put in your middleground?

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 13

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 13

Interestingly every grade 5 ‘discovered’ that if their landscape included a body of water it “just didn’t look right” or it “made me feel weird” unless the edge of the land behind the water was straight/horizontal – hooray, no more slanted lakes or rivers!!!

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 28

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 28

So all students then went over their pencil landscape outlines with thick black texta and commenced the pattern work using thick coloured pencils or coloured textas. There was only one rule for the pattern work, once you have used a pattern you cannot use it again!

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 13

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 13

These were wonderful sessions for stopping half way for a “studio walk” around the art room where the children move from table to table quietly and look at each others unfinished work. The “oohs” and “aahs” and discussions about the work were fantastic! And, no, it is not just copying, if you see a pattern that you like on someone else’s work, and get an idea for your own work from that. Hadn’t we already been doing just that with the idea sheets on the tables??? And could you possibly reproduce such an intricate pattern EXACTLY the same????

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 21

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 21

I was astounded with the amount of effort some of the students put into these pieces! In hindsight A3 was probably too big to cover with such intricate patterns. These artworks took much longer to finish that I anticipated and the level of concentration required to get a fair bit done in one session was just too much for some students. However, I’m sure the students would say it was worth it when you can see the quality of work which was produced.  Whatever their ability level, every student felt a great sense of achievement when the work was finally finished!

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 21

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 21

You can also find more Zentangle landscapes on ART AT BECKER MIDDLE SCHOOL and BRICKS AND WOOD and ART IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 2

Grade 5 zentangle landscape drawing 2

Thanks for looking and I’m sure my grade 5 students would appreciate it if you left them a comment.


avatar Shelley Menhennet




April 27



Oh, my poor neglected blog!


I have missed you so much!

missed you sand

My plans for  blogging regularly in the Christmas school holidays just went out the window and it is nearly May! First term has already come and gone, and it is time for this weary old Art Specialist to almost start my first semester reports!!!! Admittedly I have been ill intermittently but I have had SO MUCH admin/paper work to do for school it has been nothing short of insane!

more paperwork

Here in Victoria we are changing curriculum from AusVels to the Australian Curriculum so all our planning documents have had to be updated accordingly but at my school I have also had to update/alter/change/reinvent so much that has to be handed in to be checked, that it feels like it’s all I’ve been doing. Teaching – what teaching????


So my plan is to finish uploading all my stuff from 2013 so I can get stuck into uploading all the magnificent work the children have been doing in 2014. I will severely restrict myself to the briefest amount of text I can get away with and if people need extra info about a certain activity they will just have to email me and ask me – otherwise I might never get it all uploaded where it belongs.

I have spent time on my Pinterest boards lately – seriously, I use them EVERY DAY at school –  and this seems to have had an unexpected, but very pleasant affect, as all of a sudden I have about 1700 followers on Pinterest – WOW!


I hope my Pinterest followers all come over and look at my blog sometime!

images (1)








Thanks for reading and I’m so glad I’m back!


December 3



 I just checked the cluster map on this blog – I do this nearly every day – as I love seeing all the magical places my blogviewers come from – and saw that one of my recent visitors was from MONOMOY ISLAND MASSACHUSETTS.

As I had honestly never heard of this place, I looked it up on google, and found it’s Wikipedia listing, stating that it is an uninhabited spit of land that over time has become an island, at the edge of Massachusetts.

So hello to all the seals and seagulls and birds and whatever else lives there and thanks for looking at my blog!!!!!

Or perhaps it was a passing ship????

In that case I suppose I should say Ahoy!

I just love looking at my cluster map! It just makes me happy!

Thanks for reading!



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!!!


July 24


A friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook during first term telling me that she had found an amazing website that belonged to an Australian Artist and I was going to love it. My friend Sue knows me really well and she was right. It’s a great website and DAVE BEHRENS is an amazing artist. He lives in Queensland.
I sent him an email and told him I was going to do some work with my Grade 2’s and 3’s in the Dave Behren’s style. And in the end we sort of spent the whole term working in Dave Behren’s style and the work the children have produced has been absolutely stunning.

Dave Behren’s paintings are incredibly detailed and the” WOW!!!” factor was certainly there as the children all “oohed”, and “aahed”, while looking through the website together and watching a video interview, which was available on his website, on the projection screen in the classroom.

Viewing the website in the main art room 2013

Looking at the Dave Behrens website on the wall in the back art room.


We started off small. The grade 2 children had to decorate a rectangle of coloured paper. The grade 3’s had to do a star shape. I glued them onto a large sheet of black cover paper so they would look similar to the way Dave Behren’s arranges some of his paintings. There was a lot of discussion about what could be drawn, repeating patterns, shapes within shapes, symbols, etc. I drew up some idea sheets BODIES/SHAPES/LINES and asked everyone to contribute one idea  to at least one sheet. Once they were working though they all took inspiration from each other – “Ooh I like what you did just there. I’m going to try that one.”

Viewing Dave Behrens video interview main art room 2013 

viewing Dave Behrens video in back art room 2013

I have lots more photos to put up of this stunning work so keep looking for future posts.


July 23


I have just added my blog to the ART TEACHERS BLOG DIRECTORY and the list is huge! If you are looking for information on Art Teaching this is probably the place to look!

Have Fun,



Art Teacher Blog Directory

Art Teacher Blog Directory

Are you looking for new art projects for kids?

I started this art teaching blog directory a few years ago as a way to meet new art education bloggers.  This is a great place to start if you are looking for new ideas for your teaching.

Do you want to join an art teacher blog directory?  Add your link and then copy and paste the whole thing to your blog.  Pretty soon you will be linked up with art teachers from all over the world.

1. Marcia Beckett

2. Greg Percy

3. Mini Matisse

4. Barb’s Students

5. The Teaching Palette

6. Artspiration

7. eleni

8. Mrs. Picasso’s Art Room

9. Trish ackerman

10. Use Your Coloured Pencils

11. Art Makes Kids Smart

12. Draw, Paint, and Cut

13. LeAnne

14. Katie Morris

15. Art on the Move

16. The ART of Education

17. Rachel Motta

18. Tami Smith

19. Waitsfield Elementary Art

20. Fayston Elementary Art

21. Barb’s Thought of the Day

22. Tana

23. Art Teachers Hate Glitter

24. Stuck In The Mud Pottery

25. phyl

26. Lines, Dots and Doodles

27. Mary

28. Kthomas

29. B Art Z- elementary art

30. Artful Artsy Amy

31. Art with Mrs. Smith

32. ARTolazzi

33. Studio-Kids

34. Lori

35. Laura

36. we heart art

37. NancieKay


39. Gallery2404

40. Her Dabbles

41. mary ellen

42. Fine Lines

43. Jen Matott

44. Janie B

45. Jodi

46. Kati Walsh

47. Karen

48. Megan Swartz

49. Patty Palmer

50. TishaLou

51. BeccaRuth

52. Maggie Bandstra

53. School at St. George Place Creation Station

54. Jacquelien Bredenoord

55. Karen Bosch

56. Lisa Winkler

57. Lori K

58. Jeanne Bjork

59. Digital Sojourns

60. GT Art Room

61. artteachergirl

62. Jacqueline Cassidy

63. Roderick Vesper

64. High School Art

65. Ms. I’s Artroom

66. Mme Reddick

67. Natalie

68. DATA Di

69. Nicole D.

70. nicole sisco heller

71. destiny Breault

72. shine brite zamorano

73. Anna Pietrolungo

74. The Dot

75. A Faithful Attempt

76. Artmuse67

77. This Little Blog of Mine

78. stacy spangler

79. jennalee

80. Hannah

81. Aileen Wilson

82. in art class

83. Beth

84. Wilkinson’s Wonderful World of Art

85. My Adventures in Positive Space

86. Beth Hurley

87. claudiaj

88. Visual Thinker/Digital Learner

89. Mr. R.

90. Kat

91. Stacy Lord

92. Janis Rink

93. Tricia’s Teach & Art

94. that artist woman

95. tami

96. Hallie

97. Jennifer Auvermann

98. dolunay

99. Amanda barber

100. Deanna Agresti

101. Artburbia

102. Bethany Forgione

103. Fine Arts Studio

104. The Creative Sanctuary

105. Hayley Ferber

106. SnippetyGibbet

107. Bulletin Boards to Remember

108. Art Alert

109. ARTastic!

110. Molly Stewart

111. Ms. Papanikolaou

112. The Ramblings of a Middle School Art Teacher

113. Primary Colors

114. FACA Art Room

115. Suffield Elementary Art Blog!

116. Keri Pye

117. ronet noe

118. Rebecca Ogden

119. Kids & Glitter

120. Linda (Susie) Rodriguez

121. hegARTy

122. Room For Art

123. Miss Packham’s Palette

124. Outside the Lines

125. Jessica JOhnston

126. Kunstmappe

127. Helen Lindhorst

128. An Art Teacher’s Fairy Teal

129. The Eclectic Illustrator

130. Mrs Craig’s Art Room

131. Chan Bliss

132. Adorably Awesome Artists

133. It’s Elementary Art, Mrs. Holmes!!

134. Mrs. McDonnell

135. Thomas Elementary Art

136. The Art Teacher’s Closet

137. Art for Kiwi Kids

138. Dali’s Moustache

139. I Now Pronounce You Paintings

140. In The Paint

141. What Will We Make Now?

142. Art Tech Education

143. Allison Krook

144. Tonia Gray

145. Tonia Gray

146. Crafty Moira

147. Stephanie

148. ARTechniques

149. Pam

150. Midnight Mona Lisa

151. sharpiewoman

152. My Creative Wish

153. Kieren Dutcher

154. Wanda Laing

155. Mrs. Meggles Art Room

156. Dishing Art

157. Mr. E

158. Yankeetown Art with Mrs. C

159. Clever Feather

160. The Crayon Lab

161. Teaching Art in Alabama

162. Kristin Anson

163. Creative Flamingo

164. Tales from the Travelling Art Teacher

165. Mary C. Nasser Art

166. cathyb

167. Pamela’s Art of Living

168. What’s Up, Jackson Pollock?!

169. Kathleen Arola

170. Art with Miss V

171. More Powerful Beyond Measure

172. Miss Judy’s Art Class

173. Create

174. Picasso’s Basement

175. Art Moments

176. Christy Humpal

177. marcie jan bronstein

178. Elementary Art Rocks

179. Rachel S.

180. Chanteal Alston

181. Darlene Pringle

182. room 9 art

183. Mary Jones

184. Art lessons from a K-8 school in Phoenix

185. PurnimaSampat

186. The Adelphi Project

187. Lee Darter

188. The Art Room


190. Erica

191. Morgan J. Norwood

192. stacy

193. The Art Fairy

194. Doodling In My Mind

195. Muddy Rose Pottery

196. JoYcE van der Lely – YoungatArtDownUnder

197. Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists

198. Adam Laughlin

199. Ms. Kristen-Crayon Can

200. Hazel Terry

201. Elwood Primary Art Adventures

202. Laura

203. Mr. MintART

204. Art at Becker Middle School

205. Amy Miller

206. Christy Branham

207. Bea Gilmore

208. Rae Ann Hoehn

209. Vull fer Plàstica

210. Northbridge International School

211. Cooperative Curriculum

212. The Bees Knees Cousin

213. Sarah DeWitt Brooks

214. artisan des arts

215. Chanda Weigel

216. Rainbow Skies And Dragonflies

217. Katie Lewandowski

218. Principles of Heart

219. Sarah

220. Tara

221. Learn to Teach. Teach to Learn.

222. Spot of Color

223. Mrs. Belzer

224. Jen

225. Clara Crosby

226. wendy pierce

227. Mrs. Paul’s Art Room

228. Gail Altschuler

229. Debbie

230. Erin Elizabeth

231. Miss Montoya!

232. Create Art With Me

233. Helen

234. Cathy K

235. Fru billedkunst

236. Taísa Soares

237. Jenni Ward

238. Maria Smith

239. ArtZKiddoZ

240. Fruit Flower Insect – Cynthia Padilla

241. Roze

242. Ms. Todorovich

243. GRich

244. newcityarts

245. Mrs. Macre’s Art Class

246. KNWaggoner

247. smArty

248. jen

249. Ms. Eaton’s Phileonia Artonian

250. Mona Lisa Lives Here

251. The Art of Mann (Horace Mann Elementary, WA)

252. Ilse

253. Griet

254. Elizabeth


256. Marilena

257. Kristin

258. Jen Impey

259. rhea Knott

260. Rainbows Within Reach

261. neomi

262. Dream Painters

263. ms art

264. Lori, Australia

265. Tracey Smith

266. Sarah

267. Grasping Great Gadgets by Kathryn Barton

268. Robyn Peterson

269. I Now Pronounce U Paintings

270. Zandrea

271. Art Intertwine

272. Que Seurat Seurat

273. Aimee Fresia

274. John Romang

275. VonnieMay

276. Paul Priestley

277. Paperclip Spaceship

278. Foster smART Room

279. michelle east fine art blog

280. Anderson Leitão

281. Tatjana Knudsen

282. Lori @ LorikArt

283. Chris

284. Joy Hellman

285. Jane Gravois

286. gretchen buwalda

287. Martha cecilia Valencia

288. Mrs. Joni Susa

289. Sarah Wegenast

290. The Traveling Art Teacher

291. Paula Guhin

292. elrincóndesenda

293. Colleen Rose

294. Jean Gray Mohs

295. Kim Bryant

296. FruBilledkunst

297. 4LittleArtists

298. Beth Carter


300. Kori Vincent

301. the Warm Tones

302. Mrs. Riedel

303. Art Class with LMJ

304. tonie kristoffersen

305. Native American Art School

306. Art Lesson Launchpad

307. Mark Schmidt

308. DoodlesNYC

309. Designing Fairy — teaching videos

310. Kathy Schmidt

311. PipeCleaners, PaperCuts and Picasso

312. Shelly Pruitt

313. Daun Yorke

314. Andrea Ream Ellwood

315. art is primary OCPS

316. Meri Walker

317. Tabitha

318. creativeind art

319. Crystal

320. Shelley Menhennet