April 2


For several years now I have been using a scrap book as a Visual Arts Journal for my students from grade 1-6. I know some art teachers prefer a fancier, more expensive, drawing book to use as an art journal but I have found a scrapbook that has almost cartridge quality paper in it for a scrapbook price, so that’s what I use.

I don’t send these Visual Arts journals home at the end of the year unless they are full. I only have my students now for one semester each year and they don’t get enough opportunity to use them and it is just a waste to send them home with only a few pages worked on. The students also like to look over old drafts and artworks and reflect, and giggle, about how much they have improved over time.

So at the start of each school year they work on a journal cover concept that is just for that year level and this makes the 800+ journals I store in the art room easily identifiable so they can be put away in the correct place if they get lost. The journal covers when complete are covered in clear contact (sticky backed plastic) to protect the student’s hard work. As they use the art journals for more than one year they just glue the new year cover on top of the old one.


This is the design brief for my grade 6 journal cover.

  • choose an A5 photocopied artwork (this year I had 20 different artworks to choose from)
  • choose an A4 piece of coloured cover paper for the background of your cover
  • each grade 6 journal cover must include your name and grade. This MUST be easy to read as although you are creating an artistic cover it still has to function as a cover!
  • each grade 6 journal cover must include an easy to read title, eg: Art/Art Journal/Art Book
  • the A5 colour photocopied art work must be altered in some way as part of your overall cover design, eg: cut it, tear it, draw on it, collage with it, etc

Why were there 20 artworks to choose from this year? Every year the choice grows as I add the current artist that we are looking at, this year it was MC Escher, and if any student asks for a particular artwork, I also add that to the list of those available. These were the choices for 2019.

Australian Art

  • Ghost Gums, Central Australia                    Albert Namatjira
  • Slumbering Sea, Mentone  1887                           Tom Roberts
  • Shearing the rams   1890                                       Tom Roberts
  • Angel   1988                                                              Deborah Halpern
  • Ship of fools  2011                                                   Deborah Halpern
  • Wings of life 2014                                                   Dave Behrens
  • Self Portrait    2013                                                 Dave Behrens

International Art

  • Broadway Boogie Woogie  1942-43                       Piet Mondrian
  •   The parakeet and the mermaid 1952                 Matisse
  • Mona Lisa                                                                  Leonardo da Vinci
  • The arrival of Spring in Woldgate 2011                David Hockney
  • Child with a dove   1901                                          Pablo Picasso
  • Weeping Woman   1937                                          Pablo Picasso
  • The Scream              1893                                         Edvard Munch
  • Sinbad the Sailor      1928                                        Paul Klee
  • Castle and sun           1928                                        Paul Klee
  • Sky and water 1          1938                                       MC Escher
  • Miradauro                   1958                                        MC Escher
  • The Starry Night        1889                                       Vincent Van Gogh
  • The Church at Auvers           1890                            Vincent Van Gogh

I am always blown away by the ideas the students come up with.

What do you think of these?

The students finish off with a self assessment rubric. They also assess the cover of a peer using the same rubric. If you would like a copy of this rubric please email me and I will send it to you.

Thanks for looking and a comment would be appreciated.


Shell Menhennet

March 17


I  updated my art room expectations at the start of 2019.

I used to have a set of art room rules which I had worked on so they were positive statements rather than negative and I was happy with them for a long time but I realised I only referred to them at the start of each term and that was it.

In my quest to make the students more responsible for themselves and their actions I thought that a shorter rules list would be better and I found this one which I used in 2018. I got it from Miss JeMa on TPT. I used it although for me, I thought there were things missing , like RESPECT, which is one of our Cambridge Primary School Values.

art room expectations miss JeMa

So I created my own, as although there were things that I thought were missing from the expectations list I used in 2018, I didn’t want to end up with another looooooooong list. I wanted it to be short, easy to remember, and easy to refer to, so the expectations would become a living part of the Visual Arts room in every session. This is what I came up with.

art room expectations 2019 poster

Now I know, ideally, these sorts of expectations should be negotiated with the students BUT as my Visual Arts sessions for all year levels Prep to 6 were cut down to 1 semester only per year, effectively cutting Visual Arts time at my school in half, I need to take short cuts wherever I can. I figured that as the students would be busy negotiating expectations in their own class rooms that I would just present the Art Room Expectations and discuss them to ensure every student’s understanding of them and then we moved on. They were accepted readily and the changes from last year noted.

job done tick

I then copied an A5 sized version for each student, without the coloured background. The students then had to glue it into their Visual Arts Journal and bring it to me and we signed and dated it together as their ‘official’ agreement to the Art Room Expectations. This was such a simple idea but has reinforced their importance to the students. 

Art room expectations in journal 2019

Grade 4 student Kim, has glued Art Room Expectations into journal and then drawn a decorative border after we looked a the work of MC Escher.

I now refer to the expectations frequently during all art sessions and have done simple reflections at the end of sessions such as – 

“Which Art room Expectation/s do you think you always do?” 

“Which Art Room Expectations do you still need to work on?”

As the 2019 Art Room Expectations  have been such a success I am now considering if, and how, they will need to be modified for my Prep – 2 students in semester 2.

thinking emoji