Dear Art Teacher

I am a librarian in an elementary school, and am looking for an
art project for a grade 3 teacher (and her 32 students) that does not
involve paint - that uses their 'names' (letters) somehow. Help??

Click the alphabet clothesline for the response to this question.


Dear art teacher...I would like to do a unit on watercolor for my grade 7 and 8's...should I start with some simple techniques, perhaps introducing a few more each week?....what are the most important things they must know and come away with? I would obviously like to work up to a fully fledged painting, but how much to give them before we start on it? What do they do in the mean time...I mean, I worry about the students rushing, doing a few techniques, and they think they're done ...we are fortunate to have double art periods, but how much should I tackle in one class (without them getting bored!) Thank you 

Click on the watercolors for the response.

  Do you have any teen art project ideas?


A Question from a father volunteering in his child's private school.

I am a parent and former art history teacher wishing to volunteer at my children’s private school.

I have suggested to the principal an informal but structured art history appreciation class to underpin the classical subjects the children are currently being exposed to.

I have some ideas of my own but I want to be sure that I pitch the classes at such a level so as to stimulate a positive response.

 I do not want to scare them off with inaccessible artsy mumbo jumbo and all the pretentious mystery that seems to surround the subject.

 I wonder if you be kind enough to make some useful suggestions.


What a wonderful experience for both you and your children. 

It's important that the children feel they are actively involved, and that they understand the terms that are used.  If you present the materials in a game-like format they may respond better than sitting quietly and listening.  I like the "pretend we are a detective" approach.  You can write several clues and give children many opportunities to answer correctly throughout the presentation.  They will be more actively engaged if they get the positive feedback.  Perhaps you can have a puzzle or word game that children circle with each correct answer forming a word at the end of the exercise.

Another idea is to present a short "lecture" and then assign a simple hands-on project.  During the creation of the project you can introduce additional art history while they are in a mood to listen.

Above all keep it fun and successful for all participants.  Don't lose them with the terminology.  It's ok to introduce the art words but I would keep them to a minimum. Make it relevant to their world.  Ask open ended questions and let them tell you what they see.  You will be more prepared to direct them to the technical and interpretative aspects if you see the artwork as they do.  You will gain a new perspective also-seeing artwork from their perspective. 

If you can, a trip to an artmuseum is a fun experience for the group and you will have the additional support of the educational curators to help and give suggestions.

I would love to hear how things go for you and what was especially successful.  It would be interesting to my website viewers to know what worked for you so they can incorporate techniques into their own classes.

Thanks so much for the question.  I hope some of these suggestions will help.

Valerie Colston