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Monday, 20 June 2016

Collaborative Art for Senior Classes

I recieved a message asking for some ideas for collaborative art with 5th class. Here are a few ideas that can work with senior classes.

1. Collaborative drawing

Have the kids write a theme on a piece of  paper and put in a box. Each group takes a piece of paper and creates a drawing on the theme. Large roll of paper and space for all the group to work on the same page is needed. Space, summer, food, animals, farm, take away, sweets, could all work as themes.

2. Shade and tint group painting 

Tint add white
Shade add black

Each group paints a picture using only 3 colours. A pure colour, white and black, to create tints and shades of the colour. Giving a topic can help, so maybe a song, movie or book title. The other groups can try to guess what the picture depicts. 

3. Circle Paintings

4. Dice Art

Create three die, one with 6 different lines on each side, one with different colours and one with different shapes. In small groups the kids take turn to roll two die (the colour dice must be rolled each time) and draw the corresponding line/shape. A large sheet of paper for the group to work on is needed. Oil pastels, chalk, paints or pencils can be used. 

5. Dice Games

Lots of these games are on Pinterest like the Roll a Harring below. Perfect for a collaborative project. 

6. Body Art

If you have paper large enough you can have the kids lie down and draw around each other. The shapes should over lap. Then using paint they can fill in the over lapping shapes and then the other shapes using lots of different shades and tints. 

Or choose one child from each group to be traced around in an interesting pose. Them the group can complete the psinting in the style of Keith Harring. 

7. Colour Wherl Collage

A nice way to revise the colour wheel and create a display for your class. Each group takes a colour and glues pieces of paper in their chosen colour to their section. When complete the sections are glued together to create the colour wheel or flower! 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Ice-cream, you scream!

Sunny days and ice-cream go hand in hand, don't they?  These two art ideas will brighten up your classroom even if the weather isn't cooperating. 

Ice-cream paintings

Inspired by the poem 'Eighteen Flavours' by Shel Silverstien the class used paints and glue glitter to paint ice creams of all shapes and sizes. The kids enjoyed getting creative with colours (flavours) and toppings. 

A haon, a dó, a trí,

Aon, dó, trí, ceathair, cúig, sé,
Císte deas i gcomhair an tae,
Uachtar reoite, banana buí,
Lollipop is oráistí.

Cáca milis, fí, fá, fum,
Uachtar reoite yum, yum, yum,
Úlla deasa, hip, hip, hop,
Ach b`fhearr liom féin mo lollipop.

Relief print bunting

This bunting looks great hanging around the class. It can be completed for any theme and is lovely for the start of the year to display the kids initials, or alphabet in younger classes. 

The bunting can be cut from an A4/A3 page, then using another piece of paper the desired shape is cut out, this is stuck on the bunting temporarily using blue tac. Children then print over the shape and cover the bunting completely in paint. In the picture above a sponge was used but bubble wrap or textured printing blocks could be used. Once the paint has dried the shape can be removed and the negative space can be decorated using marks, crayons, or colouring pencils. 

Monday, 16 May 2016

Art and Nature

We are finally getting some nice weather here in Ireland and it is starting to feel like summer. That said it is cloudy and cold here today but I've heard that there will be a heatwave next week! 

Here are some ideas for bringing your art class outdoors.


Found object collage

Use leaves, petals, stones, or shells to create hair dos. Get the kids to draw the faces and you get two lessons ;)

Pictures with natural objects 

Use whatever you find to create pictures of animals, people, whatever you can think of! 

Keith Harring style stick people 

Use a stick to form part of the body of your stick person. Finish the body with a black marker. Paint around the stick person in a bright colour. 

Wind chime

Use a stick to hang strings of beads or shells. Decorate with paint, ribbons or wool. 

Outdoor weaving 

This is a lovely idea for those with a school garden. Set up a weaving station where children can weave leaves, reeds, and flowers. Beautiful :) 

I hope some of these inspire you to bring your class outside for your next art lesson. 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Bird's Eye View

I love when I get book post (rather than bills) and it is even more exciting when it inspires an art lesson. 

Max is a lovely story of the friendship between a nice seagull and his old friend Bob. The beautiful illustrations of Max and his home by the sea remind me of Tramore, not far from my own home town. 

My favourite page shows Max flying over roads, rivers, and buildings. I especially liked the sweeping strokes of Max's wings. 

Aerial perspectives can be tricky for younger classes. Start by painting by drawing fields, roads, and rivers, then you can add others details. An aerial view of the beach would be easy to start with too.Laying toy houses, cars, etc on the ground and having the kids look down on them to see how they look from above can help. 

This ties in nicely with geography and older classes could focus on their local area, adding landmarks and other details. 

A seagull could be cut out of white and black paper and glued onto the aerial landscape. 

Here are some aerial views to inspire your artists. 

Another picture book that features seagulls is 'The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch'. I highly recommend this for your class library. There are lots of lesson ideas for this story online and it is nice for this time of year when we are all thinking about summer and the seaside. 


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Summer Art Courses for Primary Teachers - Part 1

Summer Art Courses for Primary Teachers 

This post is a work in progress at the moment and I will continue to update it over the next few weeks with art courses on offer around the country.

I have only completed one art summer course and it was a face to face course in my local teachers centre. I came away with lots of ideas and the week flew by! 

The first course to grab my attention is being run by The Lewis Glucksman Gallery. 

Summer Course for Primary Teachers

1. This August The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, UCC is offering a Summer Course for Primary Teachers called Learning through Creativity. The five-day
course will examine how art can be used to increase student participation
and understanding of subjects when looking at other strands of the
curriculum such as Math, Language, Science, History and SPHE. Led by the
Glucksman curatorial team, this course will encourage participants to engage in class discussions, exercises in narrative and storytelling as well as practical art making sessions. Each day participants will work with a different professional artist in a different  medium to learn new
art making techniques suitable for the classroom. Set in the beautiful gallery settings, surrounded by contemporary art this is a unique opportunity not to be missed!

I teach infants is the course suitable for me? 

Last year we had teachers from every age group, from senior infants to a
secondary school art teacher. Although the projects relate directly to 5th/6th class curriculum, the techniques and skills taught are transferrable across all age groups. Also we keep the group small so teachers can get sufficient time to work through their own ideas and build
skills for their own practice. 

How is the course structured? 

The morning sessions are spent with the Glucksman curatorial team and we look at artists, art movements, projects and ideas that combine art with other strands of the curriculum. The afternoon sessions are practical art making workshops with the professional artists.

Monday - Art and Language - Collage with Cassandra Eustace -
Tuesday - Art and Math - Printmaking with Dominic Fee -
Wednesday - Art and History - Painting with Paul McKenna -
Thursday - Art and Science - Drawing with Angela Gilmour -
Friday - Art and SPHE - Sculpture with Fiona Kelly -

How much is the course and how do I book a place? 

Learning through Creativity
Monday 22nd August to Friday 26th August 2016
10am – 2:30pm
Cost: €75
Target class groups – 5th/6th class
Booking is essential and can be made through or

The course has been approved by Drumcondra
Education Centre on behalf of the Department of Education, participants of the course will be eligible for EPV days as outlined in Primary Circular 37/97. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Fields of Flowers

I have been so busy lately and have neglected the blog! My apologies to anyone who has missed me!

I finally got to use a lesson from Hervé Tullet's 'Art Workshops for Children'. Not only did I throughly enjoy it but I am so happy with the results too. Bright and beautiful flowers to adorn the class walls. 

I set up a row of tables across the class (no seats needed) and covered them in newspaper. I placed A3 white paper in a line down the table but I didn't tape the pages together as I needed to place the sheets on racks to dry.

Each child was given a paintbrush and pot of paint (any colour except green). Once I had explained the idea and rules (to keep us safe as there is lots of moving around) we got started. 

The teacher leads the lesson by calling out instructions and guiding the children.

Here are some of the instructions I gave -

1. Paint a dot
2. Paint a bigger dot
3. Paint a circle
4. Paint a dot in a circle
5. Paint dots around a dot
6. Paint a circle in a circle

After each instruction I asked the children to change places. Remember you can repeat instructions as often as you see fit. Keep an eye on the work in progress, if you think a page is full remove it. If you see white space that needs to be filled point it out. 

Once all pages were nicely covered in flowers I collected the pots, cleaned the brushes to be used again, and gave out pots of green paint. Now the kids set to work adding stems and leaves to our flowers.

As before if a page is done remove it. Less is more :)

This lesson was lively and fun. I can't wait to try another one from the book! 

I only photographed one page, but isn't it lovely! 

Give it a try :) 

Friday, 4 March 2016

Hattie Peck! Art Egg-spiration!

As yesterday March 3rd was World Book Day I bought a new book. Not that I need a reason to buy a new book but anyway.... Hattie Peck came to live with us. 

To be honest I didn't read it until I got home (I don't usually do this!) as I was in Aldi getting my shopping. The cover caught my eye and I thought even if the story wasn't great the illustrations made it worthy for the bookshelf. 

I was pleasantly surprised when I got home. It is a lively and heart warming story about a loving hen desperate to be a mummy. Hattie has so much love to give but no egg to share it with, so she sets off to find herself some eggs! The ending is very sweet and presents a great opportunity for further investigation into creatures that lay eggs!

My senior infants class painted hens, chicks and eggs a few years ago and I think this story would work really well with that lesson. The children could paint their own Hattie (in any colour) surrounded by her eggs of all colours and sizes. 

I used a mix of cream and yellow paper but I think the brighter yellow paper looks better. When we created our painting we started by using pencils to draw the outline of a hen, 3/4 eggs and 3/4 chicks. We then painted them in white/lemon/cream. Once dry we used black oil pastels to trace over the outlines and add details such as eyes etc. Some hens were given red beaks and tail feathers. 

I would love to see your versions of Hattie with her eggs if you give this lesson a go. 
It is perfect for Easter and they really brightened up our corridor. 😊

Monday, 29 February 2016

Mother's Day Art - Part Two

This poem has hung on the fridge in my parents house for about ten years.  My little brother made it for Mum when he was in school. Not only do I love the poem but I really like the field of flowers on which the poem is written.  I am sharing my version of it with you and I hope you like it as much as I do. 

Only One Mother

by George Cooper

Hundreds of stars in the pretty sky,
Hundreds of shells on the shore together,
Hundreds of birds that go singing by,
Hundreds of lambs in the sunny weather.

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.

I mixed up four different colours of paint with a little water (you want it to run) and used a teaspoon to drop blobs of paint onto the page. I then held the page so the paint ran downwards. Make sure you have your work surface covered! 

Once the paint is dry you can use oil pastels, crayons, chalk or colouring pencils to turn the blobs into flowers. It is really nice to flick some paint on the page, these can be turned into bees, butterflies or more flowers.  

This was my first attempt, I couldn't quite remember what to do!

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Mother's Day Art Ideas

I try to do art rather than craft for my lessons but some occasions call for a craft! Having your little boy or girl come home to you with something made from their handprint is truly lovely and it is something you will treasure forever. So for Mother's Day I think handprint/footprints/fingerprints all the way!!!






1. A string of flowers in a pot

A mother's love
and tender care
makes happiness
bloom everywhere.

Four flowers - I - love - you - and a photo on the last flower.

2. I love you, Maaaaaa-m! 

Use white paint to make fingerprints for the sheep.

3. Mothers are like buttons, they hold everything together.

 Kids can draw the body or make it with scraps of wrapping paper/fabric.

4 & 5. Beau-TEA-ful Mother's Day!

A cup of tea to say thank you

For everything you have done

Enjoy, relax, and have a day

Of happiness and fun!


Here is a gift 

for Mother's Day

I'll try my best 

in every way

But if you get 

Upset with me

Relax and have a 

cup of tea!


Here is a gift 

for Mother's Day

I'll try my best 

in every way

Sent with love to you

From me

So relax and have a 

cup of tea!


I'm not always just perfect,
Even though I try.
Sometimes when I'm not so great,
You give a little sigh!

On days like that I wish
I could give you cause to smile
And have you put your feet up,
To rest a little while.

So the next time you're tired,
And it's because of me,
Please sit down and relax a while,
And have a cup of tea!

1. Wishing stone / Stepping stone

This beautiful wishing stone,

From our Irish shore.

Health, wealth, happiness 

Love, luck and more! 

Hold it in your hand and make a wish! 

Happy Mother's Day! 


When you step upon this stone
Just think about how much I've grown.
I made this in my own special way
To show you my love on mother's day.

Happy Mother's Day! 

2. I love you to pieces!

A heart covered in torn paper pieces, works as a card or a gift.

3. Georgia O'Keeffe watercolour flower with a poem written along the outline.

4. Handful of flowers 

This could be done with a handprint or children could trace around their hand and cut it out.

Just one little wish for you, Mam,

But it's loving and happy and true -

It's a wish that the nicest and best things

Will always keep coming to you!

5. Portrait of mother and child in the style of Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt focused on the private lives of women and the close bond that forms between mother and child. A perfect artist to look at and respond to for Mother's Day. 

More to come! 

St. Patrick's Day - Art & Craft Round Up

Here is a quick round up of some art (and some craft!) ideas for St. Patrick's day. As always these are for inspiration and you can allow your class be creative! A lesson on tints and shades would work well. The children could then do paintings in 50 shades of green!!!