This Month Has Got Me Seeing Red


Wait, let me rephrase that: This month has got me feeling disorganized, unfocused, and all over the place.

I don’t know why I’ve been feeling so scattered-brained these days. Usually, I don’t stress about what I should teach next. But ever since this school year began, I feel like I’m not quite up to my personal standards (as a teacher) and that I’m letting my students down.

For example, I started out the school year without a long-range plan. Big mistake. 

I mean, it wasn’t such a big deal at first because I had a lot of project ideas for the Fall and Halloween. However, as soon as I’d go to start teaching something for Art or ELA, the lesson would be over way quicker than I had anticipated.

And I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but… I literally ran out of ideas in mid-October. 

All that to say, to ease my anxiety and to help prepare myself for the next 5 weeks of school leading up to Christmas break (probably the craziest time of the year), I’ve decided to take it easy on myself

I’m going to teach those projects and lesson plans I know and love. Ones I can almost teach with my eyes closed. And the great thing is, I know my students will love them too! They always do.

One of which is my Van Gogh Poinsettia Oil Pastel drawing project. I love teaching this art activity every year to my grade 3s! Although it’s a rather time-consuming art activity, their poinsettias ALWAYS turn out looking spectacular. 😍

Van Gogh’s Poinsettias

  1. All you need is some large red construction paper (12 x 18 inches) and oil pastels.
  2. Start by having them sketch out the flowers one by one, and then the leaves, with a white or beige pastel.
  3. Draw the pot or vase under the flowers and a horizontal line for the tabletop.
  4. Afterward, show how to layer the reds and the greens for the poinsettia. This part usually takes a good hour or so. Talk about using complementary colors to create shadows.
  5. The following class, show how to select and layer the colors of the flower pot to make it look 3-dimensional (use curved and loopy lines, and cross-hatching to achieve this).
  6. Lastly, show how to color the tabletop. Create light and shadows on the flowers, leaves, pot, and tabletop using complementary colors, yellows, and a bit of black and white.

➡️ Click here for the full Van Gogh’s Poinsettia resource and lesson plan. ⬅️

If you’ve been looking for the perfect Christmas or holiday-themed art project to teach your students over the next few weeks, be sure to check out my Van Gogh Biography & Art Activity. 🎄

It comes with:

  • Google Slides document ( 18 slides) – both Widescreen & Standard versions included
  • Intro to Vincent Van Gogh (8 slides – artist biography for students 9 and up; for younger students you might want to paraphrase)
  • Art activity with a list of materials
  • Art activity procedures
  • Pictures guiding students step-by-step
  • Evaluation rubric (PDF)
  • Printable version of the artist’s biography (5 pages, 2 versions).

If you love using book companions and/or Boom Cards with your students, I also have a matching Van Gogh resource for that! Click here to learn more info. Or feel free to check out the three resources just below.

Vincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky – Book companion (BOOM CARDS)

The Boom Cards™ resource displayed above is a follow-up interactive activity for Vincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky — famous artist, a book written by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Mary Grandpré. They were created to be an art book companion for reading comprehension.

It’s an engaging activity art teachers can use in their classroom to teach art history, and exercise observational and critical thinking skills. Initially, when I created these, it was to help me reinforce certain vocabulary words when it came to teaching my young ESL learners and artists.

PREVIEW the Boom Cards in action here!

Are you struggling to get your elementary art students engaged and inspired when kicking off a new art topic or activity? 

If so, have you ever considered using Boom Cards™ in your art room with your students? If you’ve never heard of Boom Cards before, I guarantee incorporating them into your art lessons will spark both joy and creativity.

What are Boom Cards? you might ask: 

They are interactive, paperless, digital task cards. They are a fun and engaging way for all students to learn. They provide students with instant feedback and they’re self-checking. They are also educational resources created by teachers (like myself) and can be easily accessed on just about any digital device, via a web browser or their Boom Learning™ app. (In the picture below, you can see this set of Boom Cards™ displayed on my laptop/in a web browser).

How I use Boom Cards with my students: 

I will start by reading the picture book they were designed to accompany. I am sure to emphasize art vocabulary and what we observe in the pictures, making sure I translate key terms for my ESL learners. After I finish reading the book, I then display the Boom Card activity on a classroom interactive whiteboard and have students answer the questions like on a game show. The best part is: the cards will chime whenever you get the question right, and that motivates my students to keep on going!


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