Skip to content

Projects are co-designed by artist-teacher teams to meet the needs of individual classes.

The following projects demonstrate the power of art to make learning meaningful and engaging. Lesson plans are meant to serve as guides rather than comprehensive instructions. We hope that you find these projects inspiring. Adapt, modify or simplify these projects to best support your students in becoming active participants in their own learning.

Project Filter

How Can We Solve This Problem? A First Grade Reader’s Theatre Exploration of Making Positive Choices

First graders explore citizenship, rules, and making positive choices in a collaboration of acting, writing, and reader’s theatre. In this project, students role-play and use real-life situations to create scenes, each focusing on decision-making. Students share the scenes in a reader’s theatre style format, with a narrator/emcee inviting the audience to offer advice on what […]

View project

Creating Scenes Inspired by the book Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick

Inspired by Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck, students identified pivotal moments in the story, created an opening tableau leading into dialogue extracted from existing text and/or images, and then performed their scenes. In addition, students explored monologue writing from the perspective of both inanimate objects and humans, and wrote opinion letters to characters from Wonderstruck, offering advice […]

View project

Garden, Insects, and Birds, Oh My!

A garden can be a meditative, calming space. The use of a garden theme allows students to understand nature from the ground upward. From topics that range from the dirt to the wind, the students spend nine weeks using vocal projection and body movement to enhance their presentation skills. Incorporating classroom text into warm-up exercises […]

View project

People Who Make a Difference: Legacy Portrait Book

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” —Robert Kennedy Use symbols and scenes to create legacy portraits of historical figures that have made a difference […]

View project

Maps, Maps, and More Maps

By making a book of maps, students explore map making and map reading to understand people, places, and environment. Students create maps of Olivewood Elementary, National City, California, the United States, and North America. As the maps broaden, students gain perspective on how little their community is in relation to the rest of the world. […]

View project

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Artists’ Books

Through in-depth class discussions and independent construction, students embark on the hero’s journey as they create artists’ books based on Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. In the process, they explore such literary devices as allusion, symbol, theme, analogy, metaphor, character, and setting. Students further investigate ties to Greek mythology, […]

View project

The Ultimate Creative Writing Tool Kit – Science Fiction

Students take an in-depth look at the creative writing process, exploring the genre of science fiction. They draw inspiration from the writing of Humberto Rivas and experience the freedom of creating customized graphic organizers. As students delve deeper into their stories, they choose a main event to represent through a minimalist model. Constructing the model […]

View project

Cultural Assemblages

Students work in groups to create assemblages that symbolically reflect a particular culture in a respectful and authentic way. Aspects of culture to be addressed in assemblage include customs, food, architecture, the arts, landscape, and jobs. Each group is responsible for researching the culture and determining the objects and arrangement of the piece. Additionally, students […]

View project

Where We Come From: Cultural Posters

Students assume the roles of interviewers, historians, researchers, thinkers, writers, and artists as they independently create cultural posters to explore their ancestry. In addition to information obtained from their families, students research and depict an array of topics including symbolic colors, landscapes, landmarks, food, and traditional clothing. Each week, students are assigned a topic to […]

View project

Poetry Artist Book

In created multitextured artist books, students learn about various elements of poetry through reading and writing poems filled with imagery, symbolism, rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration.

View project

The War That Saved My Life Artists’ Books

Using a variety of illustration techniques, students create richly textured artists’ books as they perform a close reading of The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Through in-depth analytical class discussions and independent construction, students learn to: investigate and assess characters, themes, symbols, foreshadowing, and metaphor, consider the relationship between environmental influences […]

View project

Things That Grown: A Garden Installation

Students collaboratively research, design, and create a three-dimensional wall piece depicting how things grow. In the three layers of the garden—soil, surface, and sky—vegetables, fruits, flowers, and insects are represented in various stages of growth. Students draw thoughtful parallels between the life cycle of flowers, insects, fruits and vegetables, and themselves. They start to understand […]

View project