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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.

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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.

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Animals and Their Habitats

Students create a classroom zoo comprising various box-sized animal containments that the students can take home at the end of the quarter. With the assistance of classroom aids, the teacher, and artist, students create paper sculptures and habitats of animals (selected by them when possible).

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Scientific Artists’ Books

In creating scientific artists’ books, students become keen researchers, thinkers, and analysts. Applying scientific observation to their illustrations and text, students investigate an array of topics, including, but not limited to, the properties of elements, atoms and molecules, ecosystems, chemical reactions, and energy transference.

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Sculptural Star Book: Patterns and Objects in the Sky

As we investigated the Next Generation Science Standards, students created sculptural books about the cosmos. Specifically, we asked the question: What objects are in the sky and do they move? Each week we worked on text and illustration to demonstrate a new concept using an array of artistic approaches. By distilling this vast subject into […]

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Creative Writing Artists’ Books

To assist in their creation of original monster stories, students formulate mixed-media artists’ books. These books function as place to house brainstorming, character sketches, story arcs, language, symbols, and pacing. Weekly in-depth class discussions and independent construction assist students as they imagine, create, and fine-tune their stories.

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Character Transformation Books

Each week, students collectively examine the transformation of characters in Kevin Henkes’s books. Independently, students create weekly pages to be housed in their literary accordion and bookmark books. The first story explored is Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse. Through collage and drawings, students observe Lily’s five emotional transformations as she deals with the consequences of disobeying […]

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Using the Visual Arts to Examine Characteristics of Fossils

In exploring a unit on fossils, students become paleontologists and botanists by trying their hand at a variety of art activities illustrating the fossilization of ancient plants and animals. “Fossil” techniques include sun prints, crayon resists, freehand drawings, collage, crayon rubbings, and clay imprints. Students record and share their scientific findings after each activity. Discussions […]

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How to Build Your Own Country

Inspired by Valerie Wyatt’s How to Build Your Own Country, Grade 2 teacher Elaine Pompa was interested in having her students engage in artful activities to complement Social Studies lessons on government. Working in groups, students created countries from a big to little focus, starting with a map and flag, representing the whole nation, to […]

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Mapping Our Heritage through Creative Movement

Students embark on a geographical, historical, and cultural journey through concepts of place and belonging. Students analyze their place within their school, their community, and in the larger world. They connect, read, and create maps by researching the cities, states, and countries where their parents and grandparents were born. Students learn regional dances from places […]

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Contact between the Aztecs and Cortes: A First-Person Exploration

The Aztec civilization is brought to life through the eyes of six members of Aztec society—emperor, priest, slave, teacher, artist, and warrior—and their individual responses to the arrival of Hernan Cortes. Through first-person narratives, drawings, and theatrical dramatization, students demonstrate their understanding of Aztec customs, activities, and expectations about the arrival of Cortes.

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Bee the Change: A Campaign for Awareness

Students create a campaign to spread the word around the hot topic, the plight of the bees, and find innovative ways to change people’s perceptions about bees. Through this discovery, students come to realize bees’ impact on our daily life and through student written scripts, demonstrate learning and awareness of the vital importance of bees.

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Ratios: Math + Art

“Math is a language through which we tell specific stories about the world.” Students use paper-craft techniques and interactive sculpture to explore ratios. They use a variety of combinations of paper strips to create equivalent ratios and solve a variety of mathematic equations.

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