Scribble Away!

Possible Classroom Concepts: Fine Motor Skills, Social Studies – Countries Around the World (Japan)

Language Arts: Literature

Possible Art Concepts: Art History – Jackson Pollock, Jay Dart, Wassily Kandinsky, Sally Muir

Elements of Art – Line, Texture, Styles of Art – Abstract (Objective and Nonobjective)


I was recently perusing Amazon looking for an art related gift for a toddler. Frankly, there wasn’t much out there for kids at the scribble stage. I found some finger paints and a sad looking sticker activity that I would never buy. Then, the other day, the wonderful blogger vlogger art teacher, Cassie Stephens, mentioned the picture book  I’m NOT just a Scribble… by Diane Alber. I immediately looked up the book and was blown away. This book is “NOT just about scribbling”. It’s also about feelings, acceptance, and friendship. It comes with a sticker sheet so that readers can create their own Scribble creatures. I can see this book being read and enjoyed by children aged one to seven. Go to Alber’s Facebook page to learn more about the importance of the scribble stage and see a video version of her book. See what you think.


Diane Alber is a parent who was inspired by her son’s scribbles. This reminds me of  artist, Jay Dart, who incorporates his son’s scribbles into some of his drawings. I Spy here  the drawings with scribbles which become the northern lights, a rock to climb or fish from. What a great way to record both artist’s progress. I wish I had thought of that when my girls were young. Alas, I do have the scribbles incorporated into this post as a gift from one of my three daughters though. Not sure which one, made the wonderful markings in the empty journal I keep on my dresser. Thanks whichever of you did. What a treat!


A famous artist’s work that looks a lot like scribbles is that of Jackson Pollock.  He literally scribbled in the air with very thin paint that dropped on a canvas on the floor. This is probably why his paintings were dubbed “Action Paintings. Look here to see his Autumn Rhythm (Number 30). Find a Mati and Dada video explaining Pollock’s process here.

Older students can create art with scribbles as well. In my teaching days, I’d have students break up their picture plane with a large scribble. Then, just as we tried to find images in the clouds as kids, I’d ask them to find images in the scribbles. See a couple examples of this process done by Art Mash here. I also like these Japanese koi fish made from a looped scribble taught by Art Project Girl. If you click on Cassie Stephen’s name above, you will find another scribbled line lesson about Wassily Kandinsky‘s work. I love how she incorporates the definitions of objective abstraction and nonobjective abstraction in her lesson. Students can also make close scribbles to create a furry textured animal shape like artist, Sally Muir, did for this dog. Create some really cool accidental scribbles with these Spin-Art Dreidels by Crafts by: Esther O .


So, whether for fine motor skills, literature or creativity,  I say “Keep Calm and Scribble On!” What do you say? I’d love to hear. Simply click on the post’s title and scroll down to the comment section. If you like what you’ve seen here, please feel free to toss me a “like” or better still become a follower.

Thanks so much for reading. Hope you’ll stop by again real soon!

And Let the Games Begin!

Possible Classroom Concepts: Social Studies – Cultures Around the World (Korean), Natural Resourses

Mathematics – Geometry

Possible Art Concepts- Fine Motor Skills – Paper Folding

Medium – Ceramics, Paper Folding, Decoupage, Paper Clay, Paper Mache


With all the excitement surrounding the Winter Olympics starting this week, I thought perhaps an introduction to Korean culture might spark your student’s interest. I knew nothing about Korean art, so off I went to research. I assumed Korean arts would pretty much echo their fellow Asian countries, for example pottery, paper folding, etc.  However, upon close examination, I discovered that they do some unique variations in the paper crafts department. Koreans do paper folding but they call it jong-j-jeobgi instead of origami. Koreans also use hanji paper, a strong paper made from mulberry tree bark, to create their jong-j-jeobgi. A simple paper folding you might like to do with your students is called a ddakji. Ddakji are folded squares similar to folded triangles our children make to play table top football. The Koreans just so happen to play a game with their ddakji as well. You can find video explaining how to make a ddakji and how to play the game here. Did you see that parallelogram made in the folding process and the squares and triangles formed? Geometry anyone? I would also have your students use different colored papers to form their ddakji or decorate the unfolded side. This way they can more easily see if the square has flipped and tell the squares apart. More advanced students could also fold traditional Korean outfits found in this video and this video.

The mulberry tree is a natural resource and boy do the Koreans take advantage of it.   It turns out that hanji paper is not a one trick pony. It was originally used as window screens. Hanji paper is also used to decorate boxes and furniture similar to the way we decoupage. They call this jido. The paper is also made into a clay called jiho and modeled into dolls. It looks as if the dolls are also made using strips of hanji paper similar to our paper mache process. Hanji paper is woven into bowls and fans in a process called jiseung.  And believe it or not clothing is also made from hanji paper.

I certainly learned some exciting new things researching this post. Sharing the information found here may show your students that they aren’t so different from the children of Korea. What do you think? I’d love to hear. Simply click on the post’s title and scroll down to the comment section. If you like what you’ve seen here, please feel free to toss me a “like” or better still become a follower.

Thanks so much for reading. Hope you’ll stop by again real soon!

Year of the Dog!

Possible Classroom Concepts: Social Studies – Cultures Around the World (China)

Mathematics – Symmetry

Possible Art Concepts: Art Mediums – Sculpture, Ceramics, Painting, Collage, Drawing

Art Principles – Symmetry


Another Chinese New Year is upon us. It is the “Year of the Dog”. For my family, it truly is the “Year of the Dog”, as my daughter just got a puppy. All kidding aside, while researching dogs in Chinese art, I found mostly ceramic sculptures and a few brush painted dogs as can be seen here. The “Celebrating the Year of theDog” exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, also shows all sculptures.The clay sculptures were buried along with corpses for companionship. If you’d like to do some brush painting with your students for a Chinese New Year celebration check out this blog post. Simply replace the monkey with a dog. Want to make some dog sculptures? Try putting a dog face on one of these paper roll animal structures from Frugal Fun For Boys and Girls.


I’ve also seen plenty of Chinese paper cutting images of dogs in reference to this year’s Chinese New Year. In Japan, paper cutting is called Kiragami. I don’t know what they call it in China. I know they cut paper because when my daughter visited China, she took a class in the skill and brought me back a how to book. You can find a super simple dog cutting video here. (a good lesson for teaching symmetry) If that dog is too simple for you, students could draw and cut out this dog or this dog. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but all the Chinese paper cutting seem to be cut from red paper. So, find yourself some light weight red paper and cut yourself some dogs. Then you can either fold them and cut shapes into them like you do while making snowflakes or you can draw patterns on them using a white pastel or colored pencil. You can also cut out a fancy frame like you see above. Or, why not glue your dog onto a Chinese kite like Mrs. Stacy does in her blog, Elements of the Art Room, found here.

However you decide to celebrate the Chinese New Year, ENJOY!

Come back again real soon!