Each lesson Plan focuses primarily on one of the 4 Cornerstones of Art:
Drawing | Painting | Color | Style


Students will work on a series of very small works each using different combinations of media. There is opportunity for lots of freedom and self-expression, and artists learn to focus on one work at a time while doing many. The small size and having several works in a row, takes the pressure off of each work, so students really enjoy themselves and create some fantastic work as a result.

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Grades 3 – 5

Week of October 3 – 7

1 Hour & 45 Minutes

Lesson At A Glance

A brief overview of each step. Buttons jump to each section for detailed information.

5 Minutes -Emotion explosion in charcoal

10 Min – measure & cut watercolor paper into 6 squarish units

5 Min -Many Minis instructions

32 Min -Make art! Encourage and help students

47 Min – Let students create more art!

5 Min – Everyone helps

Use this button to jump down to the preparation section.



Each section is a different color. Read over once and then you can SCROLL & TEACH using any device you like. It’s designed to work best with your phone.

STEP 1. Emotion Explosion

Students will draw an image with emotion
5 Minutes


Students know how to use emotion in their artwork


  • Sketch paper
  • Soft compressed charcoal
  • Kneaded eraser
All materials are suggestions and may be modified as you see fit. We have tried many items, and these seem to allow the most versatility for the cost.

Pinterest Gallery – Many Minis

Tap the icon to the left to open our special Pinboard showing examples of artwork to display to your class. See our Article for making Pinterest work on larger displays. You can also use a laptop or large tablet and gather everyone around like you’re using a book.

1.1 draw

Using only a stick of compressed charcoal on their sketch pad, artists should take a short few minutes to convey an emotion on the paper. Any emotion they choose is fine. Be careful, however, to protect students from talking about uncomfortable subjects if inappropriate for their age (such as violence from anger, or self harm from depression). Be on the lookout for a student who might be feeling overwhelmed with their own emotions.

Show the Pinterest Page (above) for images of inspirational artwork. Keep the images rotating throughout the lesson by selecting new ones every few minutes as best you can.

Advanced Student Lesson
CREATIONS - tap here to open
Our Creations lessons are for students who have completed the two years of Foundations and are ready to begin using all that they have learned to create new work. These more challenging versions of the same concepts and techniques are easily taught along-side students in the Foundations course. This allows for excellent review, and is encouraging for students to see progress from each viewpoint.

Use the Student Instructions printout below to distribute to your Creations students. Tap the image to open the PDF in a new window.

Many Minis Revisited

Overview: Since creating their own choices and making several smaller works is always a great exercise for any artist, advanced students should really enjoy diving into the same project but bringing their higher level of skills to it.


There are no prints needed since the lesson is essentially the same for advanced students as for the Foundations students.

Use this button to jump down to the preparation section.

STEP 2. Prepare Paper

Students will prepare their paper for painting
5 Minutes


Students know how to prepare for painting


  • Watercolor paper – 11″ x 15″
  • Pencil & eraser
  • Scissors
  • Ruler

2.1 draw

Walk students through the instructions to divide a sheet of watercolor paper into 6 nearly square “mini” sheets.

Make sure that students do not keep their rulers after making the measurements and line. Using drafting tools disrupts a person’s ability to be creative, engaging the analytical part of the mind. Get back to being artists simply by turning in all the rulers after making the lines.

Have students all use a ruler to make marks on the paper edges as follows:

  1. Mark at the 5.5″ point along one of the 11″ edges. This is half.
  2. Mark at the 5.5″ point along the other 11″ edge. Also half.
  3. 2 Marks at the 5″ & 10″ points on the longer 15″ edge.
  4. 2 Marks at the 5′ & 10″ points on the other 15″ edge.
  5. Use ruler as straight edge to draw clean lines from point to point, dividing page into 6 units.
  6. Cut along lines with scissors.
  7. Write your name on the back of each square, very small in a corner. (so you can use that side if you need to start over).
A good professional ruler will have the zero mark about 1/8″ away from the end. So check it, to make sure you don’t use the end of the ruler to measure from!
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STEP 3. Instructions

Students will hear instructions for the project
5 Minutes


Students know how to listen to instructions


  • Many Media List PDF

3.1 Print


Many Media List

There are two lists per page so you can print one page for every two students. Cut down the middle on the dotted line and hand one out to each student.


1 Page – Opens in new window

3.2 teach

Make sure your students understand today’s project.

Hand out the Many Media List of ideas (above), and then go over the 4 parameters that are at the bottom.

  1. Focus on ONE work only. Never even think about the others, so put away the 5 other pieces of paper.
  2. Do as many as you can, working easily and comfortably. It’s not a race to see how many you can do.
  3. Each work must be made with a different media. Begin with one media you like.
  4. Alternate between mixed media and single media. Every second work must use 2 or more media together, So at least half will be mixed media.
“It can take a little practice to learn to ignore the other items and focus only on the one before you. Just relax, and pretend you only have one small picture to do. Then when you finish, do it again. I want you to express yourself today, so be creative, and do artwork that makes you happy.

There are a few things you should avoid today:

  1. Written words
  2. Cartoons
  3. Other people’s art or characters”
Teacher Talk

Read verbatim or paraphrase

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STEP 4. Make Art

Students will make art of their choice
32 Minutes


Students know how to make smaller pieces of art


  • Watercolor papers, one at a time
  • References – photos and books
  • All media available
All materials are suggestions and may be modified as you see fit. We have tried many items, and these seem to allow the most versatility for the cost.

Brushes should be nylon for springiness and durability. Round brushes are the most versatile.

Paint pigment list:

  • Napthol or Pyrrol Red
  • Hansa or Light Yellow
  • Pthalo Green (blue shade)
  • Cyan or Cerulean Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Dioxazine Purple
  • Magenta
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Sienna
  • Titanium White (professional grade only)

4.1 create

Students get started on their small works.

Go around the room and ask what they think. Offer suggestions if you have any, but ask if they want any first. Look for things you like, and point them out, to encourage them. The point of the lesson is to express themselves, so what you think should be done, must not affect their work. The only time you should interject and suggest changes, are when you see someone who is struggling or dissatisfied with their work. Be on the lookout for this so you can get them back on track.

It is ok to let someone abandon a piece if it is just becoming too frustrating, but it should not be a common occurrence.

An artist who is frustrated, is an artist who can clearly see what they don’t like, and who is most likely to improve quickly. That means instead of being discouraging, seeing how you don’t like something is actually an essential skill for artists!
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STEP 5. Make More!

Students continue to work on their artwork
47 Minutes


Students know how to make art of their choice


  • Watercolor papers, one at a time
  • References – photos and books
  • All media available

5.1 create

Artists continue their mini artworks. Make as many as possible without rushing through them.

Lesson Point:

“you are an limitless source of artwork. Some of your work will always be a stepping stone to others, or LEARNERS that lead to KEEPERS.”

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STEP 6. Clean Up

Everyone helps
5 Minutes


Students know the importance of cleaning up.


  • Paper Towels
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Sink
  • Waste baskets
  • Well-lit spot for photos
  • Camera or phone-camera


Students set up their work area.

  • Wash hands
  • Super-wash brushes if used
  • Put art supplies away
  • Wipe tables & toss trash
  • Remove any smocks (last)
  • Check for items on floors and tables


Try to get photos of your student’s artwork. Find a good spot for quick lighting without highlights or shadows from your hands and device. Ideally in-between two strong lights on each side.
Use this button to jump down to the preparation section.


  • Practice and improvement using various media and applying technique
  • Understanding how to focus, and that some work will always be a stepping stone to others
  • Accomplishment in creating several finished works of art in a short time
  • Fulfillment by having total freedom of choice


Getting stuck – If a student can’t figure out what to do, ask them to decide between 2 subjects, like animals and still life. Then if animals, between two kinds of animals, like African and farm. Keep narrowing it down by choosing which thing they’re not interested in and going with the other.

Rushing – Encourage students to consider each blank piece of paper the only artwork of the moment. Take time on it. It’s better to have 3 great works rather than 6 poor efforts. It is also ok to create a simple and spontaneous work, as long as it’s purposeful. You don’t want to see disinterest and rushing to just get through it. We use nice paper to make it more meaningful, and you can help by getting students to find out what interests them, and helping them move into that freedom to do what they’ve always wanted to do.


Media – The malleable materials used to create artwork. charcoal, pencil, paint & pastels are 4 media types.

Art Structure –  The rigid surface or framework that holds art media. Watercolor paper is our structure today.

Technique – The method of movement by which a media is applied to a structure. Hatch shading & scribbling are two very different techniques that can be used with various media such as pencil, charcoal or ink.



Have a bunch of amazing supplies ready, and cut a few things apart before-hand in a way that make you look amazing.

Print all of your PDFs from the lesson plan and cut any references apart as needed.

What your room needs

Here are your printable lists and room prep instructions.


Opens in new window



  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • References – photos and books
  • Paper Towels



  • 14″ x 17″ Sketch Paper
  • 11″ x 15″ watercolor paper
  • 2B Pencil
  • 4B pencil
  • Ebony pencil
  • Black Sharpie
  • Markers
  • India ink
  • Ink dip pen with metal nib (not too sharp a point)
  • Soft compressed charcoal sticks (not pencils)
  • Canvas pencil (dark gray colored pencil)
  • White erasers
  • Kneaded erasers
  • Acrylic paints
  • Oil pastels
  • Blender sticks (stumps)
  • Sandpaper boards (to clean blenders)
  • Paper palette pad, or disposable trays/plates
  • 11″ x 14″ Canvas (loose or from real canvas pad)
  • Canvas boards (optional)
  • Tape – blue painter’s tape
  • Brushes – All sizes


Week 11: Watercolor Rodeo

Students will learn how to paint with watercolor, using the drop-in method and our 4 watercolor insights. First they draw some autumn leaves, and after a demo, they will paint leaves using watercolors they’ve made from acrylic paints. Emphasis is on letting the watercolor work by itself and brush technique.

Week 12: Pumpkin Carving Party

Students get to take a break from “serious” art lessons, and show off their skills doing a popular project for the upcoming holiday. You can plan a party and encourage your kids to dress up if you want to.