Earth Day Stewardship Hands & April Showers Bring May Flowers

Earth Day Stewardship Hands

For Earth Day with lower elementary and kindergarten, we read the book Earth Day by Todd Parr, which is about different ways people can help the Earth. Then, we brainstormed different ways we can help and honor the Earth (turning off the lights, planting flowers, recycling, walking, etc.). Students traced their hand onto their paper and drew a picture of themselves helping the environment inside the hand, and in the background, students drew their favorite place in nature or other things they appreciate about nature.

In the spring, we were still mostly doing virtual school, so short, one-day lessons worked the best, because otherwise, many students misplaced their art and would have to start over in the next class.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Another one-day lesson I did was this “April Showers Bring May Flowers” card. On the outside, students used cool and neutral colors for April Showers, and on the inside, students used bright colors and the rainbow to show “May flowers”. We also reviewed the colors of the rainbow (can’t forget about indigo!).


I started teaching at my current school in February 2021. Because I was a new teacher starting mid-year and I wanted to get to know my students, our first project was a self-portrait lesson. We looked at Kehinde Wiley’s art and compared old, neoclassical art with Wiley’s updated versions of these artworks. We also discussed patterns, colors, and representation in art and throughout art history.

Students then created their own versions of a self-portrait with their own patterns and designs in the background.

Here are some of the self-portraits made by my students:

For the future, I would also include an alternative assignment where students can create an indirect self-portrait. Students can choose an object that means something to them (for example, a toy, a book, clothing, etc.) and draw that object.

For example, I did an indirect self-portrait in college of a scarf because I am known for always wearing scarves:

Paper Weaving

A few weeks ago, I taught a lesson on paper weaving to lower and upper elementary. We looked at textiles from the Shipibo Conibo tribe and discussed how different textiles are created. Then, we looked at the weaving process and learned that to weave, we need to follow an over, under, over, under pattern. Students decorated their papers to create their own patterned textiles to prepare for weaving, then they cut out slits in one paper for the loom, and strips from the other paper for weaving strips.

I think it was a bit difficult for students to understand the weaving process virtually. I had videos, step by step photo directions, and live demos of the weaving process, but after teaching this lesson, I think weaving might be easier to see and understand in person. I would love to do another weaving lesson once I teach in person, hopefully with yarn! Regardless of the challenges that we face when doing virtual school, I think the weavings turned out amazing!

Some students lost their decorated papers, so they just used construction paper or notebook paper.

Here are some of my students’ finished weavings:

Lower Elementary Still Life Art

Lower elementary learned about still life art and created their own still life vase with paper crumpled flowers. Again, another lesson I wish I could do in person so we could paint and use tissue paper, but I love how they came out anyways.

Day 1

  • Warm-up – thumbs up or thumbs down – have you heard of still life art before?
  • Introduction to still life art
  • Still life freeze game – I showed students pictures of still life art/photography and some photos of animals or things that move, and students stayed frozen like a statue for still life images and moved around for non-still life images.
  • Introduction to Matisse – fauvism
  • Student independent work time

Day 2

  • Still life review
  • How to crumple paper to make flowers
  • Continue still life art
  • Gallery walk/artist statement

Student Art:

Symmetrical Creatures & Asymmetrical Backgrounds

I think this has been one of my favorite lessons I’ve taught to lower elementary this year. The project is fairly simple, but students came up with so many creative ideas! I taught the lesson virtually, but for whenever in-person lessons resume, I would definitely have the students use construction paper for their creatures and paint for the background.

My teacher examples:


Students will be able to:

  • Identify symmetrical and asymmetrical images
  • Create a symmetrical creature using folding, drawing, and cutting
  • Create an asymmetrical home for their creature using drawing/painting
  • Write an artist statement

Day by Day Breakdown:

Day 1:

  • Introduction to symmetrical balance – stand on one leg, what happens?
  • Symmetrical identification game
  • Looking at symmetrical photos/art
  • Art demo – how to create symmetrical creature
  • What does your creature look like?
    • Does your creature have:
      • fur?
      • scales?
      • patches?
      • a tail?
      • arms/legs?
      • eyes?
      • clothes?
      • fins?
  • Student work time

Day 2:

  • Introduction to asymmetrical balance
  • Review of symmetrical balance
  • Symmetrical or asymmetrical identification game
  • Art demo – how to create asymmetrical background
  • Where does your creature live?
    • underwater?
    • the woods?
    • mountains?
    • beach?
    • house?
    • island?
  • Student work time 

Artist Statement:

For lower elementary, I have students write a mini artist statement including the title of their artwork, describing their artwork, and explaining how they used one of the concepts in the lesson. This is my Google forms virtual version:

Student Artwork: