Art is Among Us

Wow… first of all, what a year 2020 was! and 2021 isn’t shaping up to be much easier. Online/remote art is quite a challenge. Luckily I get all new kids and get a second try at all my online units! Since the kids are ALL about… Among Us… I am all for using a little pop culture to motivate middle schoolers. So all my intro activities have been redesigned to be Among Us TASKS. The original slide show was designed by Jason Harthan (his original and my version are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Original based on a work at

Since my classes, grades 6-8, meet 2x a week for 75 minutes… I will give them 2 weeks to complete these tasks. They include learning to upload a photo of art to canvas, learning about the artistic habits, discussing what makes something art, getting comfortable/reviewing the necessary tech and platforms we will use for the semester. We will see how it goes! cross your fingers for smooth sailing!

I have shared my version of this in my google drive and would be happy to share a copy with you. Just fill out this form. If you use this with your students would love to get feedback on how it went!

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Canvas Introduction to Art

Welcome to the world of virtual art…. The Covid is still with us this Fall, so we are 100% remote in our middle school. We spent the first 3 days with “School-wide” lessons, live zooms of 25 minutes all 7 periods in a row, all 3 days. It was exhausting! The focus was relationship building, helping kids get comfortable with zoom and canvas, and our mandatory state attendance for funding student counts.

Monday starts my first official week of art with our A/B schedule. I made a video for my students to walk them thru the first unit and thought I would share it here, so you can see how my units are laid out. Our district has Canvas locked to commons sharing outside of our district, so I am not able to share the Canvas pages and assignments with you. But perhaps you can build your own with this walk thru guide. Or something like it that works for your kids.

I will be doing live zooms this week and I am really not sure what I will do or how I will approach them. Honestly, I would like to walk them thru the canvas assignments like the video does, but my computer does not like to do anything ELSE when I am running zoom. I can’t show videos and I can’t open another browser page. (I can’t even do attendance at the same time!) Otherwise I would show some of the videos in this module and do the discussions LIVE instead. Oh well… hopefully once help desk is a little less buried in kid and parent problems, they will look at my computer and get it functioning better. Otherwise is it going to be a long year.

Without further ado… my video walk thru. Enjoy!

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Art Adventures

Online learning continues for 8 more weeks here in Washington State. Based on many great shares from the Online Art communities on Facebook I have adapted many great ideas into my next 6 great “Art Adventures” Each one will be based on one of the studio habits of the mind.

Our district also required up to put together a learning standards “Priority Snapshot”

The Priority Snapshot is purposed to guide teaching and learning through the completion of the 2019-20 school year. As recommended by OSPI, educators are now required to think about the enduring concepts of a content, without the expectation to cover an entire content or subject area as would be done when school is in session in school facilities. The Priority Snapshot outlines the priority standards and enduring concepts of a content for the completion of the school year and aligns these to district adopted instructional materials, and/or materials and resources recommended by OSPI*. The intent of this information is to provide teachers with foundations for backwards planning for instruction.

I will add to this post as I complete my units… since tons of this was borrowed from many wonderful online group contributions, keep in mind this is a shared document and should not be sold in any part or in any way. This is a generously shared group of lessons put together in a way I hope my middle school student will find engaging and useful. Clicking on the image should take you to the shared google document, which you will then need to download your own copy and adjust for your needs.

Remember… PLEASE do not use as is.. due to the fact that some of the links go to my school google drive and your students will not have access to them. Update links and text to match your school resources as necessary.

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Digital Art Bingo

Cats work from home by Savannah Gr. 7

Digital Girl… based on Madonna’s Material Girl

Some kids miss me
Some kids ping me
I hope they’re all ok
When they don’t check the Google Classroom
I’ll email them anyway

They can ask and they can share
I hope they understand (that’s right)
‘Cause this teaching online thing is rough
as we make it up each day

‘Cause we are living in a digital world
And I am a di-digital girl
You know that we are living in a digital world
And I am a di-digital girl

The Cabin by Jake Gr. 6

So here we all are… teaching from home feeling isolated… missing our daily interactions with the little humans we call our kids. Trying to build an airplane while flying it and hoping we all don’t die. Trying to remember to put on our own oxygen mask before the ones of those around us. Alternating between scared, angry, bored and occasionally enjoying some time to make art ourselves. Meanwhile teachers online are generously sharing their work with each other. So here is my share.

Masked by Isobel Gr. 7

Digital Art Bingo: This unit works the same as my other bingo’s, so the kids were already familiar with the format. 25 choices, 3-4 weeks do 5-7 of the options, try to get a bingo. Since it is all digital, they upload their finished art to our Artsonia Gallery for me to ‘grade’ (yeah, we aren’t grading anything.) So here are some resources if you want to try this out yourself!

Bingo Board

Digital Bingo Student Instructions and Examples

Padlet with links to tutorials

Artsonia Gallery with student work

‘Cause we are living in a digital world
And I am a di-digital girl
You know that we are living in a digital world
And I am a di-digital girl

Green screen Image of ME conquering the digital world… made by Jacob Gr. 8
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Drawing and Collage Bingo

Over the years I have developed a number of “choice menus” that give kids options for more directed learning while also allowing the openness for bigger choices. My Studio Choice Challenge is set up in levels and is based on a gamification model. I have been creating versions of this for several years. But it has a LOT of different centers involved.

boys showing their chalk drawings

This year I wanted something similar, but more focused. I needed something for the kids that had already done my “around the room” games to have the next level of exploration. I wanted them to see and use a variety of my resources that seem to get hidden and under utilized in my centers. I wanted them to act like artists to create in a studio… but knew they would just sit around and do nothing with out a bit of guidance. So I created a drawing bingo.

drawing bingo card and signed off chalk acitivity

Set up like a bingo card it has 25 different drawing related short activities. They ranged from making a value scale, or a chalk pastel sunset, to drawing a still-life object or creating a zentangle flower. I gave them between 5-8 days to finish as many as they could. They worked in their sketchbooks and I would circulate the room “signing-off” on things they had finished.

If they rushed through the task or did it incorrectly (such as not having enough values in the value scale) then I would give them feedback and have them re-do or fix as needed. AT the end of the unit they turned in their bingo card and each project was worth 5 points. My grading of the points depending on how many days I set for this unit but the goal was one project per day. I also offered a new store bought sketchbook for any kids that did a “Black out.”

student working on black out poem with bingo card visible

Since my drawing bingo worked out well to have 7th and 8th graders explore all the drawing materials. I decided to do a collage bingo. I might do a paint one… but not sure I want all those balls in the air at the same time. My tables were already set up for 6th graders to do collage around the room, so 7th and 8th graders would pick a table each day to create collages from the bingo style choice menu.

Collage bingo was a lot messier and for some more confusing, since many of them were completely new to collage. Because of this I did make a slide show of examples so they would know what a black out poem was and I still did daily demos on blocks that seemed most confusing or the ones the most kids were interested in figuring out.

kids using resources to make origami

Other times I would just provide books or invite kids to look things up on our classroom Chromebooks. At the bottom of this post I am providing my bingo pages for you to adapt. Many activities were in class type things, so if you are going remote, like I am… then you will want to change a few things. P.S. I can’t share my slide show, because it uses images that I found online and used in my class under the fair use policy, but it would be a copyright infringement to publish other’s images in this way. In this time of very generous sharing, please give credit when you use someone’s work and don’t take it and resell it on TPT!

Now that we are suddenly and with little preparation… going to online school… I am working on a digital art bingo for my students working at home. I will share that when it is ready to go! Feel free to adapt the resources below for your age and school situation.

Drawing Bingo:

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