Category Archives: Hands on Learning

Martin Luther King Jr. (plus a freebie)

There are few people I admire more than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was such a brave man and the essence of collaboration. Martin Luther King Jr. was able to get others to follow him, peacefully to stand up for what was right. He paid with his life and we owe him so much. One of my most favorite activities (of pretty much ALL TIME) is the collaboration group poster I create of him with my kids. I have two versions of this project–both are very fun!

The first version is really easy and requires that each student color a piece of their MLK poster according to a color provided to them. Each student has the important task of finishing their piece. photo 2 copyOnce all the pieces are finished the poster is put together and the final work is that of Martin Luther King Jr. Students see that through their individual efforts the entire poster comes together –it is essential that EVERY student does their part, or else the poster would not be complete! MLK image 1.001

Students that are more advanced or are in an art class will enjoy the second version of this poster. This is great for middle school and high school students.  In this option students each  draw their part of the poster. They have to work really closely with their “neighbors” on the poster to be sure their designs will line up. This poster doesn’t always look as good as the other one when it’s finished but it’s truly about the collaboration that goes into it–it’s VERY hard to make it look exactly like him when that many kids are working on it. However, the kids are always very impressed with their work in the end. These examples were created by two of my fourth grade classes–I’d LOVE to see some middle school or high school students do this project!

MLK.001I’ve had so many teacher who really “get it” when it comes to this poster and the deep meaning behind it. Many teachers leave me comments about how meaningful this project was to them and their students. I made sure the colors were all different to again represent the diversity in which MLK fought for. Rosa Parks is my next poster and it’s almost finished–I can’t wait to share it with my students!


I wanted to share something with you for taking the time to read my post and visit us at The Teaching 2 Step. If you click HERE or on the image below you can get a free worksheet that you can use on MLK day with your students. I let older students draw the image and younger students cut out and glue the pieces.

MLK_Unscramble drawing worksheet_artwithjennyk.001

Do me a favor…if you snagged a free copy of this woksheet please leave a comment below and share what grade level you plan to use this activity with…if I see there is a lot of interest I’ll try to provide more freebies like this in the future!

Debbie Clement is hosting a wonderful MLK linky party on her blog…so I’ve decided to link this article up to her site…she’s amazing…if you don’t already know about her check her out and you’ll find many other great resources in her link up! Click on the image below to see the other great MLK resources and link up. Blog Signature

Thanks for reading and for making art with your students!

Art with Jenny K Round Logo


Jenny K. Signature



This post is written by Jenny K. If you enjoyed this post join Jenny K. on BloglovinFacebook, and/or Pinterest.


Manic Monday with Jenny K.

shaving cream blog post 1.002
Manic Mondays–ain’t that the truth! (sorry english teachers I had to). There are some things about Monday that just never change. First and foremost, you need a large cup of joe. Make-up is optional and usually doesn’t make the cut and, last but not least, it comes again every week (darn it). Of course, if we had a three day weekend we’d be calling “Monday” terrible Tuesdays! So we just have to face it–real life happens each week whether we like it or not.

The Bangles pretty accurately captured the Manic Monday feeling…

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 1.43.20 PMSooo… I don’t know about you, but having something fun and easy to do to ease back into the week is awesome. Attach FREE to “fun and easy” and it might actually start to feel like a  Friday!( I know, I’m talking foolishness for a Monday).

By now you might already know that the Holiday TPT eBooks are out. These eBooks are a THANK YOU to all the teachers who support other teachers on their Teachers Pay Teachers journey. The amazing Rachel Lynette dreamed these up and now it’s a holiday tradition going on 4 ebook featured image.001

My gift (did you see the group blog post on Friday?) is a paid product I changed to a forever freebie and involves shaving cream! You can get the product HERE or you can find it in the eBook for grades 3-5 along with resources from 49 other teachers.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 1.43.20 PMMy free product is my all-time favoriate “magic trick” that uses shaving cream to create marbelized paper. And then, I show you how to create Christmas ornaments with the beautiful marbelized paper. If you don’t have time to make the ornaments, you can use the same technique to make snowglobes for January to celebrate winter. (Did I really just say celebrate winter? –I need to go to bed!) You can find that lesson HERE (it’s also free).

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 1.49.23 PM

This post is a link up to Classroom Freebies for their “Manic Monday” blog posts.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Thanks for reading and for making art with your kids!

Art with Jenny K Round Logo


Jenny K. Signature



This post is written by Jenny K. If you enjoyed this post join Jenny K. on BloglovinFacebook, and/or Pinterest.

Clay in the Classroom Part II

Thanks for joining me for Part II of using clay in the classroom (not just the art room!). If you missed Part I of this topic please click HERE to get caught up.

In Part I,  I discussed about 3 reasons why it’s  important to let kids use clay in the classroom; motor skills, therapy and play.  If you are teaching children ages 5 and above you are going to encounter their desire to make the clay “look like something.” It’s in their nature to do so. Once children have had time to “play” with the material and experience it then try this fun activity.

You won’t need a fine art degree to use this lesson in your classroom.   Let’s get started…

Clay beads necklace:  shapes and color 


-Kiln firing clay (if you have access to a kiln or art teacher who has one) or air dry clay.

-Skewers or pencils

-Acrylic paints (red, yellow, blue and white)



Let students play with the clay to get started.

Then ask students to make a “ball” out of their clay.  Decide on a number of beads you’d like and then ask students to start by breaking their big ball of clay in “1/2” and then again into as many pieces as you want. Students will then want to make small balls or other 3D shapes from the pieces of clay they have.

Encourage students to make different shaped beads. You can ask them to create cubes as well as balls and poke holes in them. Also feel free to let students completely come up with their own clay bead designs. Kids always impress and fascinate me. Just when I think I have a good idea, they have a better one. Trust them!

Using a pencil or skewer have students poke a hole in the beads large enough for whatever material you’d like to use for the necklace.  Clay shrinks when it dries and nothing is more frustrating then trying to string a bunch of beads with small holes, so do yourself a favor and check all of the beads after the kids are done and before the clay dries to make sure the holes are big enough and are clean all the way through.

DSC_2440If you are using air dry clay then let it dry overnight or per the directions on the container. If you are using kiln fire clay, talk to your art teacher and see when she/he can fire the beads for you. They will need to  dry for a few days before they are fired in a kiln.DSC_0865

After your beads are dry/fired then have students paint them. Use an acrylic paint to paint the beads. You can buy inexpensive acrylic paint at any craft store, it doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. You can let students paint the old fashion way with a brush and get nice dirty fingers OR you can mix it up a little bit. Try this…

clay in the classroomPut a small amount of a primary color (red, yellow, blue) into a small zip lock bag.





Clay in the classroom


Then have your students drop one of their beads into the bag, zip it up and then squish it all around until it’s covered in paint. Have students drop that bead out of the bag onto a tray.




clay in the classroomThen ask students to drop in another bead and go around and put a small amount of another primary paint color. This will then create a secondary color (green, purple, orange) for your students to cover their next bead.IMG_2653









Print out this poster to use in your classroom as a quick reference for primary colors and secondary colors (click on image to download).

primary colors secondary colors mixing poster

Primary color cheat sheet

red + yellow = orange

red + blue = purple

yellow + blue = green




For the third bead, go around and add a little bit of white to the bags of paint. This will then create a tint of whatever secondary color was just in the bag. So, for example, if on the first bead you added yellow, then you added blue you would have a variation of green. If on the third bead you added white you would then have a light green painted bead. If you are doing more than three beads then you could switch bags with other tables who might have had other colors to play with. Plan according to how many beads your students will be making.

clay in the classroom

When all the clay beads are made you will have a tray full of color.

DSC_0865Once the beads are dry from whatever paint you used then you can thread them on yarn, string or whatever resource you are using to make these beads into necklaces. Kids love wearing their clay necklaces when they are complete! DSC_2434

Next week I will share with you another fun and easy clay project using your students shoes!Art with Jenny K Round Logo




AWJK signature



Clay in the classroom Part II  is a post written by Jenny K. If you enjoyed this post join Jenny K. on BloglovinFacebook, and Pinterest.


Physical Properties of Matter

Well it’s time for Science Tuesdays with Karen. In my district we start the school year with learning about the physical properties of matter. Matter is a tough concept…especially for 8 year olds. They really have a hard time with mass and density which is a really abstract concept (even for many adults – myself included). Third graders don’t really need to have a deep understanding of these concepts, just to be able to explain in their own words the idea of it. Does that make sense? We certainly don’t read much about these concepts. It’s all hands on. If you give the kiddos some experiences, they can generate explanations.

Right now, my kiddos are really struggling with keeping mass separate from weight, but it will come. Each year, with more exposure, their knowledge will grow. Right now we’re just planting the seed, and throughout the year I will continue to incorporate these concepts into new units when possible.

So here is what I want to share with you. My “Eggs”cellent Activity. My students loved this activity! Check out this picture (I also have a video, but I couldn’t get it to load):
IMG_20140902_110309[1]That’s an egg that is seemingly floating in the middle of of the glass. But…the bottom layer is salt water and the top layer is water with a few drops of food coloring (helps with the visualization.) The egg is floating because salt water is more dense than the egg. The egg is more dense than the plain water. Kids can get a better understanding of density when you make it hands on and very visual.

After your kiddos complete this activity, ask them to describe what happened and to explain why it happened in their own words. I’m happy if they tell men that the salt water is “holding” up the egg. For an eight year old, this is the beginning of understanding of a difficult concept. I’m okay with this explanation.

If you’re interested in this activity here’s is a link  to the directions (food coloring is not listed in the materials – I added it to a large pitcher of water ahead of time) and a Lab Report & Observation page for your little ones. In addition, there is an extension activity included where the students can apply the concept.

Slide1Slide2Slide3I hope you enjoy the activities!



Apple Print Arrays–Festive, Fall Art Integration

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 2.20.03 PM

Materials: You will need: apples (cut in 1/2), trays for putting paint on, tempera or acrylic paint, paper cut to desired size (larger paper = larger arrays), small paint brushes, cups of water.

Step #1: Before your students arrive cut all of the apples in half.  Set out trays for the paint, cups of water, small paint brushes and apples.  Go around with the bottle of paint and put some in the middle of each tray. You will add more later as your students run out. Don’t put too much paint on the tray to start with.DSCN5162

Step #2: You will want to explain what arrays are to your students. They need to be aware of working in rows and columns. This will not work if the apple prints are randomly all over the page. Demonstrate with your students exactly how you want them to start. Have them first put their apple in the paint and then do a “test” print on the tray. If students are happy with the amount of paint on their apple they can then print onto the paper. I would have students start in the top left corner of their page and make one even row across the top. Then have them make another row under the first row. This step varies depending on what size array you are trying to make. For the first time I would just let students get used to printing the apples. Then ask them to make a very specific size array. For example, “Students please print a 3 x 6 array.”


Step #3: Once you have explained what an array is to your class and you have practiced then students can make their own arrays. You can also assign different arrays to different groups of students so that when you are done you will have several different kinds of arrays to use as practice in math. You could have your array size written on a card and you could pass out those cards to students and ask them to make the size array that is on their card.DSCN5179

For example, student A draws a card that says 5 x 6, Students would make an array that looks like this;DSCN5558

You would then ask your students, “What does 5 x 6 equal?” They will answer 30. You will then ask them to check to be sure they are correct, “Great answer, now count the apples to see if you are correct.” Using the array, they can count each apple to see if it comes to 30. The only thing limiting the size of the array is the size of the paper. Therefore plan to make your paper the size of your largest array. You can also use things like cereal boxes, old cardboard boxes, etc to print your apples.

Step #4 : For this step let your students decorate the apples. Give them some brown paint to add the stems and seeds. Give them some green paint to add a leaf on each apple.


Step #5: When it’s time to use these array to practice math students can use large strips of paper to hide some of the rows and columns to make new arrays. You can ask your student to show you a 2×3 array and they can use the strips of paper to cover up the other apples to show you they know what a 2×2 is. You can have the entire class do this for all different arrays that you would like to see. Students will get to practice their math times tables this way.


Pop Art Bonus: Not only will the students have fun learning some math concepts, but when they are through, they will have a great piece of Pop Art a la Andy Warhol!

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 11.30.10 AM

Click on the image to see the You Tube Video I made for this lesson.

The pdf of this lesson and video file is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store and it is FREE. Please click here to download.

Speaking of Pop Art…

Here is another FREE item for you if you like Apples (and what teacher doesn’t?) Click on the image to see my free Interactive Apple
Pop Art coloring sheet. This is great for back-to-school or for the fall.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.07.35 PM

Thanks for reading!

Art with Jenny K. Logo:button