Today’s post is a guest post from a fabulous fourth-grade teacher in California. She is going to share some of the 4th-grade art projects she has done with her students in science, reading, poetry, math, social studies, language arts, and more—I think you’ll be inspired!
One of my favorite parts about having a blog, being on social media, and creating resources for Teachers Pay Teachers is connecting with teachers. I get to connect with teachers in the United States and all over the world—last month, a teacher in Germany was sharing what she had done with her students using one of my projects!
I’m an art teacher, so I know a lot about teaching art to children—and I know a lot about helping teachers infuse art into their classrooms. However, I’m NOT a classroom teacher trying to teach a bazillion different subjects a day and include art in those subjects. That is where you come in—I give you the tools for doing this, but you do the hard work!
This is why I love to feature teachers like yourself who believe in the importance of creativity in the classroom. Teachers like you who infuse art into your lessons whenever the opportunity arises. Like my guest today said, “I sneak art in my classroom whenever I can.”
Today, my guest post is from Pam Galletti, a California educator. She has been teaching for over 20 years and loves doing 4th-grade art projects with her students.
After having a lot of conversations with Pam, I jokingly told her I would move from Arizona to California so my daughter could be in her class—she’s a rock star! In fact, she has been nominated as teacher of the year in her district—I’m certainly cheering her on!!
Okay, enough from me—let’s hear what Mrs. Galletti has to say about her 4th-grade art projects. (Links below that take you to Amazon are affiliate links, you can see my full disclosure HERE.)
I am a fourth-grade teacher and have taught for about 20 years. I have taught other grade levels, but this is, by far, my favorite age. We have a lot to cover in fourth grade. I love art and find ways to sneak it into what we are doing. The students love it, and the final projects are amazing. I love doing art in my classroom and usually incorporate it into my theme or unit somehow. We paint, we draw, we knit, we color, we use clay… on and on I could go.
4th Grade Art Projects for Science
We do a lot of science because my students and I love learning science. Recently, we did a unit on internal and external structures. We talked about bones and veins and did a few dissections. We dissected a cow’s eye. We talked about the features, and my students loved learning about the iris, retina, and optic nerve.
These are the art projects I snuck in for this science unit.
One is of bones, and we used vegetable oil and black crayons—it was so much fun! We got the lesson on infusing art and science from Mystery Doug HERE.
But here is a little brief review of how to do this project. The basics are that you’ll need light paper and dark crayons. Students will spread their fingers wide and trace with a crayon. I remind them to notice the joints and mark those by drawing a line across where they are on the hand. Then they draw in the bones and color around them with a dark crayon. Using a q-tip, they dip into vegetable oil, wipe off the excess oil, and paint it on the bones in their hand drawing. The oil makes the bones portions of the paper transparent, so when the students hold their finished piece up to a light, it looks like an x-ray! Cool! Just a word of caution—from experience—don’t get too much on the hand, just enough.
The next art project was looking at the pupil of all different kinds of animals. We did a fun chalk art of this. Students used chalk pastels on black construction paper and found images of animal eyes to create their drawings. It’s easy for students to find images online or in magazines.
Then we wrote a poem to go with our animal eye—sneaking in writing too!
4th Grade Art Projects Using Trout
We do a lot with life science as well. I do trout in our classroom—we actually hatch trout.
So, of course, we do trout art as well! We get frozen trout from Costco and create a Gyotaku (fish print). By this time, we have learned about its lifecycle and can appreciate the history lesson as well.
4th Grade Art Projects Using River Rocks
We learn about rocks as well in our science lessons. Since we talk about river rocks with the trout, I round up river rocks and talk about the rock cycle. This project is pure fun while we learn about rock layers.
In a cup, we layer different colors of acrylic paint, like a rock might have layers. Then we pour it over real river rocks. We also add some acrylic pour oil and Flood to the mix to help. The mixture is two parts paint one part Flood—which seems to make it run better. We use only one or two drops of the acrylic pour oil. Then I spray the rocks with a sealant to keep them shiny.
They look like eggs for Easter (sneaking in the holidays as well).
4th Grade Art Projects for English Language Art
We read a book each year called, The Big Wave. This book is inspired by The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Japanese artist Hokusai. It is a great book and a short read. This is also a great way to weave art history into my lesson—giving students exposure to this famous artwork.
After reading the book, students then create a “found poem,”—which is a type of poetry where you take words and phrases and make changes in spacing and lines or by adding or deleting words. To create our poems, I pulled words and phrases from pages in the book. I copied about two pages for the students to use for their poems. Then they pulled phrases or words from those pages to create their own poems.
We copy their poems on sticky paper and they create a “Big Wave.” We start by copying a graphic of the Big Wave that the kids then color over using colored pens and paint—an easy way to introduce mixed media to my students. I show them that part of the wave is a repeating blue, green, and blue-green pattern. The background is watercolor paint, and the white of the wave is white tempera paint. They always come out stunning…
Jenny K. has a set of masterpiece coloring pages that includes The Great Wave off Kanagawa—which would pair great with this project. It’s available HERE.
4th Grade Art Projects with Poetry
4th Grade Art Projects in Social Studies
4th Grade Art Projects in Math
Math doesn’t get left out when we include art in our studies! We also do a lot of art in our math lessons. For example, in geometry, we write and do art about geometric shapes—inspired by the work of Kandinsky. This, I also got from TPT HERE.
4th Grade Art Projects for The Community!
We are part of the Fish Friends Club, working with East Bay Parks to keep our water clean. We collect trash for a year and then create graphs and drawings to show off in poster form to our school.
…so, as I said, I can go on and on and on.
Integrating Sneaking(!) art into my classroom is a large part of teaching children to be problem solvers and creative thinkers and help make their learning meaningful!
Wow – thanks, Pam!
I guess it’s pretty easy to tell why Mrs. Galletti is nominated as teacher of the year in her district. If this is how she is doing 4th-grade art projects with her students for science, math, language arts, and her community—I can only imagine all of the other things she does as well!
Not only does infusing (or “sneaking”) art into your lesson plans make them more exciting for your students, but scientific studies indicate that it may help students to improve their learning. Double bonus!!
I hope this post inspires you to try some art in your classroom as well. I’m here to help. If you have questions, email me here or find me on social media and ask away.
Thank you for reading and making art with your students!