Arts and Crafts for Educators

     For for the last 10+ years I have enjoyed teaching a class at Lorain County Community College entitled Arts and Crafts for Educators.  It is a class taken by individuals studying to be teachers and by teachers needing  college credits to re-certify.  The overall thrust of the class is to learn different projects that enhance various academic areas in the regular classroom.  Then to write lesson plans that utilize these projects and  the Ohio Department of Education benchmarks and objectives.  
     The class is a lot of fun to teach and it forces me to keep my skills up in different craft activities that I might let slide if it wasn't for this class. As an example, recently I  taught basic  lesson on weaving.  I showed the students how to make a loom out of cardboard, set up the warp and the weft,  make a cardboard shuttle, and weave a small sample piece of cloth.  We also worked on some macrame knots (square knot and half hitches) for bracelets, chokers, and belts.  None of these things would I have done without being pleasantly forced into it. Generally I like to bang, cut, and use flames with metal. 
     If you're interested in exactly what is covered and done in class I've posted a syllabus on the left hand side of the blog below the "about me" section called "links to images and other information".  The photos below are a sample of some of the things done in class.  It really needs to be a whole blog unto itself.  But not today.

This is pretty much what class looks like.  Nice tables, 
tall stools, a couple of sinks and decent lighting.


Folding and cutting a snowflake.  You probably can't see it real well but the snowflakes I teach students how to make have six sides.  You fold a rectangle in half the long ways then fold it into a triangle of approximately 60 degrees. 


A student is working on a repeated overlap design.  Rectangles and a limited color palette  look to be shaping up nicely.

The completed work!


Mandalas are nice to teach.  You can easily relate them to cultural themes or math.


Here a student has rolled out a piece of clay and is starting a tile.  I like to make tiles with younger and older students because I can fire a bunch easily, they don't break very often, and I can use the clay tile to teach and re enforce other educational objectives.  Oftentimes I'll do tiles right after teaching designs and mandalas. 


Here the student has impressed a design into the side and is probably getting ready to do a mandala on the inside section. 


Paper mache usually looks this way. A small group of people making faces and gathered 
around a pot of slimy goo.


A still wet paper mache bowl.


Painting a paper mache bowl.


Hmmm...what is this for?


It's paper marbling.  First you put some paint on top of the water. Then you swirl it around.  I usually use leftover oil based paint but a student just informed me you could use powdered tempera paint mixed with vegetable oil.  Seems like a good idea.


After the paint is swirled around, you carefully place the paper on top of the paint 
which is floating on top of the water.


Then carefully pull/lift the paper off the surface of the water.  It's nice to have a friend 
for an extra set of hands.


Another student laying the paper on the water.


...And lifted off to reveal a most beauteous marbled piece of paper.


The marbled paper was used to make books with a sewn in binding.


A book with a marbled paper exterior.  They are very pretty up close. 


I can see printing ink, a brayer, and some glass plates. It looks like a  table of students working on some printmaking activities.


A sponge printing of some ocean themed items.


It looks like a nice coiled pot is taking shape.


Some bisque fired items.  A penguin, and owl, and a ladybug, I believe.  I always encourage older and younger students to make somewhat stubby and/or objects with minimal protrusions.  Less likely to break.  Penguins are an easy choice.  I often read Mr. Popper's Penguins to my younger students, just to get the creative juices flowing.


 Some students and myself pouring hot molten pewter.  Both
of the students made had some clay hearts and we made plaster
molds of them.  After that, we warmed the molds,
then melted and poured some pewter.  If you'd like more details
about casting metal look at making a pewter tiki .


We do a couple-o-classes about weaving and macrame.
Her square knots look good, nice and flat.


A table of weavers.


Here a student is weaving on a cardboard loom with a cardboard
shuttle.  She looks to be doing a nice, very even job.


This is where candle making starts.  You put new wax or used candles into
a hot plate of you choice, give it some time to melt and then dip the wax from there.


To make dip candles, you dip the wick into the melted wax, pull it out, let it cool for
for a few seconds, then dip it in again. Repeat until it's what you want.


Looks good!


You can also make candles by making a mold out of clay


Here's the clay molds filled with wax.


Click her to see syllabus for the class discussed above.


Below is a one quarter sample of how the class is paced.


I left this post up to illustrate how I taught a class and used blogger.  I currently use a wordpress site to track and post info for art classes.  I like blogger better(more ability to customize/alter html), but I thought I'd better learn to use wordpress. 

   It's time for final presentations!

Everybody has picked out a time, so let's begin!

If you look at the checklist for lesson plans it is pretty much the same sort of thing: age and/or ability level, quoted ODE objective, time line, delineated procedure, project, materials needed, and some sort of ending assessment/test to tell how well the students learned your stated objective. If you e-mail me your paper I will grade it ahead of time and tell you what to fix, if necessary.  There is no reason not to get a good grade!


1. You have to stand in front and present it to the class.

2. It should be something you are excited about and a project that can excite others.

3.  The lesson plan/presentation should take at least 15 minutes and not go over 1/2 hour. 

Call me or e-mail me if you need any help.


We are continuing the jewelry through the 7th.  Make sure you finish your etching and get all the projects done and set aside for notebook.  The next class we start weaving, you'll need string, cardboard, and some yarn.  Let me know if you need any thing.

Mr. R looks to be adding texture to a copper ring.

I'm not sure, but I think Ms. Heidi made this.

Again, not sure but I think Ms. Heidi.

A shot of  finishing up the painting of paper mache items.

November 1st and 3rd

   We will be doing beading, jewelry, finishing up some ceramics, and the next lesson plan needs to be turned in. I Think Ms. L is doing a book presentation also. If you need any help, call or e-mail me! If you have misplaced any handouts concerning the criteria for lesson or book presentation, just click through.


For Monday, October24th and onto the 26th

    We will be doing some polymer clay(it's a colored clay) construction.  Beads, jewelry, and some other small stuff.  You need to go to Pat Catan's, Michael's or maybe Joann's to get Fimo or some Sculpey. Pick some colors you want to work with.  If you go to, or and type in "Fimo" or "Sculpey" you should be able to get an idea as to what kinds of things you can make.  You could also just do and internet search and come up with quite a bit under the terms, "polymer clay projects, fimo projects, or Sculpey projects"
    Heidi Says she has a book report for us also.   

 It looks like everybody is doing repeated designs.

For Wednesday, October 19th

We are finishing up stuff in general(printmaking, books, clay glazing, etc.) and starting with stencils.  Bring paper, cardstock, x-acto knife, some images you'd like to make stencils about/with.

Maybe a book report from.....

A few people are late with lesson plans, as mentioned in the syllabus:

"All work to be completed per instructors' due dates announced throughout the class.  Late work will have 5 points deducted from the grade.  Any work more than 3 days late will not be accepted for a grade."

Finish up printmaking on October 17th.  Cardboard, sponges, leaves, flowers.  You should have finished the two books, the calligraphy, be working of printmaking, and glazing ceramic items.


 September 27

Below is the link for information pertaining to the upcoming lesson plan due on October 17th and the book project/presentation.



If you need any help, suggestions or would like me to pre-grade it before you turn it in. Call me at 440.749.7867 or 

Paper mache is this coming Monday(September 12th).  A lesson plan is also due.  If you need help, feel free to e-mail me at

You need to bring: a small bucket, some wallpaper paste(or a bunch of elmers glue or wheat paste), a bowl to use for a mold, some newspaper, masking tape, and gloves and apron(if your afraid of getting too messy).


   Below are some hopefully helpful links for understanding what the state of Ohio wants to be taught in each grade level.  Call me or e-mail me if you need help making a lesson plan.  You need to:

1. Pick an age or ability level.
2. Pick something specific to teach that ODE says is appropriate at    
    that age. Quote the actual benchmark/objective you will be teaching
3. Estimate the time needed and materials necessary to be on hand.
4. Tell the procedure of how you will teach the lesson.  You can
     write it in paragraph form or do it step by step.
5. Tell how you will evaluate the lesson and your students learning
     of the lesson.

One thing you can do is just look at the content standards for various grade levels:


ODE also has a small booklet that you can print out that is intended to give parent an overview of all things to be covered in every particular grade.  I think it's called:


The next link takes you to practice tests for various grades.  If you look at the questions being asked they can give you and idea as to what ODE is thinking about:


The next link is is to released test materials, by that ODE means tests they've used in the past.  I think it's just called:


You should also look at and familiarize yourself with the ODE website. It has a lot of resources and important information  for you as a teacher.

If you have misplaced your syllabus just click the funny letters below:

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