Middle School Art Lesson Plans by Jeannie Sandoval

Seven Middle School Art Lessons

Submitted by: Jeannie Sandoval, West Hall Middle School
Oakwood, Georgia

Grade Level: Middle School Art Lesson Plans

Grade level: 7th (adaptable to lower grades)
Tempera painting - Color
Name of Project:
12 part color wheel motif





Students will be able to produce a 12 x 18 (30.5 x 46 cm) Color Wheels. that contains primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. Students must also mix all colors needed from just the primary colors.


Approximate time line:

   4-5 days


Procedure to follow for Studio project:

Day 1:

Create a simple motif that is easy to duplicate and works well with different sizes

1.   Draw motif in small, medium and large sizes, cut out of tag board.

2.   Trace down the large sizes first- only 3 times- one for each primary color

3.   Overlap the medium motif at least once over the large traced motifs. You should trace the medium motif three times and try to overlap as much as possible (if possible). The medium motif is your secondary colors.

4.   Last but not least, the small motif will be your tertiary colors and should be traced in 6 different locations around the picture. They may not overlap any of the other motifs. They may go off the paper.

Day 2-3:

1.   Begin to paint the primary colors (but not where the medium motif overlaps).

2.   Do the same for the secondary colors that you mix paint in the medium motifs, but not where you overlap the large motif.

3.   Mix the tertiary colors and paint in where the primary and secondary colors over lap. You should have 6 small motifs, for each motif paint one of the tertiary colors.

Day 5-6:

Repaint areas that are light. The heavier or more solid your motif areas are, the better it looks. One everything is dry and painted solidly, paint the background in black. Repaint areas that dry light, the heavier the black, the better it looks.



Studio counts two test grades. A test on colors will be given at a later time.



Grade level: 7th (adaptable to other grades)
UNIT: Drawing - Water Soluble Oil Pastels
Name of Project: Abstract Animals - Cubism




Student will be able to produce an oil pastel drawing using abstract methods after being introduced to the life and art of Pablo Picasso.



Approximate time line: 4-5 days


Procedure to follow for Studio project:

Day 1:  Research for an animal of student’s choice. I encourage the kids to select an animal that they would like to see hanging on their wall in their home. Putting that type of pressure on them actually is a quick way of them finding what they like. I have a ton of magazines and resource pictures in the class that they can pick from. Cut down chip board to the specified size student selects (Teacher used paper cutter for this). Student begins to draw on the chip board. Encourage students to draw large but no details. You are going for the outline of animal so, make it recognizable.

Day 2-3: Continue drawing animal from previous day is you did not finish. Once the picture is drawn, use a pencil and ruler and ‘shatter’ the picture. Make straight lines that go in various directions. I tell the kids to imagine broken glass that has large pieces. You don’t want to make so many lines that you end of having very small pieces to have to color in.

Day 3-5: Using a color scheme. Student chose from the complementary colors and tints and shades of those colors that were in the box of Portfolio Class Pack. For example, if they chose the blue/orange. The colors for the orange the used were red orange, orange, red, yellow and rust to make as many different oranges as possible. Color in the piece almost solidly. Then, use white on one corner and color at an angle to about 1/3 of the way in the piece. Do the same thing with black on the opposite corner of the white coloring about 1/3 of the way. Use the original color to blend the black and white in. Make the background one color and the inside of the animal the other color in the scheme.  Spray with Crystal Clear Acrylic Spray Paint. when finished to protect the surface.



Studio project is worth two test grades.



Grade level:  8th grade
UNIT: Painting - Art Styles -Acrylic
Name of Project: Choice Acrylic Painting (end of semester project - Student select subject and art style)






Students will be able to paint an acrylic painting of their choice.  Students are encouraged to select landscapes, animals, or still life’s as their subjects.


Approximate Time Line:

Day 1: Select photo from magazines or bring one from home. Sketch onto canvas board.

Day 2: Complete laying out design. Begin painting background. Prior to painting this project, color theory had been introduced and explored thoroughly. This is the end of the semester "final exam".

Day 3-6: Paint remainder of canvas board. Lay detail in on the last day.

Day 7: Class critique



Painting Project will be graded as two test grades. Critique is worth one test grade. Three grades total.



  1. Hand out the critique handout to each student and have them answer the questions. Allow 10 minutes for their self critique.

  2. Once each student has critiqued their own art, then they are to go around the room "round robin" style. They are to critique no less than 10 different students in the class on the critique handout. They must be sure to initial beside their comments.

  3. At the end of the period, all students must turn in their painting along with the handout.
    *This activity should last for an entire 40 class period*


Name: __________________________________ Period: ___________


Final Acrylic Painting Project Evaluation & Critique Sheet


Answer the following questions. You have 10 - 15 minutes to complete the self evaluation section. Once you complete the self evaluation, you have 2 minutes per evaluation. Turn in the sheet with your painting at the end of the period. You may use an additional sheet of paper if you run out of room for your personal critique.

  1. Briefly describe your painting. Be detailed.

  1. Did you encounter any problems? If so, please tell me everything.

  1. Why did you select the photograph you painted from?

  1. What did you like best about your painting? Explain.

  1. What did you like least? Explain.

  1. If you were to grade your project… what do you think you earned? Explain your grade.

Once you have completed this side, flip the paper over and sign your name at the top and place it next to your painting.



Name: _______________________________________


Group Critique


As you go around the room and see all the displayed paintings, answer the following questions. After you write your comments on each handout, initial next to your comments. You may critique 10 different projects throughout the room. This will give you approximately 2 minutes per critique. Be prepared to write complete coherent sentences. QUALITY of answer is just as important as quantity. Giving good, meaningful critiques is the goal.


Important tip to remember:

Constructive criticism does not ‘hurt’. The purpose of constructive criticism is to pick out what you like about the project and add helpful commentary or suggestions on how to make it even better. Keep this in mind when you write your critique. This is a positive experience. J


***Why did you pick this project to critique? What is it about this painting that caught your attention? What suggestions do you have to make it better? Does something need to be ‘fixed"? Do you like it? Why or why not?

  1. ________________________________________________________________________________
  2. ________________________________________________________________________________
  3. ________________________________________________________________________________
  4. ________________________________________________________________________________
  5. ________________________________________________________________________________
  6. ________________________________________________________________________________
  7. ________________________________________________________________________________
  8. ________________________________________________________________________________
  9. ________________________________________________________________________________
  10. ________________________________________________________________________________

(Note to teachers - you will have to format these to fit on one page - reduce numbers and spacing if necessary)



(Note: Colors didn't photograph correctly)

Grade level: 6th
UNIT: Color - Colored Pencil (markers or paint)
Name of Project: Color Name Wheel




Students will be able to produce a color wheel using their name as the subject. This six part color wheel will contain complementary colors within the name

Approximate time line: 4-5 days


Procedure to follow for Studio project:

1.      Write out name in large bubble letters that do no touch. Each letter should be as tall as the student’s hand.

2.      Using a ruler divide paper from each corner to corner and then once down the middle to create a six part wheel. Write directly on top of the name.

3.      Color only the background in the correct color order. Do not color inside of the name. Students are encouraged to color solidly so that none of the white of the background bleeds through. Color in different directions to get a solid wheel. Postage stamp size at a time is best. Using a hand held pencil sharpener is suggested for each table since you will go through a lot of  colored pencils.

4.      Once all the background is colored, being to fill in the name. Use the complementary color inside of each letter within that color pie only. It typically takes 3-4 days to color in the background, but the inside of the name only takes about a day and a half.

5.      Laminate when finished.



Two test grades. Students will also take a test over the elements of art that contains color questions



1 Grade level: 6th
Medium: Renaissance - Sculpture
Name of Project: Fresco Mosaic



Students will be introduced to the Italian Renaissance and the process of how frescos were created and the challenges that faced the artists of that period. Students to create a modern day fresco with mosaic accents



Plaster of Paris.
Tempera Paint. (various colors)
Glass beads, marbles, mini colored tiles, shells etc.
Solo plastic cups for mixing plaster
Craft sticks. for spreading plaster and smoothing top of fresco
Paint Brushes.
6 x 8 (15 x 20 cm) bathroom tiles (tile scraps call companies for discontinue colors and freebies)
Newspaper to cover tables


Approximate time line: 1-2 days


Procedure to follow for Studio project:

Day 1:

1.   Pour plaster half way into cup and mix with water. Allow the plaster to be slightly runny so that it does not dry immediately upon pouring it out on the bathroom tile. It needs to be able to be smoothed.

2.   Lay the mosaic pieces around the edges to create a framed effect. Pour plaster.

3.   Smooth plaster around mosaic pieces so they are snuggly in the plaster. Make surface as flat as possible.

4.   Use craft stick to clean up the edges by scraping the sides.

5.   Clean newspapers off tables and clean up plaster materials. While you are doing this, this gives time for the surface to dry some.

6.   Come up with a theme to paint on the surface. I give the students a choice to pick from. I give them a list of things that are not allowed (smiley faces, peace signs, hearts, letters or numbers). I encourage animals.

7.   Begin to paint straight onto the surface. If it is still wet, but not mushy, then it is time to paint. The more layers of paint you put on the fresco, the brighter they will be. The background looks great if it is painted, otherwise, it looks dingy when dried.

Day 2:

Complete painting; add additional layers if colors look washed out. Sign name and date.



Studio project is worth two test grades.



2Grade level: 8th grade Advanced
UNIT: Silver board -Drawing
Name of Project: Silver Scratch Art - Patterns in Nature



8 x 10 (20 x 25.5 cm) Gold or Silver Scratchboard. (White Scratchboard. optional)
Scratchboard Tool Kit. (curved and round)
Crow Quill Pens. holder, Paper Clips



Students will be able to produce a realistic image using silver board. Special attention to the animal’s fur or feathers will be expected.


Approximate time line:

Day 1: Research for a picture from home, internet or magazines for a photograph of an animal.

Day 2: Layout design onto silver board. Caution is given so that the pencils used when drawing out the design are dull so that it does not break through the surface of the paper. Mechanical pencils are discouraged. Student will NOT want an outline showing in the silver

Day 3: Decide what the positive and negative areas will be. The exposed silver is your positive. If you plan to have a silver background, then begin to scratch away the surface first.

3Day 4-7: Continue scratching away. Pay close attention to the direction that you scratch into the board. You cannot change it once you begin. Fur should be in tiny strokes and in various directions around the face of the animal so that it is realistic. Work directly from your photograph for the entire scratching project. Do not pretend you remember or memorized your photograph. See Detail.

Day 8: Complete any final touches, and mount onto mat board from the box at the back of the room your Mat board. should measure 12 x 1 (30.5 x 35.5 cm) and can be in any color. Name should be scratched on the front in the bottom right hand corner.



Mounted silver board project is worth two test grades.



Grade level: 6th
Medium: Painting - Weaving - Tempera
Name of Project: True Tints/Hues Weaving



18" x 24" (46 x 61 cm) Drawing Paper.
(or choice of size) - 2 sheets each.
Drawing Pencils.
Kneaded Rubber Erasers.
Tempera Paint. (or Watercolor Paint.)
Brushes., Scissors., White Glue.
Black Construction Paper. (Optional)



Students will be able to produce two 18 x 24 (46 x 61 cm) paintings of an animal (reptile, aquatic, mammal etc) and weave them together to create one final picture.



  1. Pass out two sheets of 18 x 24 (46 x 61 cm) paper.

  2. After students have researched the animal they are going to use, they are to draw it on one of the sheets. It is important that the animal takes up approximately 75% of the sheet.

  3. After the first picture is drawn, place it under the second sheet of paper and trace it exactly like it was drawn on the first. Set is aside once is it traced.

  4. Colors should be selected that will be used. A color scheme is suggested. I limit the amount of colors allowable. No more than four colors and white is not allowed (on the first painting) Black Sharpies can be used to outline final painting on each sheet.

  5. The first painting will not involve any color mixing. It will be true hues right out of the bottle. Paint the entire background one solid color. Do not add anything to the background if you don’t add it to the second painting. Both paintings will be the same images (one dark - one light)

  6. Once you are ready for the second painting, use the same colors used on the first painting, but this time you add white to each color used. Paint it exactly the same way the first one is painted. This painting will be nothing but tints of the first painting.

  7. Continue to weave until complete. Glue all edges together. Laminate if you have access. This project is a big hit with the kids.

  8. I hate to even mention this might happen, but what if the kids cut both sheets in the same direction? It would truly take too long to repaint the sheet. So, when this happened, I handed out an 18 x 24 (46 x 61 cm) sheet of black Construction Paper. and had them weave that into one of the sheets. This checker board effect turned out nicely.

3After both sheets are dried, cut one sheet on the weft in 2" (5 cm) strips and the second sheet on the warp in 2" (5 cm) strips.  Weave together, glue first row together making sure there are not gaps while you are weaving the strips. To modify for the Resource students, I used the paper cutter to cut their strips ( I did not do this for all the Resource students, but those that needed obvious help, I did this for). Be sure to number strips as you cut! See detail.

Approximate time line:

Day 1: Research animal and draw out on first sheet.

Day 2: Finish drawing first sheet and then trace it onto the second sheet. If time allows, select paint to be used for project.

Day 3: Begin to paint using true hues. Make sure to paint the entire background. I only set out primary colors, students have to mix colors together to get desired hues.

Day 4-7: Continue painting. Once you are ready for the second sheet, use the same colors as the first sheet, but this time mix each hue with white.

Day 8: Cut strips and weave.



Worth two test grades. Graded on a scale of 100 points.





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