In the Classroom: Funny Face

Subbing for Grade 7 at Harris Middle School, Pat Benard got students ready for their curriculum in editorial cartoons by starting with the basics.  She presented a lesson on proportion and placement of features of the human face, followed by a lesson in proportions of the human body and tied this in with an introduction to editorial cartoons.  Each student had self-directed time to practice their techniques.

In the Classroom: Mix it Up!

Working with grades 6 through 8, substitute Pat Benard jumped into the classroom with a lesson in collage to break-up the traditional drawing techniques they had previously been working on.  Each student received a 12×18 sheet of paper and students proceeded with mixed media collage techniques to produce their own masterpiece.

In the Classroom: Sweet Poetry

Substitute Britt Kaufmann worked with fourth grade students at Burnsville Elementary School getting creative with candy.  Using Valentine’s candy hearts, fourth graders rearranged words and phrases to make a poem with the challenge to make it rhyme or make it a non-love poem.  After finishing their rough drafts, Britt provided comments to get them on their way to a final draft to decorate with construction paper.

In the Classroom: It’s All Greek to Me

Greek hero2

Eleventh grade students at Mitchell High received a modern day lesson to tie into their studies of ancient Greece.  Anne Phillips asked each student to create a comic book cover of their own super hero using Latin root words.  For example: Hydroman.  Anne gave each student a large piece of paper to work with and challenged them to get creative with their use of space.

Greek hero5

In the Classroom: A Poem as Sweet as Sugar

Britt Kaufmann spent the day with 40 fourth grade students at Burnsville Elementary School studying simile and metaphor.  They boiled the two literary forms down to their essence like boiling the salt out of salt water.  The simplest meaning: simile and metaphor are two nouns being compared.  Students then created two-word poems, shared them with the class, and discussed their effect on everyone – how they either excited the imagination or seemed too obscure or similar.  They finished up the lesson by decorating and writing their words in fancy type like wrapping a present with a neat little a bow.

In the Classroom: And I Thank You


Britt Kaufmann spent two days with 40 fourth grade students at Burnsville Elementary School.  Using the poem “Roses are Red,” Britt encouraged the class to get descriptive with their vocabulary, creating their own poem by substituting the original words with new ones.  Each student created a poem that ended in “and I thank you,” in honor of Thanksgiving.  Britt corrected the rough drafts for spelling and pushed students to the next level of creativity.  Students wrote, decorated, and addressed the final drafts of their poems on blank note cards that Britt then mailed out.

In the Classroom: A Sublime Rhyme

Britt Kaufman spent the week before Christmas studying “The Night Before Christmas” with 20 second grade students at Burnsville Elementary School.  Students worked in groups to understand and emphasize the auditory nature of hearing and finding rhymes.  They worked together to form rhyming couplets and then selected their favorites to edit, revise, and improve the quality of their writing.  Britt typed up the best rhymes into a poem and added clip art for students to color.

In the Classroom: Looks Can Be Deceiving


Anne Phillips helped 60 11th grade students at Mitchell High School craft the covers for their personal memoir projects.  Anne gave a brief lesson on the Italian artist Giuseppe Acrimboldo, best known for his unique portraits.  Acrimboldo painted individual objects that overlapped to form the various features of a human face.  From a distance, his portraits look almost ordinary, but up-close the observer notices the real composition.  Anne took a black and white digital photo of each student’s silhouette.  Student then cut the shape and outlined their silhouette on their cover.  Students were asked to “fill their head” with various meaningful objects, symbols, etc. for their own unique Acrimboldo self-portrait.



In the Classroom: The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

In Mrs. Randolph’s fourth grade Burnsville Elementary School class, substitute Britt Kaufmann encouraged 21 students to let their imaginations run wild.  Britt introduced students to a 1984 picture book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.  The book consists of a series of highly detailed images each accompanied by a title and a single line of text.  Each student chose an image as a jumping point to create their own stories.

In the Classroom: Portraiture

On the second day of a multi-day sub visit, sixty 10-12th grade high school students enjoyed using woodless pencils and large format paper with substitute True Kelly.  True instructed students in the art of portraiture; drawing each other and themselves.  They explored various methods in the depiction of the face with line, color, shape, textural surfaces, contrast, and rhythm in their work – a great follow up from the previous day of allegorical drawings.



Penland School of Crafts
NC Arts Council
Community Foundation of Western NC

Teaching Artists

Anne Phillips
Pat Benard