Teaching Art Fusion

For the past several years, I’ve been teaching Art Fusion at a local Milwaukee Public Library. Each time, we do a combination art and writing project.

I’ve brought this same technique over to my work at a school this year. I am doing a writing and art residency with K5 through 8th grade students. Here’s the thing: the students don’t like writing. So doing Art Fusion has worked out very well. They get to do art. And once in a while, I get them to write a few words on their art!

Here are some of the projects–and books!–I’ve done with the younger kids. You won’t see a lot of words here, because most of these kids are not reading and writing yet. But I’ll write another post about my work with the older kids.



By Amanda Haan, Illustrated by Marina Sagona

Kids love the picture book, I Call My Hand Gentle, about how hands can be gentle and loving or not. “What can your hand do?” we ask. “It can’t do anything without you!” the book reminds us.

After reading the book, I invited the young people to brainstorm a list of all the ways they help in their classroom, at home, and in the community. They had great ideas, including sharing and picking up!


Then they created art that reminded them of how they use their hands to be gentle and kind to other people. Here’s a sample.




You Should Meet: Yayoi Kusama

by May Nakamura, Illustrated by Alexandra Badiu



We read portions You Should Meet: Yayoi Kusama  The kids loved learning about her fascinating life. The kids were interested in how she  pursued her art relentlessly throughout her life–and still does!

After reading about Kusama, we talked about how she uses color and dots to make art. We also noticed how she decorates not just the pumpkins but the background of every painting. The two artists (below) did a good job of making sure they filled every part of the space with color and shapes!

Here’s a sample of what the children made:





Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas 

by Jeanne Walker Harvey, Illustrated by Loveis Wise


We loved reading Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas together.

After, we looked at many of Alma Thomas’s paintings online and talked about how she was inspired by flowers and trees and the sky and space! Her art gave us another opportunity to talk color theory. Yay!

My friend, artist Melissa Dorn, shared a project that involved cut paper and glue. Thanks to her guidance, it wasn’t as messy as I thought it would be. And everyone loved ripping up paper and creating their own pieces.


Here’s a sample of their work.



Sign up for updates and receive Rochelle's eBook, Prompts for Mighty Writers, to use with students!

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.