Calendar Art with Phillip Martin
Lesson Plan


I really can't write lesson plans, vocabulary and objectives for this project. You will need to select projects for each month that fit your talents, skills, and budget. However, I will give you suggestions that you may choose to follow. All projects should be the same size and horizontal. For me, six inches by four inches works well.

January Use sky blue constuction paper to draw a winter scene. To add the snow, I use a tooth brush to splatter snow (er, white tempera paint) onto the scene. Practice splattering before actually doing this. You want the splatter on the art and not your clothing.

February l cut out a heart shape hole in Manilla folder paper. Then, working with students one on one, I have the kids fill in the hole with red thumb prints on white paper. You'll need to hold the Manilla paper in place as well as help the kids push their thumbprints down hard. Yep, you'll need an ink pad filled with a lot of red ink and be able to multitask. I also create patterns for kids to trace for an arrow point at one end and arrow feathers at the other end of the heart.

March If you collect stryofoam plates that have no logo imprints on them, then you are set for this project. Cut the foam into 6 by 4 rectangles. These will be used for print blocks. Have the students plan a shamrock design. If they want to write the word March, you have to write it backwards. I plan the design on paper first. Then, transfer it to the styrofoam. I roll green tempera paint onto the foam and then press it firmly. It helps if you can borrow printing materials from an art teacher for this.

April Graph paper is an interesting tool if your students are old enough to carefully use it. I like to create Native American patterns. You can also make some random designs where parts are colored with cool colors and other parts are colored with warm color. Whatever you do, adjacent blocks can never be the same color. They can touch at the corners but not on the sides. I prefer this done with markers instead of colored pencils, but that is a personal preference. There are less mistakes with colored pencils.

May Of course, you have to do something with May flowers. I've had the students fill the design with large daisies drawn very lightly with pencil. For color, I fill the sky with the word MAY written over and over in fine sky blue markers. In flower stems write MAY over and over with fine green markers. You get the idea.

June What's your favorite thing to do in the summer? Draw a picture of that for June.

July If you're American, I take a map of the USA and use those three letters to create the shape of the country. The upper left corner of the U is the state of Washington. The bottom of the S is Texas and the bottom right corner of the A is Florida. It's not so hard to do.

August Weaving makes for a good project for August. I use two colors. One color is the background. Fold it in half longwise. Then, cut down from the fold to about a quarter inch from the opposite edge. If someone cuts too far (and they will) use masking tape on the back to put it back together. Weave paper strips through the background piece. Alternate starting the weave on the top of the background piece and the following strip starting on the bottom of the background piece. Finally, add drops of glue to the keep the ends in place. When it is all dry, trim it on a cutting board.

September Back to school in the Fall? Draw an apple with a stem and leaf. Fill in the color with tiny pieces of paper to make a mosaic. I add drops of glue to the back of paper pieces with a pencil. Then, push the pieces into place. It's best if the pieces are evenly spaced and none overlap.

October Paint the background paper with sunset colors and set aside to dry. It works best if you "paint" the background with water to have it wet before applying color. Next create a Halloween silhouette with ghosts, haunted houses, cats, full moons, and whatever else suits your needs. Practice it on paper first and even color it on paper first with a black marker so you know exactly what will be black on the final art. Then, transfer the drawing to the watercolored paper and reach for a black marker one more time.

November Draw a cartoon of a turkey, front view. On the back, sticking out in all directions from about seven o'clock to five o'clock, make several turkey feathers. On each feather students write something they are thankful for.

December As seen in the drawing at the top of the page, I like to use Pointillism in this month. It requires a lot of patience because the peice is created one dot at a time. It really helps to have the students use a piece of paper separating their drawing hand from the art. Moisture in the hand can easily smear the art if you aren't careful.


To begin with, you'll need to create a calendar for each month of the coming year. I make mine with Microsoft Excell. But, whatever method works for you is fine. I try to have a space about six inches by four inches for the student art.

Helpful Hint: It helps to keep yourself organized. I make a folder for each student and put their twelve calendar pages in them. I also keep a checklist with each student's name on it and the twelve months. When the students complete a month's project, I cross off the box for that month. It helps keep things organized because you certainly want twelve pieces of art from each kid at the end of the project.

Another Helpful Hint: As the students finish their art work, glue stick the art to the calendar pages. You don't want to wait till all projects are completed to begin that process. It would be an overwhelming amount of work. As far as the gluing goes, I suggest you glue stick the back of the art on top of a newspaper. That way the glue stick can go all the way to the edge of the paper which will help when attaching it to the calendar sheets. Change the newspaper often. You don't want glue stick glue on the front of the art.

And Another Helpful hint: When assembling the calendar, I use poster board about 11 inches by 17 inches. Behind that I glue a background support cut out from a Manila folder that is about 10 inches by 3 inches. I glue stick that close to the top of the back of the calendar -- but not touching the edges.

On the front, if you desire, you might want to add a one inch by 8 1/2 inch rectangle that will fit above the calendar pages. I like to write, "I'm always thinking of you!" Then, I laminate the calendar back.

I punch holes in the calendar back as far as the hole puncher will punch (about 3/4 an inch). I use a shoe string, looped through the holes, to hang the calendar.

When attaching the finished calendar art, I bunch all twelve sheets together and CAREFULLY push an exacto knife through them into the calendar back. Then attach them with paper brads.

Copyright 2000, revised 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.