How to Escape Education’s Death Valley

Lucy introduced me to Ken Robinson this week (alas, not personally, but through a Youtube video). According to Wikipedia: “Sir Kenneth Robinson (born 4 March 1950) is an English author, speaker, and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education, and arts bodies. He was Director of The Arts in Schools Project… Read more »

Serious Fun Classes End Spring 2014

It’s been a wonderful year teaching ancient art to a fabulous group of students. We traveled across the globe from the Nazca civilization in South America to Egypt in Africa to the Shang and Han Dynasties in China. We also covered over 15,000 years of history from Ice Age caves to the fall of Rome…. Read more »

Mathematics as Art

“The first thing to understand,” says Paul Lockhart in A Mathematician’s Lament, “is that mathematics is an art.” He continues on to say that “Mathematics is the purest of the arts, as well as the most misunderstood.” The twenty-first-century mind has a very difficult time getting around this. Math as art? To us, math is… Read more »

A Mathematician’s Lament by Paul Lockhart

While researching math books for my son this week on, I came across a small volume by a mathematician named Paul Lockhart titled: A Mathematician’s Lament: How School Cheats us out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form. The title intrigued me and promised of good things within, so I (virtually) turned the… Read more »

Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Books?

Under normal circumstances I would emphatically say “no.” But recently I decided that I do not like the current format of my American art history curriculum. With four volumes of text, four volumes of drawing instruction and two bingo games it is both cumbersome and expensive. At the time I published it I did not… Read more »

Ancient History and Ancient Art

Two works of fiction that I highly recommend highlight eras in ancient history and highlight ancient works of art. It is a rare combination, but author Marjorie Cowley is a master at both engaging and teaching children. I use both these books in my art history classes and highly recommend them for any excursion into… Read more »

China’s Liangzhu Culture

This week in the Serious Fun class our 3rd – 8th graders studied neolithic China’s Liangzhu culture (ca. 3300-2200 BC) and the early artifacts they produced. The Liangzhu culture is noted for two very interesting pieces of art made out of jade: the cong and the bi. A Bi is a jade disc with a… Read more »

ARTK12 Publishes Draw the USA

Draw the USA, Kristin Draeger’s new book, is now available at for 19.95. The book teaches your students how to draw the United States from memory. Through simple, step-by-step instructions, students learn to draw each state as it connects to its neighbors and, with a little practice, will be able to draw the country… Read more »

Mary Cassatt by the Biographical Bard

For my fourth and final book in the American Art History Series I have once again enlisted the help of that wacky wordsmith, the biographic bard, to give us the outline of the life of Mary Cassatt. This time he has set the story to the tune of Oh! Susanna. Take it away, Bard! Born… Read more »

ARTK12 in Fast Motion

The White Cloud by George Catlin This new video is a time lapse of what a student would do after completing the drawing of a project. The drawings are simple to complete with step-by-step instructions with a good starting point for students. Kristin has found that students (particularly, young students) often get frustrated because when… Read more »

The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House At the end of my American Art History: Volume IV, we study two of Frank Lloyd Wright’s pieces of architecture, one of which is the Robie House, built in 1910 in Chicago near the University of Chicago. There are few children’s books on Wright, and really only one good one,… Read more »

The White House: Lego Architecture Series

In the third volume of my American Art series, I introduce James Hoban’s original drawing of the White House. Students learn about Hoban and the different architectural components of the White House, and complete a copy of Hoban’s drawing. Lego’s Architecture Series A fabulous accompaniment to this lesson is Lego’s White House in their Architecture… Read more »