Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Everywhere teachers are preparing to introduce the cycles of life...well some of life: butterflies, frogs, birds and plants to their beginners. Seeds are planted in rich soil and bean seeds are taped to windows so seed development is visible. Every child learns that plants need water and sun to grow. 

Butterfly chrysalises will be found on milkweed or delivered by mail and set carefully in a cage where they will be carefully observed until one sunny spring day they will fly away.

And if the class is lucky enough to be near a pond, well then frog eggs can be scooped up and moved gently to a tank with lots of pond water. Spring peepers will hatch and grow and be ready to be released back into to the pond right at the end of school... this is a wonderful time of the year in every way. Children ready to stretch their wings all summer...

This e-packet can be found at TPT at the beginnerswork store... I think I covered everything you will need to observe, draw, paint beautiful pictures and make wonderful murals...

Friday, April 4, 2014


These portraits of moms are delightful.
Beginning with observation it is a three week process. 
A labor of LOVE: tracing, drawing, tracing, erasing and finally painting with real water colors on real watercolor paper (that much work deserves the right materials).
Once, I had five children from one family in sequence so their mom has pictures of how they saw when they were 5... they are hanging in her upstairs hall.
These children have been drawing all year and now they are ready.
They really capture MOM, the object of every five's love.

for more PORTRAITS visit

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Every drawing begins with basic shapes,
for experienced artists as well as for beginners.

A circle is the easiest shape to learn and the most versatile. Begin by drawing round scribbles.This practice will help your beginner's arm become comfortable with the curve of a circular line.

Then draw many circles to practice. It takes years of practice to make perfect circle... we are not seeking perfection.

   A circle is: round, not oval, no corners and closed.



Once she can draw a circle, the addition of a few more lines will make many different drawings.
With a few basic shapes and some extra lines. 
A beginner can learn simple ways to draw many familiar things

Beginnerswork little lessons give young learners a head start with fine motor control and clear visual expression.

If a child begins with basic visual information
 her own personality and style will inform her art.

little lessons UNIT 4 drawings, letters & numbers
Each artist may be taught to draw a cat in the same way yet, 
each cat is highly individual, full of charm and personality.
Here the basic information clearly expresses CAT... the rest is ART!

These simple pictures are the key to a greater level of expression and the beginning of reading and writing. Create a picture or compose a story. If you put her drawings a linear form that is read from left to right; she is on her way to writing stories.

Now, her story has the element of time and she can discover the important concepts of beginning, middle and end. Your beginner can also share her story with others using her book as notes (much like a Powerpoint presentation) and filling her story with simple or complex oral language. 

For many more ways to use visual language with children visit

little lessons © Karen Smullen

and if your beginner learns to draw a triangle, just imagine...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Spring is here!  

Time for Bees & Butterflies & Daffodils & Daisies

Download this free coloring page from little lessons 

by Karen Smullen at TPT

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


well, if you can't stop it... DRAW! it...


See Calvin and Hobbes...
 © Universal Press Syndicate

© Universal Press Syndicate

From DRAW! by Karen Smullen

Saturday, February 15, 2014


This snowman was made by a class of Prek kids... a great cooperative project and fantastic motor planning and fine motor activity and they get to practice tracing and cutting...


We begin by tracing a circle, then cutting it out, folding in quarters and snipping V shapes on the folds. Leave a finger width  between cuts...clear tape fixes any mistake.

Every snow flake, no matter how simple gets added with transparent tape. Adults can cut their own so the kids have an example and something to aspire to. Kids will be willing to try several times if they are sure their flake won't be rejected.
When warm weather finally arrives, the snowman "melts" overnight and is replaced by a "puddle" of  light blue tissue paper at the bottom of the door...
Click here...Martha tells us how...