google-site-verification: google61ac2516f06d33bc.html
top of page

Primary Key Stage Two, K-6 Elementary & Middle school art lesson plans for students aged 7 -11

Art in the Primary school is a very mixed picture. Where the leaders of schools in the Primary Elementary stage value the contribution art can make to learning and take positive action to embed it, it quite literally transforms a school into a positive, creative environment. But in some schools the core skills of mathematics and english take precedence and creativity is often seen as a luxury that cannot be afforded. I am not a school leader and it's not my position to criticise whole school strategies, but I do think that creative learning is too valuable to ignore. These resources are the result of years of Primary Elementary practice and I hope they make life a lot easier for Art Coordinators and colleagues who are expected to be master of all things.

Primary Art, Craft & Design Progression

This guide is designed to ensure the broad attainment areas set out in the curriculum are taught effectively and relates progression to the UK National Curriculum, the NSEAD National Society for Education in Art and Design attainment areas of Making Skills Generating Ideas, Knowledge and Evaluation. In addition, it also covers knowledge as defined by Bloom’s four revised taxonomy knowledge domains: procedural, factual, conceptual and metacognition. This makes my sequencing of knowledge and skills as rigorous as possible.


The progression guide contains:

1. A full year by year comprehensive guide to essential art skills and knowledge from EYFS to Year 6 that builds step by step and sequentially so you can be sure your pupils are progressing accurately.

2. A capabilities guide which outlines lists of the kinds of things your students should know and do at key moments in the curriculum.

3. An AfL What Makes an Artist assessment system that allows your pupils to track their own progress in the classroom without cumbersome marking.

4. A comprehensive help guide to planning art activities that ensure progression is happening in your school. 


Primary K-6 Standards in art & Design

How do you know if the standard of art in your school is correct? Well, the answer is you don't! There are no UK national standards in art, no competencies or levels and so all you have to go on is the art in your school. There aren't lists of things pupils need to know in year 2 or year 3 in art like there are in core subjects.

All you need to do is to keep samples as evidence of projects you have done and compare them over time. A simple folder on your shared drive with examples of the standards of work you are doing is enough and from there you can make choices and decisions about the type of art you need to teach and how to teach it.

This slideshow will demonstrate some basic standards in art but remember, you are not competing!

Primary Art Lesson Planning

One of the most difficult things about teaching art is that the National Curriculum in the UK does not give you any help on what to teach, let alone how to teach it. Some countries have a very prescriptive curriculum with pre-written lesson plans and all the teacher has to do is to teach them! How lovely would that be?
Usually, Art Coordinators are left to plan their own art activities and these are often downloaded from art blogs, sites like this one or Pinterest. This isn't ideal because your school will have its own curriculum and often the art is expected to be dovetailed into your current projects.
The big problem with this ad-hoc approach is that it becomes very difficult to track the skills you are delivering, let alone make sure children are making the right progression for their age. 
To help get around this I designed my 'Developing Approaches to Art' guide. The idea behind it that it fully explains twelve different ways of making art; from questioning approaches to craft approaches, to design, imagination, observation, sensory and abstract etc. Armed with this knowledge you can take any topic theme you are studying and plan a unique artistic approach to it, making your projects truly diverse and varied.
Apps for iPads and Tablets in Primary

I'm not going to mention the obvious painting apps and more common stuff. Here are some others:

Scanning drawings app

Tiny Scan Pro

£3.49 By Appxy

This fabulous app creates instant scans of drawings that can then be imported into Photoshop for creating digital art. Awesome! 

classroom presentations app

Explain Everything

£3.09 by Explain Everything

Thi is a design, screencasting and interactive whoteboard tool, great for classroom presentations. Available on Android and Apple

art assessment apps


FREE By Spincoders

This fabulous free app lets you record voice over photos and draw on them at the same time. This is brilliant for assessment and evaluation

wheel spinner app

Decide Now

£0.99p by Catforce Studio iPad

How much will teachers LOVE this app! It is an awesome wheel spinner that allows you to input your own content, then randomly select options. So many teaching uses, conect to the whiteboard for real classroom excitement. On Android Spin the Wheel by Purveyingplanets

art gallery app

3D Gallery

£2.99 by Caweb iPad

Create a 3D art gallery from your own photos. Not available in Android but there is a similar one available Real Photo Gallery 3D by Mobility Arts

literacy art app

Sago Mini Doodlecast

£2.29 by Sago Sago iPad

There is such huge literacy potential in this app as well as being great fun. It allows you to record your voice whilst you draw or paint in the app. Not on Android :-(

art lesson ideas apps

Recycling Workshop

£2.99 By Sebastian Bachorzewski iPad

Not on Android :-( This super app gets children creating simple cartoon characters from images of disused food containers. Their results can easily be used as a design that they then make in reality. A lovely project!

Art Supplies

Art Budgets

I'm always asked how much should I budget for art materials? Well in Secondary High school it is usually a formula calculated from the amount of children you teach multiplied by the number of hours you teach them. Primary Elementary schools don't usually use this method, holding back budget to the minimum, then ask subject leaders to bid for extra money. Budgets vary considerably but I would say that the stock list I've mentioned above would cost about one thousand GBP and would need replenishing about half way through the school year.


If you buy sketchbooks you would pay anything from fifty pence upwards to three pounds each or more for older pupil's books. Very often, Primary Elementary Art Coordinators only have a few hundred pounds to buy everything which is woefully inadequate! Art materials are very expensive and soon get used.

Here is a list of the BASIC stock I think you should buy for your art store.

White cartridge paper: cheaper stuff at weights between 80-100gsm for general use. Buy A4 and A3 size and some large rolls if you can.

Better quality cartidge paper at 120-160gsm in A4, A3 and larger sizes if you can for 'best' work.

Rolls of cartidge paper can be bought from DIY Hardware stores in the wallpaper section and are great for art.

Poster & Acrylic paint: brilliant red, blue and yellow then yellow ochre, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, a dark red, white and black. I always buy double quantity white and half quantity black. 

Paint brushes: watercolour brushes for powder paints, inks, dyes, watercolour paint in tubes or pans (disc paints) Size 2, size 10, size 16. I buy cheap decorating paint brushes for watercolour washes as they are much cheaper.

Bristle brushes for poster, acrylic or painting on textured, 3D surfaces in size 2, 10 and 16. 


Water pots and paint palettes. These can often be saved from the recycling bin; yoghurt pots, paper plates, plastic coffee cups etc. are perfectly fine.

Sugar paper: I usually just buy buff, black, and a colour such as blue or brown. I don't buy colours because I use poster paper which is brighter.

Poster paper in packs of bright colours.

Tissue paper in packs of assorted colours.

Other decorative papers you wish to use.

Brown parcel paper in large rolls is cheap and great for painting onto.

Willow charcoal in different thicknesses, white chalk

Plasticene for modelling and for press moulding

Chalk Pastels in packs of 24. I buy short stubs not the long sticks because these always get broken, mixed up, lost and messy. 

Oil pastels or crayons in chunky sized class packs. These can be grated and melted with an iron for cool effects.

Spray fixative or you can just use cheap hairspray. Don't use this near children.

Tracing paper, acetate and acetate pens, posca pens are great for working on a multitude of surfaces, 

Black fineliners, black markers.

Black Indian Ink, dip pen barrels and nibs. I buy resealable, shallow containers for indian ink and water it down so that spillages can be easily cleaned up.

Class packs of coloured pencils.

Class packs of felt pens

PVA glue in 5 litre containers. I use disused drinking cups for glue or acrylic containers with resealable lids. Use spreaders or glue brushes but stand them in water and teach the pupils the difference between a glue brush and a paint brush.

Mounting card. I buy cheaper types in black, white, buff and grey but also mount onto poster paper.

Masking tape one inch, sticky tape.

Scissors, rulers.

Pencils: HB, 2H, 2B, 4B and 6B. Cheap rubbers and pencil sharpeners.

Glue Sticks

Other equipment you might need:

  • An overhead projector, these are great for photocopying drawings onto acetate then projecting large scale for tracing. They are also great for light and shade lessons and shadows.

  • Save the brown card boxes that stock deliveries come in, they are perfect for craft activities and making sketchbooks. Pizza boxes are great for making. If you can find a local Packaging company they usually give you their offcuts for free!

  • Aprons, I used to ask pupils to bring in an old shirt of Dad's.

  • Newspapers and magazines are always in short supply so I always ask staff to bring their old ones in.

  • I send a letter out to parents to ask them to bring in old toys, empty bottles, fabrics, glassware, crockery, cutlery, mirrors etc.

  • If you decide to do 3D making you may need: modelling clay, chicken wire, modelling wire, wire cutters, strong white card, craft knives, metal rulers and craft mats, Mod-Roc, plaster of Paris, pipe cleaners and this is before I get to making willow sculptures, clay or printmaking, textiles, crafts or digital art! 

FREE fully illustrated downloadable Art & Design lesson plans

Suitable for Key Stage One; age 4 to seven years

Birds of Paradise – make a bird of paradise using PVA glue, ink and modelling clay

Tony Craggs – Make a junk mural using found plastics

Murakami – Learn to paint and mix colours through the fabulous work of Japanese artist Murakami.


Suitable for Key Stage Two; age 7 -11

Clay Animals – make clay animals using a water balloon and air dry or DAS clay.

Dogon Mask making – Study the African Dogon tribe then make your own mask for a fun occasion. You’ll need card, tape, paints.

Funny Fish – draw from line studies of fish then create your own cool cartoon fish.

Language of Drawing – Learn how to draw in abstract styles using your own secret code.

Macro Art – take macro close-up photos on your phone then make large scale drawings from them in whatever medium you wish.

Suitable for Key Stage 3; age 11-14

Me in a Box - Turn an old box into a wonderful personal piece of sculpture

Alien Landscape – learn the principles of landscape painting by creating an alien landscape.

Dreams – Draw a portrait of a sleeping person then use your computer to create a dream image.

Dogon Mask making - Study the African Dogon tribe then make your own mask for a fun occasion. You’ll need card, tape, paints.

Language of Drawing - Learn how to draw in abstract styles using your own secret code.

Macro Art – take macro close-up photos on your phone then make large scale drawings from them in whatever medium you wish.


Suitable for Key Stage 4/5; age 14-16+

Dreams - Draw a portrait of a sleeping person then use your computer to create a dream image.

Macro Art – Take macro close-up photos on your phone then make large scale drawings from them in whatever medium you wish.

Media Art – Pop Art with a big twist. This self-directed learning project will get you thinking about the effect of the media on us through your art.

Expressive Painting – Study the great painting masters, learn their techniques then apply them to your own compositions. You’ll need paint, brushes and paper for this.

Consultancy Service

As an NSEAD registered art consultant, I offer a friendly, professional art consultancy service to schools, from early years right through to Secondary GCSE. I've worked with infant schools to improve art assessment, delivered primary school CPD on skills and progression, worked with Subject Leaders to raise attainment and done whole school, secondary art department audits including formal lesson observations and department reviews. My over-arching strategy is to support the professional development of hard working professionals with positive and constructive advice for improvement.

Email Me


Training Courses

Please follow the link to see my latest CPD teacher training courses. If you can't see any that suits your needs, why don't you arrange for a bespoke in-school service?

Art consultancy art INSET CPD
bottom of page