Review of Teaching Art

About the Book

Teaching Art in the primary grades: Sailing through 1 2 3 Grades

Book: Teaching Art

Author: Jerry E. Twitchell

Genre: Nonfiction  EDUCATION/Teaching Methods & Materials/Arts & Humanities

Release Date: February 20, 2019

As Simple as 1-2-3

Everything needed to structure and teach an effective art program for grades one to three is made simple for the home-school parent or teacher.

This step-by-step process for teaching art is perfect for home-school teachers or parents with limited art skills or time to create their own programs. This system of insight, responses to judgments, ideas, and feelings aligns with public school and state visual arts requirements.

Teaching Art in the Primary Grades is designed to foster lifelong interest in the arts, provide a gauge of what can be expected of children at various ages and grade levels, and present a baseline for measuring growth and skill.

Lesson plans with goals, objects, time frames, techniques, steps, illustrated examples, and assessment of growth are included.

Click here to get your copy.

About the Author

Jerry Twichell, author of Teaching Art

Jerry E. Twitchell, DEd, is a retired educational administrator and art and history instructor. With over thirty years of experience as a teacher and principal, Jerry has nurtured primary through secondary students to experience the excitement of art. In his work with parents, teachers, and especially children, he has sought to bring to life a love and passion for art.

More from Jerry

Ever since I was young, I have always loved art.  It was only natural for me to be teaching and sharing the love of art to young people. Over the years, a number of parents, students and fellow teachers and administrators suggested that I should write a book about teaching art, particularly to the emerging beginning artist.  This would hopefully help them gain confidence in themselves in return would flow into their reading and writing subjects. After retiring, pondering and headaches, I started putting it together and throwing around ideas to myself on what should be included and “Wala”… it is.

Blog Stops

Teaching Art blog tour Banner

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 12

Mary Hake, September 12

A Baker’s Perspective, September 13 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 14

Kathy Anderson, September 14

Vicky Sluiter, September 15

Lis Loves Reading, September 16

Creating Romance, September 17

janicesbookreviews, September 18

Texas Book-aholic, September 19

Quiet Workings, September 19

A Reader’s Brain, September 20

Older & Smarter?, September 21

Inklings and notions , September 22

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, September 23

The Artist Librarian, September 23

For Him and My Family, September 24

Beck To Basics, September 24


(Does not represent what the prize actually looks like.)

(Does not represent what the prize actually looks like.)

To celebrate his tour, Jerry is giving away Gift basket with Basic art Supplies, Stack Card and a Athabascan People of The North coloring book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Lila’s Opinions:

Disclaimer right up front: My review is a) from a unique perspective and b) slightly affected by the publishing problems.

I will try my best to focus on the positives and give grace for mistakes beyond the author's control.


But I am not happy about this book. For several reasons:

1.The most important reason being that it was hard for me to use. I received a digital copy to help while waiting for the paperback from the publisher. So I was able to print out the pages I needed. That wasn't an issue.

The issue was that I am not a teacher, and I felt lost. Okay, here is where my unique perspective comes in. I don't know how many bloggers on this Blog Tour are or have been traditional teachers, but I'm not. I'm a homeschool teacher. I never took an education class in my life. But I “teach” using ACE (Accelerated Christian Education), [here’s a review I wrote about ACE as a guest post] which uses the self-paced system. The students have everything they need in workbooks to read new information, answer questions, and quiz themselves. The only things I do as more of a supervisor are answer questions if they don't understand, administer and grade tests, and motivate them to get to work.

Though ACE is great at teaching mathematics, reading, science, and word-building (spelling and penmanship), one thing ACE lacks is extra-curricular subjects like art and music. Of course, these are subjects that have always been difficult for homeschoolers to learn. But, in my opinion, a student just can't teach themselves art or music past a very basic introduction of appreciation by reading about past artists and musicians.

This Teaching Art curriculum was obviously created for traditional art teachers in traditional schools. To me, it felt more like a list of suggested craft projects with lists of materials needed, time frame suggested, and a very vague list of techniques for each project. There was no real lesson, no word-for-word explanation for the teacher to say, like in the beginning ACE books for teaching reading, for example.

2. The book is divided into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades, with several units for each grade. My youngest son just finished 4th grade when I signed up for this, and we were doing some art for his “Summer List” to keep him busy while his older brother finished up his schoolwork.

Since he really hadn't had many art classes before, I figured this curriculum going up through 3rd grade would still work for him. The projects themselves were still appropriate. That was good. But the explanations were nonexistent.

Let me give an example. I went back to the units for 1st grade, thinking maybe more of an explanation was given for the beginning and assuming the children would build on the previous units. Nope. Even for the first official lesson on painting, Lesson 1 of Unit II for 1st grade, entitled, “Give Me a Chance: I Can Do It!” was scheduled for a recommended 3-4 40-minute class periods.

But all it gave for those 120-160 minutes was this viewpoint: “Basic skills in using art materials must be taught, and simple projects introduced that will initiate art-making skills, especially for those who did not go to kindergarten.” And these techniques:

“Part A: Skills development of painting ideas. [Note that it never has a Part B—I checked lesson after lesson and couldn't find a continuation of this.]

  1. Painting can be done on a tabletop or on the floor.

  2. Paint should be applied with a brush when starting out.

  3. The brush should be pulled or drawn across or down the surface rather than being pushed or scrubbed.

  4. Use large brushes for the large work and small brushes for the smaller work. [Note how there is no suggestion of what to paint, no example of how small is too small for a bigger brush or even what size brush is considered “large.”]

  5. The use of tempera and brushes may be easier and have fewer chances for the mixing and spilling if the paint is limited to one color.

  6. When more colors are introduced, provide a separate brush for each color to keep the colors from being cross-contaminated.

  7. Large paper makes beginning painting easier.

  8. Clean the brushes with water right away. The brushes should be stored with the bristles up. Students are responsible for taking care of their own brushes. Students' names should be placed on their brush on masking tape. That way they cannot blame anyone else if a brush was not cleaned well. [Note that this a behavior suggestion for the student. This doesn't apply if the student is the only one.]”

That's it. There were no templates included (only three very short appendices that span 4 pages and a one-page bibliography), and there were only a few examples within the lessons that would be hard to copy for traditional teachers and absolutely impossible for us homeschool moms without a photocopier or old-school projector.

3. It didn't deliver on its promises. When I finally got the paperback, I felt the entire back cover was misleading.

“Everything needed to structure and teach an effective art program for grades one to three is made simple for the home-school parent or teacher. This step-by-step process for teaching art is perfect for home-school teachers or parents with limited art skills or time to create their own programs.”

The only thing I felt in there that was correct was the very last phrase. Yes, it does give many ideas for what to focus on with age-appropriate projects. But other art books do the same, with more detailed instructions. Even ACE, which does have a series of art PACs that are not very organized for the teacher, still includes more templates and project samples and student instructions than this one did.


Now, to try to remain positive, I will share a story about my youngest son, who is more creative than my other son.

One of the projects for the 3rd graders was creating both a sketch and then a story from listening to a poem. This was really hard for my son. Though Teaching Art didn't give any suggestions about choosing a poem, because I used to write poetry, I had already collected several of my favorites.

I read a poem about a sparrow still singing cheerily throughout a winter snowstorm. After explaining some of the older words and what the poem actually meant, then I showed him a picture of a sparrow from Google Images. He then sketched it (and without prompting) colored it.

Then I asked him to come up with a very short story, just one or two paragraphs, about the sparrow in his sketch. This was where he got upset, saying he couldn't think of anything that the poem hadn't already said (and said well). Though the actual instructions from the book were still very vague, I knew enough myself to push my son to come up with something on his own, without worrying if it was “right” or “good.” I prompted him with ideas: “Why is the sparrow still here in the winter instead of flying south? Was he hurt? Did he like his nest too much?”

Finally, after the first three words, my son took off and wrote two paragraphs with no more help or prompting. Once he finally got past the blank page (a writer's worst enemy, as I well know), he was fine; the juices began flowing.

The Teaching Art experience was worth it for my son if only for that one lesson.

I will admit that part of my disappointment began with the bitter taste left in my mouth from the first impression made by the publisher's mistake, and the author shouldn't have to pay for that.

But even after I received the full paperback, even though it's a very beautiful cover, the content still wasn't in general helpful to me as a busy homeschool mom. I'm afraid I just can't recommend it to anyone.

However, I will be keeping it as a reference when I add any other craft projects to my son's schedule. I'll just have to use it as a very rough idea to then flesh out on my own.

(I received this book for free. The decision to write a review, as well as the opinions expressed in it, are all my own. I was not compensated for this review.)