About: I am an artist living and teaching ART in NYC for over 30 years, and I am a CZT, Certified Zentangle Teacher. I love to explore all sorts of art making both in my teaching and in my own work...check out my sit…

This is my Welcome Back to School activity that I do each year with my third graders on their first two ART classes. Because the supplies are basic, this is a wonderful project that can be presented in any classroom.

Step 1: Project Description


I am a lower school art teacher and enjoy using this Auditory Skills Activity with my 3rd graders to start off the school year. It is a fun and easy-to-use activity that teaches valuable lessons about the importance of listening and following directions. I start the conversation by explain that they should think for themselves and not assume that the person next to them is listening as carefully as they are.

1. I am using clear and specific commands, for example; if I say use a thick Black Sharpie, that is exactly what I want them to use. If I say fill the attic with bats, I am not being specific, therefore, they can use any drawing tools supplied.

2. I give age-appropriate instructions

3. Instructions one at a time

4. Keep explanations simple

5. Repeat two times

6. Give time to process


I have learned that unfortunately, children can be so eager to complete their projects, they will often race past directions to get to the “meat” of the activity. With my 3rd Grade Listening skills the children focus on the importance of listening carefully, and following directions attentively to complete the task.


As I said I am an Art teacher and although this activity contains elements of drawing it also include, math, measuring (an important skill that we use later in the year in the wood shop) and, language arts.

Step 2: Supplies

Thick Black Sharpie,

Thin Black Sharpie,

Black Stamp pad,

10X10 cardboard template,


18 X24 white drawing paper.


1. Using THICK black sharpie trace a square shape, using the template in the middle of the paper. Be sure to leave room on the bottom, top and sides.

2. THICK sharpie, draw a cross + inside the square touching all the sides. not an X

3. Imagine this shape is a house and the areas of the + are the rooms. Draw a roof using the THICK sharpie

4. Now we are going outside the house, on the left side of the house draw a big tree with a lot of limbs and branches, (no leaves) using the THICK sharpie.

5. On the bottom section use the ruler to draw a horizon line. measure and mark 5” across the bottom edge of the paper, use the THICK black sharpie to draw a line across the entire length of the paper. Do not draw the line through the trunk of the tree or the house.

6. Use the THIN sharpie to write your name in the bottom right corner of the paper.

7. Switch the marker to your other hand and write your name again in the bottom left hand corner of the paper.

8. Now we are going back inside the house. In one of the rooms, using a THIN sharpie, write as many words as you can think of that begin with the first letter of your first name. Try to fill the room.

9. Going back outside, draw a hill on the right side of the house, using the THICK sharpie.

10. Count the letters in your first and last name…make that number of thumb prints in the area inside the hill.

Go wash your hands.

Day 2

1. In another room inside the house, draw a dot in each corner of the square, using the THIN sharpie

2. Now connect the dots to create a border or frame, THIN sharpie

3. With the THIN sharpie draw a small family portrait.

4. Count the letters in your first name, apply that number to the corresponding letter in the alphabet, use the THIck sharpie to draw an animal whose name begins with that letter. Try to fill the room.

5. Going outside, use the THIN sharpie to add legs, wings, eyes, antenna, etc. to each thumbprint to create bugs under the ground.

6. Use the THICK sharpie to draw the hilltop covered with flowers.

7. Moving over to the tree, write the names of people you know on each branch, cover all the branches, add more if necessary. Use the THIN sharpie.

8. Fill the attic with bats.

9. Count the letters in you last name, now apply that number to the corresponding letter in the alphabet, and draw something in that last empty room.

Step 4:

Step 5: Finished Images

Although the students all listened to and followed the directions listed above each piece is unique and personal.

I also have a different Listening Skills that is age appropriate for my 2nd Graders. If interested please send me a message.

Teacher Contest

Participated in the
Teacher Contest