Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Kindergarten Mona Lisa Time!

 Mona Lisa...Mona Lisa...we adore you...
Now I know some of you out there feel that this painting is overrated and perhaps it is. But we cannot deny that it is one of the most famous and recognized images in all the world. Because of that, I feel it necessary to expose my students to her early. In fact - she plays a major role in my art classrooms. I use her as a quiet signal to let students know I need their attention. I say "MONA!" and they respond "LISA!" and stop, look, and listen for directions.

This year - thank you Pinterest - I found a sign used by Scott Russell that uses the Mona Lisa as a guide to how they show they are ready to begin class or to be a good listener - and it works! You can see Mr. Russell's sign here and my adaptation below.

In one of my Art rooms I even have a section of a wall dedicated to Mona Lisa parodies. I'm always on the lookout for new ones!

But - on to the project! At the beginning of the school year, I introduce Mona to my Kindergarten students and any new to me students. I simply tell them that it is a very famous painting and that we will talk about it later in the school year.  Usually the beginning of third quarter I concentrate on teaching portraits to many of my grade levels. As part of the portrait unit for my Kindergarten, we use the Mona Lisa to learn about proper placement of features on the face and begin to learn how to draw the basic shapes.

I'm always so impressed with how these simple drawings turn out. Many of my older students look at them and think the Kindergarten students can draw better than they can!

These drawings always bring a smile to my face - a simple quiet smile just like Mona Lisa.

Here are some of my favorites from this year - 


  1. Wow! Thanks for linking to my portfolio! Glad you found my Mona Poster a help - my kids love it and it works so well for classroom management!

    1. I love it Scott - It's genius! I need only say - "show me the Mona" now and they know what I mean. The poster is great to use to remind classes that are having issues being good listeners. Thanks for your work on it - and the rest of your portfolio is great too!

  2. I love the "show me the Mona"! I just made up two (I have two different rooms) and have starting using them with my students! So far it has worked great having them "show me the Mona" when I need them to give me their attention! Thanks for posting the idea and the link to the original site! :)

  3. Lovely!

    I nominated your blog for the liebster award! I hope you like it!

  4. I hope you don't mind, but I borrowed your idea for students to respond "Lisa" when I say "Mona". It is such a great way to get students attention. And, I don't have to try and remember what signal each teacher uses to gain attention in their classroom. I've seen all 28 of my classes twice now and they all remember what it means to show me Mona.