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Monday, October 29, 2012

Kooky Line/Shape Clowns

Kindergarten students began the year by studying a portrait by Romero Britto.  Usaing the smartboard students were able to see how Britto used basic shapes and lines to create his art. After identifying the shapes and lines that artists use, students set out to create their own clown portraits.  We began with the hair.  Students created their own crazy clown hair by drawing 5 different kinds of lines.  We then noticed how the lines created shapes on our paper and students colored the kooky shapes with oil crayons.  Once the hair was complete we moved on to our clown's shirt.  Students learned how to repeat lines and shapes to create a pattern.  Last but not least students created a face for their portraits  by choosing a large white shape, a circle nose and drawing their own shapes and lines for eyes and a mouth! 

Blue Willow Story Plates

 The Chinese began making porcelain in 25CE.  The methods for making it were kept a secret for a long time and porcelain became a major export for China and a major source of its wealth.  Today this process is no longer a secret and porcelain is made in many different places—but the use of the word “China” to describe porcelain is a tribute to how important this art form was to them.
Fifth Grade students examined blue and white china.  We focused our attention on a very popular blue and white china design—the Blue Willow pattern.  The design itself looks Chinese but students learned this was actually designed in England as an imitation of Chinese examples.  In order to sell more plates the designers wanted people to believe this was authentically Chinese so they developed a story to go along with the image in the center of the plate- which was described as a traditional Chinese legend.  After reading the story and studying how it was illustrated on the plate students set out to design their own “China
Students created patterns around the borders of their plates using lines, their initial and geometric shapes.  In the center of their plate they illustrated a story based on their own personal experiences.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Glass is one of my favorite art mediums.  I've made my own stained glass windows, kiln formed glass, and I've even blown glass!  The third, fourth and fifth grade are about to start a large group art project based on one of my favorite glass artists- Dale Chihuly.  Students can see a real Chihuly sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. (It's free to visit on wednesday nights...there's information about it on the bottom of my blog)  I hope parents will be encouraged to take their students to check it out!  Glass blowing is so fun and interesting to watch--if your family is looking for something to do you might consider visiting Diablo Glass -where you can watch a glass blowing demonstration with your family.  It's not too far from the museum so you could actually visit both places on the same day!  Here's a link to their webpage:Diablo Glass School -Family Experience

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Adire Cloth


After finishing their masks, second grade students studied another art form from Africa- textiles.  We looked at Kente, Adinkra, and Adire.  After learning about these three kinds of cloth we focused our attention on Adire- which is created with a resist dye method.  Using rubberbands as our resist we tied them around a wet wipe and dyed the cloth with markers.  Once the cloth was dry it was opened to reveal our own adire cloths!  The cloth was used as a background for their masks. 

Aztec Inspired Portraits

Third Grade students began the year by looking at the Aztecs.  The Aztecs were a group of American Indians.  They came to Mexico where they developed into a powerful tribe (from 1428-1521).  Aztec society was based on farming- and religion was very important to them as well.  As a result, they worshipped gods that represented natural forces – which would be very important in farming (Gods for sun, rain, earth…)
Students examined the artworks the Aztecs left behind – stone sculptures that represented sun, rain, earth….The class discussed how the Aztecs used symbols to describe the different gods.  For example, the rain god had mountains on his head because they believed all water flowed down from the mountains to feed the soil. 
After viewing and discussing various artworks students set out to create their own Aztec inspired portraits.  Students thought about some of the things that are important to them (school, video games, shopping…)  and developed their own symbols that could represent their idea.  The symbols were then used to create a type of headdress for the person in their portrait. 
Once the drawing was complete each student transferred their work to a piece of foam.  The foam was then covered with ink to create a print!