Search This Blog

Thursday, December 10, 2015


First Grade students studied the Maya people of Guatemala.  We learned how this group of people has retained many of their ancient customs and beliefs.  The Maya also wear special clothing called huipil.  The Huipil are made by weaving.  Weaving, embroidery and sewing help them to express themselves and their creativity.  Designs often have special meaning.  For example, families all have unique patterns which are special to their village.  Students discussed how by wearing this style of dress the Maya have a sense of belonging and show pride in their culture.  We compared it to our own experiences of feeling a sense togetherness and pride due to what we wear,when we thought of our school uniforms and field day shirts.  We also explored how many cultures around the world have their own special way of dressing. 

Finally, we set out to create our own Huipiles.  Students explored symmetry while cutting out their shirt shape.  Each child also created a watercolor painting that experimented with different kinds of lines which we cut up to include in our shirt design.  Students  collaged different papers to their art and added patterns.

Self-Portrait in Kimono

Second grade students discussed the art of the Kimono (originally the Japanese word for clothing).  Kimonos are traditional Japanese clothing that are simple straight seamed garments secured with a sash called an obi.  Students discussed the history of the kimono, the reasons for wearing a kimono today, Japanese traditions, as well as the different kinds of kimonos that are used for different occasions. 

Each student began the creation of their own kimono by considering the season it would be for.  Students chose colors they thought might best represent their chosen time of year and used markers to decorate 2 coffee filters.  Once the designs were complete we sprayed the filters with water and set them aside.   Next, students created a self-portrait.  Once complete the filters were wrapped around their portraits to create the kimono.  Origami paper was used for the collar and obi(belt).

Monday, December 7, 2015

Mondrian Inspired Sculptures

Kindergarten students studied the work of artist Piet Mondrian.  We described and discussed his use of primary colors and shapes like rectangles and squares.  Although Mondrian's work is abstract (doesn’t try to look like anything real) students were able to look at the way he used the shapes and colors in Broadway Boogie Woogie (pictured here) and discuss how it reminded them of different things.  Some students described how it looked like legos , a map or the inside of a computer!  In fact Mondrian wanted this artwork to remind us of the fast pace streets of New York City- where he would often go to listen to his favorite music- Boogie Woogie; thus the title, Broadway Boogie Woogie. 

Students worked in teams at their table to use primary colored construction paper cut into squares and rectangles to create their own Mondrian inspired sculpture!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Vocabulary Day!

I  love Vocabulary Day!  Seeing everyone getting creative is the best!!  This year I decided to go as Cool Colors-- which are colors that remind us of cool temperatures like green, blue, and purple.  I wore some shades and carried around my little fan!!

Portraits in Proportion

Fifth graders started their year with a self-portrait which they attempted completely on their own. By having the students draw without my help it helped me to assess their skill level.  After they drew themselves I had them complete another portrait.  This time prior to drawing we discussed the proportions of the face and how to draw different facial features.  The improvement in their drawings is wonderful!!

Egyptian Crowns

Third graders traveled back in time to Ancient Egypt where there were a number of different crowns worn by gods, kings, and queens.  These crowns played an important role in the way that royalty and gods were represented in art.  They were never shown without one because it represented their importance.  Students looked at various crowns from Ancient Egypt and described their shape and purpose.  Finally, students designed their own crowns by combing ideas from different examples of Egyptian crowns.


Kindergarteners read the story Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane.  In the story Kristen uses things she finds in nature to build her own fairy house in the woods.  Each day she returns to her house to see if any fairies are living inside, and to add other ideas and embelishments to her creation.  Finally, on her last day visiting the woods she is visited by the fairies who show themselves to her as a way of thanking her for her wonderful creation.  After reading and discussing the story students set out to create their own fairies using a variety of materials!

Jennie's hat

First grade students began the year by studying how artists approach self-portraits.  The class read the book The Many Faces of the Face and described how all of our faces are different, including their color, shape, and expression. 
        Students then created a collage self-portrait by using a mirror and cut pieces of paper.  The class then read another story by Ezra Keats titled Jennie’s Hat.  In the book Jennie gets a hat from her aunt that she dislikes because it is too plain.  At the end, birds come to decorate her hat with all types of flowers and found materials, and Jennie is left with the most beautiful hat she has ever seen. 
        Following the story students each created their own plain hat.  We discussed different paper sculpture techniques that they could use to decorate their hat and make it as special as Jennies.  Once the hat was complete students added it to their self-portrait.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


In the story, Ish, a little boy named Ramon loves to draw, but loses his confidence when his picture is laughed at by his older brother. Over and over he crumples his drawings and tosses them on the floor and is ready to give up on art. But, his younger sister has been secretly gathering the crumpled drawings and displays them. She teaches Ramon that art isn’t about being perfect, but about thinking more -ishly!

Kindergartners were inspired by all of Ramon’s crumpled papers in the story and made their own crumpled paper art. This is a great process art activity that really gets the kids excited about creating!