5th Grade: Print Production

After several weeks of building the pieces for our Printmaking Blocks, the 5th Grade class can finally put them to use. About half of the class was ready to start printing, so they gave it their best shot and viola! We had prints! They looked fantastic! It took some coaxing to get the class to understand that part of the appeal of the process was in the little quirks from each print. They aren’t going to be perfect, but they’re going to be great. I think the class really enjoys the actual printing part, and the fact that they can reuse their blocks whenever they feel the urge to print.

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4th Grade: Case Closed

4th Grade has been working for weeks to create bamboo paintings and clay name seals. Finally, their hard work has paid off. The bamboo paintings were completed, and with a final stamp of the name seal, the case was closed.

For the couple of days before winter break, we did a small project about poetry and how it tied into the art of China. I had each student write a poem about winter in the same style that Chinese artists would have used. Their options were 4 lines with 5 syllables each or 4 lines with 7 syllables each. With the poems done, they then painted a picture to match the poem.

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2nd/3rd Grade: Thinking Outside the Box

2nd and 3rd Grade’s latest project is an animal abstraction, where they draw one half of an animal’s face realistically and the other half in semi-abstraction. The realistic part was easy. They all picked an animal and followed the image. It’s the semi-abstraction that caught them off guard. It was surprisingly difficult to let go of the visual standard that they started with the realistic half of their animals. But once they understood that it was okay for the eye to be a little crooked and the colors to be picked on a whim, they really opened up to the idea. There was a lot of laughter as silly patterns and vibrant colors showed up on their papers. The last step is to add a totally abstract background from magazine clippings, which we’ll be starting when everyone returns from Break.

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Kindergarten: As Different as a Snowflake

The Kindergarten class finally got to paint their pinch and coil pots, resulting in a rainbow of colorful little bowls. Each one came out differently, making a perfect lead for our winter mini-project. The class worked as a group to create a snowy sky. Two teams painted poster board while the other two teams made snowflakes out of paper. Halfway through class, we switched tasks, so that everyone got a hand in each activity. It took a while for the paint to dry. During the down time between tasks, I taught the class to draw a snowman, complete with hat and scarf. By the time that was finished, the boards were dry and we we all gathered around and glued our snowflakes to the newly painted sky.

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1st Grade: A New Perspective

After the completion of our rough texture drawings, we had a brief interlude to go over how to make something shiny. I used an eye as an example, since people are a popular subject for our little artists. Our mini-art lesson was a bit complex in comparison to previous ones. I encouraged everyone to look at each other’s eyes and see that there were a variety of values inside. Shadows make the eye look round, and light spots make it look shiny. They did very well! We’ll be using that skill in later projects, so it was a good crash course.

Not wanting to get too deep into our next topic before the break, we used the last week before Christmas to do snowman drawings. I had the class draw a normal snowman and then a snowman being viewed from the top. It was a nice exercise in perspective, and how shapes change depending on the point of view, and it also offered good coloring practice as they tried to fill in the blue of their paper with a white colored pencil.

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PreK: Super Elves!

The PreK class recently made a snowy landscape out of paint and paper. We all worked hard on blending blue and white to make a large variety of values for the sky. Then we drew footprints and trees to cut and glue onto the paintings. Finally, we added snow to the whole picture with white paint and a Q-tip.

After the landscapes were done, we made elves to go with our polar bears from a few weeks ago. Everyone drew and colored their own elf, and then gave it a name. Interestingly, almost all of our elves were named after superheroes. We had Flash, Batman, Spidey, Spiderman, Batman (again), Jasmine (from Aladdin), Make-a-Elf, and Santa’s Helper.

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Preppers: Towering Trees

The Prepper class has been doing a lot of mixed media art lately. The most recent addition to our collection is a snowy tree made out of paper, paint, and drawings. We cut out the shapes to make the tree (a rectangle and at least three triangles) and glued those to a paper. Then we used white paint to make snow and markers to make ornaments.

After the snow trees were finished, we also built snowmen, and everyone got to practice their scissor skills with the tricky circles.

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