PreK: Stencils and Storybooks

In the PreK class, we’re studying some modern day creators: Ted Harrison and Eric Carle. Ted Harrison is known for his colorful screen prints, and Eric Carle is known as the artist for many children’s books, like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? 

For our screen printing project, we made stencils as a guide. Each student drew a landscape of mountains out of thick marker lines. I cut out the stencils by following the lines they drew, and then taped those stencils to papers for everyone to paint. Using paint rollers, we added sheets of color to the stenciled images until the whole page was covered. Then we removed the stencil and Ta-Da! With a cheer, each student got to reveal their cleanly printed images to the class.

Since Eric Carle was known for his tissue paper animals, we also made some animals with tissue paper, only we didn’t limit ourselves to one color. Instead, the goal was just to fill in the outlines with so much tissue paper that we couldn’t see the white paper anymore. Each of my friends picked an animal to fill in and got instructions on how to use little pieces for little spaces and big pieces for big spaces. Then they were set free to glue!



4th Grade: Gothic Gargoyles

After the last of the letters for the illuminated alphabet were finished, the final tapestry was put up in the hall for everyone to admire. Gothic Cathedrals were next on the list, and we took a look at the features on some of the more famous ones, like Notre Dame. The matching project took shape in the form of clay. Each student got to create their own gargoyle! Ours were simplified into big-mouth gargoyles that lacked main bodies, but they all came out looking great. As an added bonus, the class loved the activity! Many of our gargoyles got a little top heavy, so they had to dry while munching on little paint bottles (to keep the shape of the mouth), and that was equally enjoyable to look at.

This week, we got started on an Islamic tile project as we started a new section of art history. The tiles featured geometric shapes that were repeated over and over to make a pattern. We are working to replicate that effect by making a stencil to trace over and over again until we get a complete tile.


2nd/3rd Grade: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Upon completion of their symmetrical Taj Mahal drawings, 2nd and 3rd grade have started on a tile project inspired by Roman and Byzantine mosaics. While our mosaics won’t feature any gold or religious imagery, they are giving the class a good understanding of the process. Each student requested an image that they wanted to make into a mosaic, and I made a gridded template for them to follow for their chosen reference. It is time-consuming and slow, but the class is very good-natured about the work, and are eager to watch their finished products take shape.


1st Grade: Thinking Big

First Grade has been studying Ancient Egypt for the past few weeks. While looking at the great pyramids and the Sphinx, we did a landscape collage of the Egyptian desert. It was a mix of paint, torn paper, cut-out camels, and pyramids. As an added bonus, we also looked at how objects that are closer to us are larger, and ones that are farther away are smaller.

After completed our landscapes, we started the final project for Ancient Egypt: life-size Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. The class split up into groups and picked a God or Goddess from a list. Then, they traced someone from the group as a starting point for their drawings. From there, they’ve been working to draw in the details and add color, bringing their gigantic drawings to life.


Kindergarten: Two Skills are Greater than One

The Kindergarten class has been working on combining the different skills they’ve been learning about this year. First, we worked on how to use simple combinations of color and line, we can make beautiful patterns! This was done through weaving paper. I also had the group sit down in the floor and arrange their work in different ways to see how the woven patterns looked when put next to each other.

Next, we tried to turn something 2D into something 3D. We did this with coffee filters and spray starch, using them to create macchia bowls. It was also a good review on color mixing. Each student was asked to only use colors that could be mixed together to make a secondary color, which they were also allowed to use. For example, they could use red, yellow, and orange together, but not green, purple, and blue together.

Finally, this past week, we started working on how to use the elements of art to make sense of a picture that is new to us. As an introduction to the idea, we made inkblot paintings and turned them into creatures. We had birds, cats, and butterflies, among other things, made entirely out of colorful inkblots! They were very cute, and inspired a wonderful discussion afterwards, as we sat down to share our creations.



Preppers: Simple Shapes

The Prepper class has been learning to draw simple shapes for the past few weeks. We started with some stamps, just to review the names of the shapes, and to do a final exercise in color mixing. Then, we moved on to drawing. For now, we’re mostly tracing, but many of my young artists wanted to try doing them freehand. I was very proud of their hard work! Everything they’ve learned will be put to use in their next project, where they get to make a shape robot, either with stencils or freehand, depending on each student’s preference.


Pre-Preppers: Color Collage

In our exploration of color, the Pre-Prepper class read the book Mouse Paint and did an activity to accompany it. We put two primary colors into a bag, taped it closed, and then used little “mice” to mix the two paints. Just like in the book, we found that two colors could be mixed to make a third, new color. We also did a few color matching games using color-coded trays and pompons.

This week, we continued our color studies with a look at things that are red, other than paint. To help associate the color red with both paint and objects, we did a collage of red things. Between activities, though, I introduced a new section to the art class: art boxes! They are cardboard boxes where my little friends can sit, color, and play while they wait their turn to paint. This simple set-up was met with great excitement. Everyone loves a good box—especially one you can draw on!