Category Archives: 5th

5th Grade: Thomas Cole Landscapes

Inspired by Thomas Cole’s painting The Oxbow, 5th grade has been painting landscapes. We went outside and sketched some greenery, then came back in to combine it into a single image. I asked the class to also paint themselves into the image, just as Cole had done in his painting. I was super impressed with the final products! They really paid attention to details and took an interest in the different ways you can use color in a landscape. I couldn’t be more proud of my students. 



5th Grade: Finished Prints

The most challenging project of the 5th grade year came to a close last week. 5th Grade has been working diligently on their printmaking projects for quite a while now, and the final creations really show how much time they put into it. I was really pleased with their desire to get their prints as perfect as they could be. Most of the students even asked if they could touch up the final piece or add a few extra details to make it a stronger final product… I mean, how can I say no to that? I’m super proud of them and all of their hard work!


5th Grade: Woodblock Prints

We’re several weeks in to the 5th grade printmaking project. I introduced the art of woodblock printing with a video and a discussion about the process, which was met with a mix of confusion and amazement. As with most things, it’s best just to try it, so the class jumped right in! We are using craft foam and cardboard, since they are easier to work with than actual wood slabs. The first step is to divide the image into colors and make a single block for each color. There was a lot of laughter around the room as everyone held up blocks with just a pair of eyes, or a set of ears on it. Next we print the pieces in a series onto a sheet of paper. That’s the step we’ll be going into this week, which will bring us to the final product.


5th Grade: Drawing by Observation

I’m very excited to have my fourth graders back for a brand new year in the fifth grade! They started the year off right with a quick review of the basics (colors, lines, vocabulary) and then got started on our first project. Since we will be drawing animals, we did a few practice drawings with reference pictures to get warmed up, and then everyone got to pick out their animal of choice for the project. Next week, we will be starting the real drawings and talking about how to do a value color wheel in the shape of stripes or spots.

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5th Grade: Styrofoam Sculptures

The Fifth Grade class has been working diligently on a set of sculptures inspired by the Shaw Memorial. The sculptures are made of Styrofoam, so they give just enough resistance to make for a good challenge. We started by sketching a horse out on the Styrofoam block, and then I offered the students a variety of tools for carving their art. The idea is to carve an outline to the section you want to remove with your tool and then pop the piece out with your hands. It was very loud, but also quite effective. I did my example with a spoon, so I let them try that method first. They also tried using Popsicle sticks and set of actual carving tools. Each student had their own preference, but in the long run we all reached the same conclusion: it’s a cool process but it’s a lot of work and a lot of mess. Despite the negatives, I still had a couple of students asking where to find Styrofoam blocks so they could do more at home. The finished horses were then painted in bronze paint to help set the pieces of Styrofoam that kept flaking off, and also to give it a more finished sculptural appearance.

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5th Grade: The Great Outdoors

For the past couple of weeks, Fifth Grade has been studying American art, and specifically the landscapes of Thomas Cole. He went out into nature, sketched what he saw, then returned to his studio to compose his paintings. With that in mind, we went outside to do some sketches of nature. Once we had a good selection, we brought them back inside and started combining the images into one finished image. The drawing was supposed to be a little bit surreal, since it was made up of an assortment of bits and pieces from observation and imagination. That produced very different sketches throughout the classroom. The second step to the project was including a painter in the landscape. Thomas Cole painted himself into The Oxbow to let us get a better perspective on how massive and powerful nature is in comparison to just one small man. So the students took turns sketching each other from a top-back view, as if we were peeking over their shoulders. Finally, we did a crash course on how to paint grass, leaves, and clouds with textures, shadows, and highlights, and set to work on the final product. They got finished just in time for the art show, and they looked magnificent!


5th Grade: A New Perspective

Fifth grade has begun their new projects on perspective. They’ve been studying the Renaissance, and after looking at The Last Supper, and discussing how to use Horizon Lines and Vanishing Points, I asked the class to pick out images they would like to try to draw. We have a wide variety of images in progress, including hallways, cities, and chessboards.