Together for TG, Art Auction

This past Friday was our annual “Together for TG” Art Auction!  Above are images of each grade levels creations from Kindergarten to 5th Grade. Each Toll Gate class worked collaboratively, with the knowledge that they were creating something special to contribute to our school fundraiser. These projects were created during art with the help of the following parent volunteers. A special thank you to Jennifer Mahan, Besty Gicquel, Cecile Boukhelifa, Wendy Deschapelles, Brogan Sanderson Bowden, and Ashley Ryan, and Kit Greener (a past TG parent)  who helped guide our TG artists on this special creative journey. In addition to working collaboratively, students also worked independently to create works of art that celebrated and further explored that specific artist, art movement, and or medium. I just love that each student will be taking home a small piece of these special projects.

A huge thank you to Ashley Ryan and Betsy Gicquel, whose support, enthusiasm,  and love for art helped make these past few months so special. Their planning and preparation, which started back in September, helped turn a vision for a “Together for TG” night into reality.

I’d also like to thank Mrs. O’Leary for photographing our creations! We wouldn’t have the beautifully documented images seen above if not for her expertise!

On a personal note, I’d like to thank my father, Lou Beck, whose expertise in masoniary helped guide all our mosaic creations.

hope the families that have adopted these special works of art love them as much as the students that created them! Enjoy a look back at these wonderful works of art. 


Flowers, 2nd Grade

Happy Spring! 

Enjoy this Spring inspired project created by our 2nd Grade Artists!  Students were introduced to the work of Andy Warhol, through the use of an Emaze presentation.  Students learned the history of Andy Warhol and how he became the Prince of POP! After introducing students to the artist students used art criticism to answer questions, “What do you see? What do you think? What do you wonder? when looking at his,“Flower” print.


Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1964. 

We also watched a neat video on Pop Art that my second graders just loved!

We got started by creating our grassy background. Students used repetition in lines to imitate the grass seen in Andy Warhol’s Flowers. Our second graders used a variety of lines (tall, thin, thick, wavy, straight) to create their grassy  texture. They also played with different  values of green and blue oil pastels to create depth, highlights, and shadows.  Next, we used our mop brush to paint green and black liquid watercolor over our entire paper. We learned that this is called a resist or as I like to call magic

On day two, we used simple shapes to draw flowers. Students drew their flowers on a small 4”x 4” piece of paper. These were then transferred to a Styrofoam board.  I have to give a big shout out to Cassie Stephens for her awesome printmaking techniques and videos! We traced over their lines two times to create an imprint in the foam. We used two different color pens to keep track of where we have been and to make our lines were deep enough. Next, we cut out our flower shape and prepared to print!  Next class students will be using the printmaking process to print their flower 2 to 4 times. Students use their knowledge of warm and cool colors and friendly colors. Students enjoyed taking turns at the printmaking station and pulling multiple prints (copies) of their flowers just like Andy Warhol did! I just love this lesson and couldn’t wait to blog about it. Inspiration for this lesson came from Deep Space Sparkle! 

FullSizeRender-42B’s Flowers are currently on display outside the cafeteria, just in time for spring! I couldn’t wait to get these artworks back from Square 1 art so that I could put them out on display for all to see and enjoy.

Square 1 Art

Dear Families,

By now, you should have received your child’s personalized order form and stickers. I hope you are as excited about your child’s artwork as much as they are!

All orders are due Monday, March 28th.  Act now to receive *free shipping, which is only available during the fundraiser sale.

Three Easy Ways to Order: 

  1. Online:
  2. Phone: 888-332-3294
  3. Paper Order Form on the back of your child’s custom catalog

Remember, your child’s access code is located on their catalog.

*All orders ship to the school.

Together, we can help support the school, build your child’s self-esteem and create lasting keepsakes from your child’s artistic achievements.

Tints and Shades, 2nd Grade

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!  Especially ice cream cones made 6 scoops high with tints and shades and a cherry on top!


This deliciously fun art project was created by our SWEET Second Graders! This lesson was inspired by one I found on Pinterest!  Here is the link! Our Second graders loved this lesson from start to finish.

We got started this lesson by created value using one color! After choosing an ice cream flavor, students got started mixing white (tints) and black (shades) to their color (hue) to create a value scale. Here is a look at our second graders creating their color value scales.

FullSizeRender-22C reviewing value on day 2 

On our second meeting day, we cut out our cone and ice cream scopes. We arranged our scopes from light (top) to dark (bottom) and collaged them onto our white background paper. We made them overlap and some even made their ice cream look melty or wiggly. Once our 6 scopes were glued down, students could add decorative toppings! Hole punches and scrap paper were used to create colorful or chocolate sprinkles. Don’t forget the cherry on top!

Enjoy our Tints and Shades with a Cherry on Top!

We all wanted to make a trip to Uncle Ed’s Creamery  for some homemade ice cream after this lesson!

4th Grade, Roman Mosaics

Take a look at these beautiful Roman inspired mosaics made by our 4th grade artists. A mosaic is the art of creating  images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. We looked at how the Romans and other ancient people made these elaborate mosaics. We observed how they might have been used to make a counter top or a wall or even the whole floor of a room. Roman mosaics were practical because they were easy to wash and helped to keep the house cool. They were also beautiful. The Romans loved to combine a practical purpose with wonderful art. Our 4th graders worked individually to create beautiful mosaic birds or flowers. They also worked collaboratively for a number of weeks this winter to piece together images of olive trees and irises inspired by Vincent Van Gogh.  A special thanks to Mrs. Mahan and Mrs. Ryan for assisting  our 4th graders on this special artist journey. These mosaic masterpieces will be on display in the gym from 3:30-4:00 next Tuesday, March 15th for a “Together for Toll Gate” preview. They will be going to the art auction Friday, March 18th. I just love love these mosaics and will miss seeing them in the art room everyday.

These chosen mosaics were inspired by the following Vincent Van Gogh paintings; Orchard with Blossoming Trees, 1888, Olive Orchard mid-June 1889, and Irises, 1889

Clay Loom Weavings, 5th grade

Check out these stunning clay loom weavings! I was out on Friday but left one of my 5th grade classes to finish their weavings. I just loved coming back to these colorful creations.     It’s been fun watching each stage of this lesson from start to finish. The inspiration for this lesson came from my colleague, Kathleen Belton, Art Teacher at SB. I saw these beautiful clay looms in her art room and knew I needed to share this lesson with my 5th graders. I’m so glad that I did! Thanks again, Kathleen!

I love this lesson because it intertwines clay and weaving. Two mediums I love teaching for their tactile qualities. We began this lesson by creating our clay looms. Students rolled a slab, no larger than 7″ x 9″. Next, students created imprints in the clay, with texture tools. Using our needle tool, students cut their clay looms shape. It was neat seeing such a variety of loom shapes both organic and geometric. Lastly, we used a 4″ x 5″ template to trace and cut a center hole. With our center slab removed, we used our stylus to create a few holes in the clay near the top (for our hanger) and near the edge of our clay. With two visits to the kiln, once to fire our greenware clay, two for glazing, our decorative looms were ready to string (warp) and weave on . We were introduced to the weaving process, through the use of an AWESOME youtube video. Here it is Students always want to know, “where  the hands are!” It’s true our hands are our best tool when creating a weaving and interlacing our materials. I was really impressed with how quickly our 5th graders prepared their looms for weaving. Our 5th graders had a lot of fun with this lesson. It was neat seeing students interlace weaving techniques, create patterns, play with yarn textures and color, and even try to create landscapes out of their weaving.

Take a look at 5D and 5L wonderful weavings! I could seriously look at these all day! Hangers are the only thing left to add!

We used three weaving techniques, Over Under, Rya, and the Closed Slot Weave.  Ask your 5th grader what they learned and enjoyed about this lesson! They know many new weaving terms!

Monet Water lilies, 2nd Grade

Our second graders created these stunning water lilies inspired by Claude Monet. We added an element of dimension to this lesson with the addition of tissue paper lily blossoms. I just love how these came out! In addition to their individual paintings, students worked collaboratively on their classes’ art auction paintings. A big thank you to our parent volunteers, Mrs. Sanderson Bowden, Mrs. Deschapelles, Mrs. Gicquel for working with our second grade artists on this special project. 2B and 2C’s waterlilies will be going to the, Together for TG, Art Auction on March 18th. Here is a sneak peak at our artists at work!


Students loved adding quick directional brush strokes and watching colors mix together on the canvas.

We focused our learning, on the last 20 years of Monet’s life, where he concentrated his efforts almost exclusively on the picturesque water lily pond that he created on his property in Giverny. We learned that Monet painting En plein air (outdoors) and observed how light and time of day inspired his subjects. This encouraged our second graders, to create their own water lily painting inspired by a time of day. They used color, value, movement, and texture to capture Monet signature style. They did so brilliantly.   Enjoy!

Paul Klee inspired fish, 3rd Grade

Paul kleeHere’s a look back at a 3rd grade project finished a couple weeks back. We began by looking at Paul Klee’s painting, “Goldfish”. This was a great lesson because it allowed us to review a lot of art elements and concepts. We begin day one by creating our center fish. Students use lines and shapes to make a realistic or fantasy fish in the center of their paper. We observed how Paul Klee used vivid, and bright colors to make his fish stand out from the background. We reviewed warm and cool colors and used them to create our fish and habitat. We also reviewed lines, patterns and shapes and used them to create visual texture in our fish.

On day two we focused on the smaller fish and plant life around the edges of the paper, creating a decorative border. We learned that Klee’s, “Goldfish” was painted using two kinds of paints: watercolor and oil paints. The watercolor allowed for thinner more translucent effects. The oil paints for thicker, more vivid colors. Instead of oil paints we used oil pastels to acquire the same painterly qualities. This allowed us to create a watercolor resist! Enjoy these fishy creations made by our 3rd grade artists.


Part of being a great artist is being able to observe and talk about art. We’ve gotten started many new units of study this year, by answering the following three questions; What do you see? What do you think? What do you wonder? 

This visual thinking routine has encouraged our artists to make thoughtful observations and interpretations when looking at art. I’ve also loved listening to our students develop their own ideas and questions about the art they are studying. It’s been a great lead into a new unit of study. In this case, it was Paul Klee’s, “Goldfish”. This was a great painting to study since there is so much mystery to it.


Birch Trees, 4th Grade


This 4th grade art lesson began with an Emaze presentation!! This amazing visual experience gave us a up close and personal look at Gustav’s Klimt’s, Birch Trees series! We really felt like we were walking around an art gallery looking at the work of this famous artist! We used our observational skills to answer the following questions, what do you see? What you think? What do you wonder?

Gustav Klimt

After answering questions, we discussed how artists create a sense of space in landscapes. We observed that things closest to us were darker, more detailed, and larger in size. The opposite was true about things further away. They appeared lighter and smaller in size.

Day 1 got started with a demo using different sized masking tape to block off our birch trees and create our realistic background. In order to make sure our tape wasn’t too sticky, we used lint from our clothing, to take some of the stick off. We also created and illusion of depth by making our trees thicker in the foreground and thinner in the middle and background. Next, we created a horizontal line that separating our sky from our ground. We used warm and cool   watercolors to bring our landscape to life. We practiced different watercolor techniques like wet-into-wet, dry brush, and lifting.  If there was time, students could remove their tape from their birch trees shape.

On Day 2, we focused on creating the textures observed in the fallen leaves and birch tree. We learned how to reuse old credit cards as stamps, dipping them in black tempera paint and scrapping them on our birch trees shape.  This created the black and gray horizontal marking found on real birch trees. Lastly, we used our paint brushes to create quick dashes of autumn colors for our fallen leaves.  This texture was similar to the the one found in Gustav’s Klimt’s, Birch Forest I.  I’ve been wanting to do a birch tree art lesson for years and this one did not disappoint! It was so much fun from start to finish. These autumn landscapes are just fantastic!

Our autumn birch trees are currently outside the art room! They have gotten a lot of attention from parents, staff, and students  walking by!