1st Grade

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. 


Indian corn, 1st Grade

Tara   Reegan   Lorenzo   Jack

Our first grade artists have been busy creating these beautiful indian corn paintings. I’ve loved watching these observational drawings come to life! We begin this project by looking at a photograph of Indian corn and using our observational skills to answer questions like; What do you see? What do you think? What do you wonder? Once we identified the subject matter for our next project, we read the book, “Corn” by Gail Gibbons. We looked at how corn grows, how it got its name, How many different kinds of corn there are, and how it is used in our food and the food of animals.

With the help of some real indian corn, students got to work studying the shape of the cob, the husk and the kernels. We drew these observations using sharpie markers. Once our shapes and lines were drawn, it was time for color! Students used pan watercolor sets and liquid watercolor to mix colors and paint their kernels. Students brought their indian corn to life and off the paper by creating a wood texture for the background and even adding a shadow to make their corn look 3 dimensional!  I Just love looking at these fall still lifes. They currently on display for all to see an admire!

Character Counts!

Our final three collaborative murals are now complete!  Take a look at the work of our Kindergarten, First, and Fourth Grade Artists. They used the elements of art to illustrate their grade levels character values.

IMG_7455 IMG_7459

Grade Four, Citizenship                                            Kindergarten, Caring 


Grade One, Fairness

It was so nice meeting my Monday classes yesterday, and finally getting to piece together our mystery murals. Students enjoyed working together to create one unified piece of art! I love the rainbow of color now filling the hallway outside the art room. Check out all six pillars of character! 


Moving forward, looking back

Goodbye Summer. Hello Autumn. 

 The most colorful time of the year is upon us! To celebrate, here is a look back at last year’s mosaic mural project.

        Our mosaic murals were inspired by what we see when looking out our window. Images of trees, native birds, and mammals are just a few of the images found throughout the mosaic. Each handmade tile was pieced together to create images of Fall and Spring.The quotes where chosen by last years 5th graders to fill in our blue skies. These words of wisdom and images of nature, act as symbols of growth, motivation, change, friendship, love, and success. Memory tiles frame our image and illustrate the passage of time from season to season and year to year.


IMG_7453“Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower.” -Albert Camus

Beetle Bop, 1st Grade

In celebration of the BUGZ Show, our first graders created these original beetles! Inspiration for this project came from the book, Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming. There is so much to love about Denise Fleming’s books, from her playful illustrations, to her rhyming text, and even her creative process for each handmade page. Her website is fun to explore too! Take a look.

We also learned interesting facts about beetles, like there are over 300,000 species of beetles in the world. After learning how to draw each segment of the beetle’s body (head, thorax, and abdomen) students had fun creating unique markings. We used black oil pastels to draw our lines and chalk pastel to add color. To create the same look as Fleming’s pulp panting’s, we mixed tempera cake and applied it to our black paper.

I’m hoping to learn and teach Pulp painting next school year!

Congratulations to our 1st graders on their wonderful performance in the BUGZ show this past Friday. One of the best BUGZ shows yet!

Snow Angels, 1st Grade

Inspired by the book, “A Perfect Day”,  by Author Carin Berger, our first graders got to work creating their first winter art project of the year.  “A Perfect Day,” is truly a perfect story!  When I discovered this book, I searched high and low to find a copy. Traveling to JaZams in Princeton, I managed to run into some TG friends and the rest is history. I love the pairing of words and delightful use of illustrations. A perfect day by Carin BergerOur cut paper compositions, were inspired by a special page in the story when, “all together, everyone made snow angels.”

Then, all together.. Everyone made snow angels Our First Grade snow angels, were created using different colored construction paper and patterns. We got started by drawing our snow angel shape. We used different tints of blue and white to get our snowy white color. We even mixed in some shimmer and sparkle!  Then, we used light and dark blue to create the shadows in our snow.

To make a snow angel, we learned that our arms and legs must move up and down. Hopefully, we will have some snow to practice in soon!

Since my first graders come to art with their winter gear in hand, (snow coats, gloved, scarfs, and hats) we used this as inspiration for our snowy outfits. Using the special pattern papers, we added details and accents to our snow outfits. Some students decided to create snow suits, white others created snow coats and pants.


KennedyKieranPaul  Andrew Gabe Georgie Dan  IMG_5987 Enjoy the work of 1E and 1C’s! These are currently on display, outside the art room, for all to see and admire. 1D’s snow angles are currently on display in their classroom!

Raccoon Portraits created by 1D

We began this lesson by becoming animal detectives. We followed each clue to figure out what animal we would use as the inspiration for our next art project. The only rule was, we had to keep our guess in our heads until the very last clue. When students got to share, they all guessed a raccoon. Our first graders made excellent detectives!

We created each feature of our raccoon by using geometric shapes. A circle head and eyes, an oval for our ears, and a tear drop shape for our noes and mask.  It’s so cool use geometric shapes to create realistic forms.

We have been learning about 2 different kinds of texture in art and even learned a song and hand motions to help us remember them. I got this fun song and activity from Mini Matisse. I encourage your first graders to share this song with you, it’s so cute.

“Visual texture is texture you can see, tactile texture is texture your can touch!” 

We worked in chalk pastel and oil pastel to make our raccoon look like they might feel in real life. To create visual texture, we used a variety of lines and value.

Allan Emma Lucas Maddie

Our first graders have been studying mammals and their habitats so this lesson was a great connection.

Each raccoon is so unique and special, I love the personality coming from each one!

First Grade, “Only One You” Fish

Our 1st grade Artists began the school year by reading one of my favorite books, Only One You”, by Linda Kranz. The story was a great way to start looking at and discussing two important elements of art, line and shape. The message behind this colorful and playful story is simple and powerful, “There’s only one you in this great big world. Make it a better place.” 

Using different kinds of lines and shapes, 1st graders created unique and special fish. With all of our lines and shapes drawn in with a sharpie marker, the only thing left to do was add color.  We explored color through the use of liquid watercolor.

fish tank

fish tank detail

The sequel to “Only One You,” is currently in our library. Make sure you check out, “You Be You!” I love these playful and colorful stories. Enjoy the beautiful and thoughtful creations of our first grade Artists. Our school of fish are currently on display outside the art room. They are currently the talk of the hall, with many staff members peeking their heads in the art room just to share kind words.