Art Education

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.

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!

Welcome to Room 112.

Hello, and welcome to Toll Gate Grammar School‘s Art blog! A place for all things creative and colorful! I’m so excited to begin my second year as your child’s art teacher. On our first two days together, I got to see familiar faces as well as meet new friends and even welcome our 1st graders to the art room.

Dream big

I encourage you and your child to visit this page throughout the year. For you never know whose work may be featured. On a weekly basis, you can expect to see what each grade is working on, big ideas that are being explored, artists, and art happenings. In addition to exploring student work and classroom resources, you can also find creative books, art ipad apps, and even items needed (usually recyclables).

Here are a few NEW things I’m excited to share with you this school year. I will be discussing these procedures and visuals the first few weeks of art.

Art Room one

(Can you find all the new added color to our room?)  

art room 2

art room 3

1. (First, I’m excited about our new carpet space in the front of the art room. This space will be used for introducing lessons as well as class discussions.) 

supply table 12. (Second, our supply table 1, which is full of self-assessment tools, visuals, supplies and sharpened pencils that are ready to go.) 

plants plants cactus

3.  (A creative view from below. Our cactus and succulent garden.)

a view from above

(A creative view from above the art room. Birds (cranes) eye view. I spent my summer exploring this view in my own art work. (here is a sneak peak at Ms. Beck’s art work) 

4.  Our new ART SMART board! We are being Art Smart when, we enter the art room quietly, raise our hand, listen to instruction and demonstrations, show kindness for our classmates, keep our voice levels at a 3, show teamwork during cleanup, and exit the art room quietly.

Art Smart

(Art Smart) 

5. Mona Lisa is ready for art, are you?  We are Mona Lisa ready, when we are looking at the teacher, our mouths are closed, and our body is still. So far this may be the most exciting new procedure added to the art room and this is why..  When I say Mona our students say Lisa. After the 3rd time I have said Mona, in a sometimes silly voice (our students repeating it in that silly voice) should show me they are ready for a direction.

Mona Lisa Quiet visual

(Mona Lisa is ready for art, are you?)

6. Newly crafted, supply trays!  Our distributors have the important job of handing out our supplies. These table trays will help keep our supplies organized and in one place. This way our students can stay organized, cleanup quietly, and our collectors can quickly gather each tables supplies. These were really fun to make this summer. I know they will be cared for and loved. : )
supply table trays

(Red table’s supply tray, filled with goodies for the first day of art class.) 

7. Are you ready for an art adventure?  When traveling to a different country you need 3 things. Your passport, Luggage, and a great attitude! This year in art we will be traveling to different parts of the world, using our imagination and creativity. This past summer I had to opportunity to travel to England, France, and Italy. I got to see some of the greatest works of art and architecture ever created. This was a trip of a life time and I was fortunate to go with colleagues Gay Hong Hua, Doc. O’boyle, as well as some art students at the CHS.

I had fun and saw a lot! My two days in Paris, France included seeing the famous Mona Lisa (at the Louvre), an exhibition of paintings by my favorite artist, Vincent Van Gogh ( Musee d’ Orsay), the incredible Monet, Water Lilies  ( Musee de l’ Orangerie), and the finest examples of French architecture, the Notre Dame Cathedral and Eiffel Tower. I could go on and on but I’ll save it for another day. I’m so excited to use all these things I saw and experienced in my art room and through lessons.

passport and portfolio (Artists grades 1st- 5th will create their luggage portfolios and fill in their passport with information about them) IMG_3352

(picture of me at the Duono di Milano, Italy) 

I encourage you to spend some time every week visiting our page and seeing the work of our TG Artists.  On a weekly basis, you can expect to see a lesson featured, as well as student art work, and self reflection activities.  I will use this blog to celebrate and communicate the creativity that is shared in Room 112 everyday.  I’m looking forward to another wonderful year as your art teacher.


Ms. Beck

Grade 1, Self-portraits


First Graders from 1D and 1C 

First Graders have been learning how to draw a self-portraits in Art. Each portrait is so sweet and unique. Using observational skills, we have been studying our facial features and learning were they go. First graders were surprised to learn that their eyes go in the middle of their heads. Each facial feature was created using a simple geometric shape or Letter. For example, we used an uppercase U and two lower case u’s to create our noes. Cool right and realistic!   Using mirrors we studied the color of things like our eyes and hair. We used tempera cake for the first time to add color and bring our portraits to life.


Chloe 1C

Joe Joe 1C


Lucas 1C 

Our backgrounds were created using tissue paper squares! We used glue to apply the tissue paper and allow colors to bleed together. These just make me so happy!

“I Dream A World” Day 1

Today was Day One of our, “I Dream A World” Artist-in-Residency. We kicked off our project working from the prompt, “What is your dream for the world?” In just 4 minutes students had a song and were singing it together as a grade level. So cool! The creativity of my Fourth Graders amazes me.


Our Artist, Pauline McCall and Musician, Robb McCall


Fourth Graders created songs, played bucket drums, and worked in clay. 


Our Artist, Pauline McCall, demonstrating the slab base for our self portraits in the round.





 Our 4th Graders rocking out with Mr. McCall. Let’s Do this! 

Thursday will be our second day of workshops. Think NO SNOW! 

I Dream A World

Toll Gate 4th Graders will begin their Artist-in-Residence this week! We are excited to partner with Bear Tavern 4th Graders on this special project. On Monday TG will welcome Artist-in-Residents from Raising Music, Pauline Houston-McCall and Robb McCall to answer the question “What is Your Dream for the World?” 

I dream A world hands mapsThe purpose of this residency is to give our children the voice to express their thoughts and feelings through song, music, and art. I love this quote by Pauline, “Art is another way of speaking to the world.” I felt an immediate connection upon meeting Pauline and Robb back in October.  I knew what a huge gift it would be to have them work with our TG students. A huge thank you to Joslyn Johnson, Art Teacher at Bear Tavern, for inviting us to take part in this dream project.

In Art, students will work with Pauline Houston-McCall and myself to create a personal, reflective piece of sculpture using CLAY! Our fourth graders will learn about creating a self portrait in the round using correct proportions. These will be on display at the PAC on our performance day.

In Music, students will be working with Robb McCall and Ms. Passerella to create several songs surrounding their dreams for the world. Together their dreams will be turned into songs and performed with BT students. Our performance date will be Wednesday, March 12th at the Performing Arts Center. Bring the family out for a night of song, music, and art.

Our kickoff to the Residency will begin this Monday Feb. 10th. Bring your beautiful voices, thoughtful ideas, and creativity. Be on the look out for daily pictures and blog posts on this project.

Snow Day


My love of teaching, painting, and birds came together on this snowy day. This blue bird painting will be going to the Art Auction Friday, Feb. 7th.

I thought about my Second Graders as I painted my Blue Bird and watched as Cardinals flew by my window. Second Grade is drawing a blue bird or a cardinal for our Square 1 Art Project. Their ability to take risks, explore, and imagine inspires me everyday. I can’t wait to show you our wonderful Square 1 Art creations.

Stay safe and warm! Maybe even create some art.

5th Grade Color Identity Weavings

ImageImage5th Grade color weavings are on display now! 


Students chose colors based on their identity.  Using their post-it notes, students went to work choosing color yarn in multiple textures and patterns. Image

Molly 5D

ImageChloe 5D


       Jacob 5L 

ImageAnnie 5L 


    Anand 5D

Inspiration for this project came from Here you can find resources to make your own coat hanger weaving. A special thank you to the families that donated their coat hangers to the art room. 5th graders enjoyed turning these into beautiful works of art.

Terms:  color symbolism, weaving, warp and weft, loom

Romero Britto Hearts


Romero Britto, A New Day, 2001, Acrylic on Canvas.

First grade has been working in the style of contemporary artist Romero Britto. We studied  Britto’s use of line, shape, pattern, and color. First graders began by creating a symmetrical heart in the center of their paper. Using a ruler, students drew 6 diagonal and vertical lines making sure not to go through their heart. We learned that patterns REPEAT and got to work creating our own! What creative patterns our first graders came up with.  Emphasis was created through the use of bright repeating colors.


The wonderful work of 1D


Rhys 1DSam1DBritto

Sam 1D

Color Symbolism

Our 5th Graders are learning about color symbolism! To introduce students to color as an emotion, we watched a fun animated and interactive video that explores each color and its meaning. On a Post-it students were asked to write the colors that best symbolism who they are. For example, we learned that the color red symbolizes joy and fun. Using a wire hanger and colored yarn, students will be creating a weaving that visually explores color as a symbol.

My 5th Graders just loved this website so here it is! Enjoy exploring color in a whole new way : )

Colors- COLORS IN MOTION Maria Claudia Cortes (Flash presentation)