Elements of Art

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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbtKnvc_9No. 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!

Falling Leaves, 3rd Grade

This is a lesson near and dear to my heart. This is the third year I’ve taught it, and it just keeps getting better! This year, our third grade artists choose the time of day they wanted to capture their falling leaves.  Third time’s the charm! I just love the emotion and personality in each work of art!

Enjoy these beautiful falling leaves, created by our 3rd grade artists.

A batik is a traditional method of producing colored designs on textiles by applying wax and dye. Instead of using the traditional materials, we created our batiks by using crayons, oil pastels, tempera paint and white paper. We began by studying our leaves organic shapes and texture. We arranged our leaves so there was balance and harmony in our composition. The texture rubbing technique was used to create each leaves shape and veins. We used oil pastels to mix and blend colors inside the blade part of our leaves, making them look so realistic!  Our 3rd graders did a wonderful job blending colors, creating values, and making their leaves look so delicate and beautiful.

We began the batik process by first wrinkling our papers into a ball, making sure that our artwork was on the inside. Carefully, we unfolded our paper and smoothed out the creases. Next, students brought their papers to the painting station, where they covered their whole paper with blue and purple tempera paint.  Lastly, students brought their projects to the sink area, where we ran water over our paper and watched as the paint ran off our leaves. Our backgrounds (negative space) held the paint and made for a beautiful backdrop to our vivid fall leaves. Our 3rd graders captured all that is sweet and special about Fall, the slight breeze, rich color, and crisp air.

Kandinsky Paintings, 2nd Grade

When you see color, do you hear music? Wassily Kandinsky believed that color, line, and music went together like Yin to Yang.  A pioneer of the abstract art movement, Kandinsky approached color with a musician’s sensibility. We began this lesson by looking at Kandinsky’s work. We used two different painting by Kandinsky to create our very first painting of the year.

       Several Circles                                                    Yellow, Red and Blue 


Our discussions centered on color, line, shape, and emotion. To get us hearing in color we listened to classical music as we worked. We used the white side of our cardboard circles to focus on Kandinsky inspired lines. As we listened to music, we created a variety of lines. For example, spiral, mountain, curved, horizontal, vertical, and diagonal.

We then discussed how music can evoke emotion and used different colors to fill in the white spaces on our boards. We listened to different kinds of music and thought about how the sounds made us feel. We used the first color that popped into our heads to capture the sounds and emotion.


On our second meeting day, we looked at the painting, Several circles, and used our observation skills to answer questions, what do you see? What do you think? What do you wonder? On the reverse side of our cardboard, students created several circles. We used white tempera paint on our black boards to create contrast. This created a background for color to be applied. I just love turning these boards over and over again,  admiring the contrast of line, shape color, and emotion! These Second Grade painting marked the first project of the school year! They have since gone home. However, I couldn’t help but share these gems on our art blog! Aren’t they fantastic!!!!

Enjoy these abstract painting created by our second grade artists. Inspiration for this project came from Cassie Stephens blog! Thanks for the inspiration Cassie!

Chinese Zodiac, 4th Grade


Happy New Year! 

On February 19th, Chinese everywhere celebrate the New Year. The Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.  We spent time exploring how the New Year is celebrated in China and why it is celebrated in February. For our creations, students explored the wonderful world of the Chinese Zodiac. Students began by finding the animal that represented their year of birth. We then studied the folk tale that explained how the animals got their place on the Zodiac calendar.

Artwork by 4F

Students could choose their birth year’s zodiac animal (the Rooster or Monkey) or this year’s animal, the Ram, as the subject matter for their artwork. They used contour lines to create their animal’s shape and form. Patterns were then used to decorate and stylize their animal. After going over their lines with a sharpie marker, students added color through the use of metallic and glitter liquid watercolor. Final touches were added with metallic markers. We used the color red as it symbolizes good luck, fortune, and joy in the Chinese culture.

Artwork by 4We

This lesson was inspired by a Chinese Zodiac Workshop I took when I attended the AENJ “Make your Mark” conference back in October. I loved the lesson so much,  I couldn’t wait to share it with my 4th graders.

Bento Boxes, 5th Grade

Bento Display

Food Art 

Our 5th graders have been busy turning lunch into an art form, with these deliciously crafted Bento Boxes. We spent time admiring the art of Japanese cuisine through the preparation and arrangement of these lovable, yummy bento boxes.  An equal amount of time and care went into planning and  preparing our food items using materials like; construction paper, tissue paper, foam, felt, and yarn. Beauty is an essential ingredient in any traditional Japanese meal. Our 5th graders kept this in mind as they captured the color and textures of each individual food item.

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Students used their favorite foods and imagery to create a bento boxes that explored their individuality.

The Japanese believe that you eat with your eyes first!  Enjoy these works of art created by our 5th grade artists.

 Who wouldn’t enjoy receiving a lunch filled with so much color, texture, and of course love!

Hungry for more? Come back next week for additional photos.

Bento display 2

It was fun seeing what “award” each student got for their Bento Box creations! We used this token response, art critique game, to look at, and talk about each others work. Students won awards for such things as;

Art Symbol Game

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!

Color mixing Fun! Adaptive Art

Monday morning began, in Adaptive Art, with an exploration of color! We used this fun color (science) experiment to learn about primary colors.

We learned that primary colors can not be created through the mixing of any other colors. Combined, our Primary colors create our secondary colors.

Using our magic wand (Q-tip) we watched as each of our primary colors mixed to create a secondary color. (Orange, Green, and Purple)

For this exploration in color, you will need:

  • A flat tray (or plate)
  • Food coloring, we used blue, red, and yellow (our primary colors)
  • Milk (whole milk works best)
  • Liquid soap (used for washing dishes)
  • A Q-tip


1. Carefully pour your milk into your tray or plate.

2. Add about 6 drops of food coloring. We were learning about primary colors, so we mixed drops of blue and red, blue and yellow, and yellow.

3. Dip your Q-tip in soap, and place in the middle of your food coloring. The explosion of color will happen next!

4. To clean up, carefully pour your colorful milk (don’t drink) down the drain.