3rd grade

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.

Mexican Folk Mirrors

IMG_7519Our 3rd grade artists have been busy creating these colorful Mexican Folk Art Mirrors. Students used lines, shapes, and color to create their radial symmetry designs. We learned that radial symmetry designs radiate from a center point and looked at examples from nature and human-made objects. Our reflective center designs were created on Metal tooling foil. Our Mexican Folk art mirrors mark the first art project of the school year. They will soon be coming home!  Look out for our autumn leaf batiks. They will soon fill our hallways.

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Sketchbooks in the Art Room!

Sketchbooks… to develop creativity!

Sketchbooks or journals are tools that artists use to experiment, try something new, practice, make mistakes, challenge yourself, or develop ideas.


Our handmade sketchbooks are finally together and ready for use! 3rd, 4th and 5th grade artists, created these colorful sketchbook covers on our second day of art. We are currently in the process of adding duct tape details to make our sketchbooks a truly special place for our ideas to take flight. Our 4th graders have already been busy planning their next art project in them.

We began by painting manila folders using warm or cool colors. We made our covers bright, sparkly, and rich with texture. Creating a unique place to explore our ideas, reflect, record our observations, and plan future art projects. I can’t wait to incorporate more sketchbook activities throughout the year. Inspiration for this project came from art teacher extraordinaire, Cassie Stephens.

“You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch

everything and keep your curiosity fresh.”

-John Singer Sargent

         I’ve actively been keeping a sketchbook ever since my high school art years. To this day, I carry a sketchbook around with me at all times. 9 in total, they are my most prized possession. More special then any painting I’ve ever created. These bound pages represent to me a time and a place. This weekend i will be filling the pages of my sketchbook with inspiration, when I attend the AENJ “Full STEAM Ahead” art conference.

I’m excited to see how our artists use their sketchbooks throughout the year. You just never know when inspiration will strike. I invite students to keep a sketchbook at home too. They are a wonderful place to express one selves or record our experiences and stories.

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.

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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! 


3rd Grade Art Exhibition

Our 3rd graders did a fantastic job showcasing their artistic creations at their gallery show yesterday. They presented their fish and biography works of art to parents, staff and students. I’m so proud of our 3rd grade artists! I have so loved collaborating with our 3rd grade teachers on this exciting science/ art/ writting project! An earlier post showcased a sneak peek at our recyclable creations. Now, take a look at our finished fish! fish Display 1 Fish display 2 fish display 3 Students designed a fish inspired by four adaptations, body shape, mouth, coloration, and reproduction. Students began by collected plastic recyclables to reuse in the creation of their fishes body.  Next, we used cardboard to create details like fins as well as a mouth. Thirdly, we layered plaster wrap over our fishes form to make them sturdy and ready for color. Lastly, we used different painting techniques to create our fish’s coloration.  Each fish was fashioned with features best suited to help it survive in their aquatic habitat. Arn’t they fantastic!

3rd Grade Happenings

An oldie but goodie, these clay dragons were created by our 3rd grade artists back in January! In celebration of finding my missing camera card, I thought I would share these gems! Enjoy the creativity of our terrific third grade artists!

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Currently, we are working 3 dimensionally, this time using recyclables and plaster wrap to create fanciful fish!  I have so loved collaborating with our 3rd grade teachers on this exciting science/ art project! Here is a sneak peek! We will be adding coloration later this week and into next!

3rd Grade, Almond Blossoms inspired by Van Gogh

“I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’.”  Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh accomplished this and so much more in his short life. Almond blossom

 Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, February 1890 oil on canvas, 73.3 cm x 92.4 cm

It was years ago, at the Van Gogh Up Close exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art that I first came in contact with Vincent’s beautiful, “Almond Blossom” painting. The final painting before exiting the show,  they truly saved the best for last. The story behind this painting makes it all the more special. Van Gogh created the painting for his newborn nephew Vincent Willem. His brother Theo wrote, in a letter announcing the arrival “As we told you, we’ll name him after you, and I’m making the wish that he may be as determined and as courageous as you.” Vincent Willem would later go on to found the Van Gogh Museum. The meaning behind this painting is one of hope, love, and happiness.IMG_6995

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After viewing and discussing the painting, each student created their interpretations of it. They mixed paint to create value in their color and used Van Gogh’s signature style to outline their trees shape and create visual texture in their brush strokes. We collaged on pink flowers after we learned that the ones in Van Gogh’s painting originally were pinker but have faded due to exposer to light. The almond tree, a symbol of new life and springtime, made the perfect subject matter for our artwork. I’ve loved watching these creations blossom and take form.

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IMG_7006 Students filled in their picture plane with blossoming branches that seem to float against the blue sky. Students created their blossoms in many stages, from bud, to peak blossom to falling pedals. They did so splendidly. So proud of our blossoming third grade artists!

Square 1 Art Fundraiser

Square 1, Fun! Here is a sneak peak at our Square 1 Art projects!

Our 1st grade artists have been busy, “Finding Spring” through their Square 1 art creation. Through experimentation, we learned that when you combine any 2 primary colors together you get a secondary color. We used the milk changing experiment to explore this idea and test our hypothesis.    We then explored mixing colors with paint, and using tools like forks and tooth picks to create visual texture. On our second meeting day, we read another amazing book by Carin Berger, called “Finding Spring” We used our texture papers to create our birds and flowers shapes and collaging them together to create our Spring inspired artwork.  A couple weeks back I shared with our first graders, that the author of, “A Perfect Day” and “Finding Spring,” Carin Berger, saw our snow angels, on our art blog, and commented on how, “ absolutely charming” they are and loved the work they are doing in art! I hope she sees this blog post and knows, just how much she has inspired us through her writing and illustrations. Take a look at our spring inspired work!

Our 2nd grade artists created these beautiful symmetrical butterflies using contraction paper crayons on black paper. We created colorful abstract backgrounds using liquid watercolor! You may even notice the use of salt to create texture in our painting.

Take a look at the colorful creations of our 3rd grade artists! They created these whimsical peacocks using crayons and liquid watercolor. We learned so many cool facts about peacocks and put them to great use in our creations.

Our 4th grade artists created these tree silhouettes, using warm and cool colors! Students used color to create feeling of calmness, relaxation, or excitement.

Our 5th Grade Artists turned the letters of their first, middle, or last name into things about them.  They were so creative and imaginative in their illustrations. I just love these!

Our kindergarteners will be working on their Square 1 project this coming week! I’m looking forward to meeting and working with TG’s youngest artists. All artwork will be shipped to Square 1 on March 2nd. Families will receive their child’s personalized order packets (and sticker) around March 12th. Until then, enjoy a preview of work from our 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade artists.