4th Grade

Keith Haring inspired Figures, 4th grade

These Keith Haring action poses were created by our fantastic fourth grade artists. We began the year by using Keith Haring’s iconic style and images to review our art room rules, create a collaborative mural, and make 4 dynamic action poses.

IMG_7556We did some practice drawings in our sketchbooks to get us familiar with Keith Haring’s distinct style. These colorful and dynamic works of art are currently on display outside the art room.

We learned how to draw a Keith Haring figure by first creating a stick figure and then giving it body! After drawing an outline around the stick figure, we erased our original “skeleton” lines. We practiced drawing light and filling our space with an exciting action pose. Later, students mixed and applied tempera paint to create flat areas of color similar to that of Haring’s work. Do you notice the use of complementary colors? Students used contrasting colors in two of their four action compositions. 4M created one action composition due to time. We completed this project by using our sharpie markers to outline our dynamic figures and create expression lines. Students used bold lines and vivid colors to bring their Keith Haring inspired figures to life. I have a new found love for Keith Haring’s art.


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.

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! 


4th Grade, Recycled Robot Sculptures

Fourth Grade students just finished creating these unique/one of a kind, recycled robots!  We began by learning about robots, what they are, how they function, and what they are made from. Students designed their robot “prototype” with a specific function in mind. They turned their working drafts into 3D sculptures. Our 4th Grade artists were encouraged to use as many recyclable materials as possible in their creations. They were also challenged to create a sculpture that did not exceed 8’x 8″ 8″.  Students have been cutting, layering, bending, twisting, and attaching their recyclable pieces for the past few weeks. Take a look at their finished sculptures! Fourth grade really loved working on this PBL lesson!

On our last meeting day, students participated in a post-it note critique. Students enjoyed sharing their creations with their classmates.

4th Grade, Cake Slices

Grade Four turns cake into an art form!


4th Grade takes the cake.. for their recent creations! For the past two art projects we have centered on cake as our subject matter.  And what’s not to love about cake, from the taste, to the nostalgia, even the role of cakes on TV shows. Baking cakes has truly become an art form.

         Before we created our cakes in the round, we worked two dimensionally, using oil pastels to blend and create value in our compositions. We looked at the work of artist Wayne Thiebaud and tried to mirror his style and realistic renderings of everyday objects.

Clay 1 Clay 2 Clay 3 Clay 4 Clay 5 Clay 6

We used our cake creations as inspiration, however this time we focused on just a slice, and creating it three dimensionally. The icing on the cake was getting to work with CLAY!  Students combined and expanded upon prior clay skills like slab building, coiling, and joining clay using the score and slip method. Next came the decorations! Some students found inspiration from shows like Ace of Cakes, choosing a theme or characters, while others created cakes for special occasions like birthdays or even weddings.

Cake slices that look so real… you just want to take a bite out of them!

Wayne Thiebaud “Cakes”, 4th Grade

Our 4th graders just finished creating these colorful cakes in the style of artist Wayne Thiebaud. Wayne Thiebaud is famous for creating delicious looking paintings! At 94 years old, Wayne is still living and creating in Southern California. His subject matter is inspired by his memory of food served at birthday parties, family picnics, and holidays at home as a child. Wayne Thiebaud is one of my favorite artists to share in the classroom because of his playfulness with subject matter and color. His landscapes paintings are some of my favorites.

Wayne Thiebaud

We began this project by first drawing our cake’s shape using contour lines. First we learned how to draw our cake’s cylinder shape. Students could choose to draw a tiered cake or a cake with a slice removed. We had fun choosing colors and applying oil pastel to create a frosting like texture. Students used oil pastels to mix and blend colors and create 3 dimensions. We used dark and light shading techniques to create value in our cakes. We created contrast in our design by placing our cake on a decorative; aluminum plate and using a background color to make out dessert stand out. Some student’s added designs to their background to create a fun wallpaper design. If only these were real cakes! This project made us so hungry, second period of the day. Good thing our 4th graders have lunch after art!

Art.. Do not Eat!

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.

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.

4th Grade, One-Point Perspective

Our 4th Graders have been busy exploring One-Point Perspective in cityscapes. Taking on a different perspective, students imaged they were high above a city looking down on rooftops, windows, people, and a planet. Aren’t they out of this world awesome!!


one point 1

 4 Wh

            We began by creating our rooftops, using basic geometric shapes. On the bottom of our paper we drew our vanishing point, which we learned is the place where everything disappears. Diagonal lines were then used to connect the shapes to our vanishing point. We learned two important rules when drawing our lines. One, never draw through one of your shapes and two, If you bump into another shape on your way to the VP, STOP and don’t pick up the line on the other side. Students did a fantastic job creating 3 dimension in their designs. Once complete, students were asked to design rooftops based on their interests. The only rule.. Be CREATIVE! Naturally a creative and imaginative bunch, this wasn’t hard.

Our backgrounds were done separately with complementary colors in mind. We also had fun using bellows for the first time to create a splattered effect with our new neon liquid watercolors. Other watercolor techniques were used to create texture in our design. I loved seeing our 4th Grader’s creativity come to life in these fun, very personal works of art.

Ndebele House Paintings, 4th Grade

housepainting4th Graders have been learning about the Ndebele house paintings of South Africa. The Ndebele women carry on this traditional art form, covering their village (homes, gates, and doors) with bright colors, symmetrical patterns, and geometric shapes. Students enjoyed learning about the tools used to create these detailed, flat designs. What were once painted using only the women’s fingers, are now done using brushes made of bundled twigs with feathers. We also learned that these paintings were used as a form of communication or “secrete code” known only to the Ndebele people. Years of grief and hardship were brought onto the Ndebele people, after the loss of a war with a neighboring tribe. From sadness and grief emerged a new expressive art form. It’s true that art truly heals the soul. IMG_2706

maxhousepaintingWe began our house painting design by first drawings an X on our paper. Using geometric shapes, students got to work creating their symmetrical designs. Once their lines were drawn, students could choose Ndebele colors to fill in their shapes. We completed our “secrete code” designs by going over our lines with black tempera paint.