Friday, December 24, 2010

Cubism, WES Grade 4

cubist work, outlined with white glue by Jess T. Gr. 4 WES
Fourth Graders at Wood End discussed cubism.  We looked at the work of Paul Klee.  We viewed his pieces Dream City, and Rose Garden.  We noticed that in cubism, it looked like the art was made up of cubes, spheres, cylinders, cones, and other geometric shapes. The paintings looked like someone had cut them up and glued them back together. And that’s exactly what the cubists had in mind. Just like the ancient Egyptians, cubists wanted to show the most important parts of the things they painted. Cubists broke up the space they were working with to create their art.  
As we were discussing, we compared cubist art to broken glass.  So what we did was we created a picture and broke up the space to create a cubist style piece of art work.   We drew an interior space and added a human or animal figure.  Some students chose to add a door or window in their work, others didn't. We used a "vanishing point" to draw in our lines which would break up the space.  Using a ruler, we drew the lines radiating from the VP...we drew about 8 to 10 lines.  We then outlined out work with white glue or white oil pastel ( white glue is pictured, oil pastel is not..will add a photo soon!) to mimic the cubist style.  We painted using tempera cake paints. Each broken up space was painted a different color.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Focal Point by BMS grade 4

 Fourth grade students at Birch Meadow learned about what focal point is in art.  Focal point is the main idea or what the artist wants you as the viewer to focus on in a photo, drawing, painting, or sculpture.  Two ways of showing focal point is by placement and color use.  They were asked to paint an animal of their choice. Here are the results:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

First graders inspired by Wassily Kandinsky

First grade students at both the Birch Meadow and Wood End Elementary Schools studied artist Wassily Kandinsky.  We looked at a particular piece of artwork called "Squares with Concentric Circles" ( also known as "Farbstudie Quadrate").  First graders learned a little bit about Kandinsky and talked about his use of colors in this particular piece of art work. Students also talked about what a concentric circle is. The kids were then inspired to create their own version of this famous artwork.  Students first folded their paper so that they had 8 smaller rectangles on their 9x12 inch paper.  They then used oil pastel to create concentric circles in colors of their choice

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Metal Repousse by Grade 4

Fourth grade students at Wood End studied the art of Repousse.  It is the technique of decorating the surface of metal by using tools to raise or indent it.  Repousse is the French word meaning “to push”.  You could find repousse on everyday objects such as tin ceilings, metal frames, or sculpture. 
Fourth graders also looked at letter design and fonts.  Each student designed a letter (their first initial of their first name or last name) and applied it to their piece of tooling foil. 

I used two-tone, 38 gauge tooling foil.  You can purchase it here from Blick Art Materials.  I cut the foil into 6 x 6 inch squares just using my paper cutter.  The great thing about using your paper cutter is its easy to cut the foil and it sharpens your blade at the same time. 

The kids designed their letters on 6 x 6 inch drawing paper. They then used felt as a cushion, then they placed the foil on top of the felt, taped it on the felt, then placed their design on top of their foil and taped it on top.  They used ball point pens to trace over their design.  The design was then embossed into the foil. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Grade 2 Pattern

I wanted to teach my second graders about pattern.  Previous lesson that I have done weren't working.  I came across a lesson from a blog called "Art with Mr. E".  It was about making pattern rainforests.  I thought it was a great lesson, so I adapted it to fit into my curriculum.  The Birch Meadow students started this lesson at the end of September and I have finally had a chance to post the finished results.  See the old post here.  We drew our forests, and made sure there were lots of patterns in our tree branches and trunks.  We outlined our work with black sharpie, and then colored with oil pastel.  The last step was to over paint with watercolor paint to create a resist effect.  Currently, the Wood End students are working on this project.  They have just begun the lesson.   

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Grade 5: Mayan portraits and Pointillism

Wood End fifth graders are currently working on Mayan art.  They have studied exploration of the Americas in their social studies classes, and have discussed the Maya, the Inca, and the Aztec.  I focused on the Maya for this project.  In art, we discussed what we saw when we looked at Mayan art.  We came up with a list of things that were most prominent and important in the art we saw.  We noticed that the work had human and animal features, a headdress, lots of design and detail, shapes (organic and geometric), and they were symmetrical.  Our project was to create a Mayan portrait showing the above listed features. Then we will eventually paint them.  So far we have started our drawings. 

The Fifth graders at Birch Meadow are studying pointillism.  Pointillism came out of the art movement of impressionism.  In Pointillism, the artist uses small dots or strokes of paint to make up the pictures. From far away, these dots blend together to form the picture and give the impression of different colors as they blend together. Georges Seurat was the most famous pointillist painter.  He developed the style of painting in this fashion.  The most famous work by can be seen here.  We chose either an animal, a landscape or a vehicle to draw for our subjects.  So far we are still in progress with this lesson.  I will post more photos when we are finished. 


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Grade 3-Shape and Primary Color Review

shape painting by BMS student

Third Graders at Birch Meadow and Wood End have been discussing the art element of shape. We spoke about shapes being 2-D and that there were two types of shapes, Organic and Geometric.  Geometric shapes are regular shapes like circles, triangles, rectangles, squares, etc.  Organic shapes typically are irregular in outline. Natural shapes like seashells, leaves, trees, people, etc. can also be classified as organic.  After our shape review, we discussed primary colors.  Primary colors are Red, Yellow, and Blue. They are called primary colors because they cannot be created by mixing other colors. Primary colors form the basis for color theory or color mixing, as using these three colors it's possible to mix most other colors.  We painted organic and geometric shapes using primary colors.  Students filled their pages with shapes.  After our paintings were dry, we added black and white over painting.  We used black and white paint to trace around our shapes. we also looked at the way our brush strokes moved on the page.  We traced some of our brush strokes with black or white paint.  We also added some line designs to our paintings.  When we finished, we had beautiful abstract shape paintings.  I'm planning on making this my next display of art work in school.  They look great!

completed shape painting by Desiree R. gr. 3, BMS

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Model Magic Color Wheel!

Finished color wheel
  First grade students at WES (BMS students will work on this soon!) learned about what a color wheel is today.  We determined that a color wheel is a tool to help artists mix colors.  We knew that primary colors are red, yellow and blue.  When we mix two primary colors together, we get a secondary color.  We used Crayola Model Magic, which is a soft, pliable product that dries in 24 hours.  It stays spongy and lightweight even when dry. 

1st grader mixing model magic

I made a worksheet for first graders.  I drew a circle and on the inside of the circle, I drew a triangle. I drew six dots around the circle.   Below, I made a box that had the color combinations listed (see image for reference). 
Each child received a piece of red, yellow and blue model magic.  we rolled each color into a 'worm' shape and cut them so that we had three pieces of each color.

1st grader working on color wheel

We started with our primary colors and glued a piece of each on the points of the triangle in the worksheet (see image for reference).  We then mixed our secondary colors and placed them on the appropriate spots on our color wheel (orange went between red and yellow, green went between yellow and blue, and purple went between red and blue). At the end of the lesson, we wrote down our color combinations and added some crayon drawings on our color wheel.  This is a really fun easy lesson for first graders.  Each child gets so excited to see the color change.  They all think this is a fun lesson.  It is also great for any teacher is a little weary of using paint to make a color wheel.  When using model magic, there is no mess to clean up!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Community Collages by Grade 2

By Claire F. WES (suburban)
By Danielle P. (urban)

by Lydia F. WES (rural)

 In social studies library, and art at Wood End Elementary School, second graders have been learning about different types of communities.  They studied, urban, rural, and suburban communities and discussed the differences between them.  In art we focused more on the landscape of these three areas.  Each class was assigned a different community and were asked to create their own collage of the area.  we looked at photographs of rural, suburban and urban communities and we made a brainstorm list of things we would most likely see in these places.  We then began to create a collage of our assigned area. 

Line Variety and Primary colors

By Samantha B. WES

By Benjamin M. WES

By Michael H. WES

In this lesson about line, first graders at both BMS and WES learned about line variety.  The previous lesson we focused on vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines. Students discussed different types of lines and drew them on the Smartboard (BMS) or used a pipe cleaner (WES) to create the different types of line as a group.  We then began a painting using all of the types of lines we discussed (zig-zag, curly, swirls, straight, wavy, etc.) We used black tempera paint and 10"x10" paper and painted our different kinds of line.  Once the paintings were dry, we added color.  First graders discussed primary colors.  We then added primary colors to our paintings.  Primary colors are Red, Yellow, and Blue. They are called primary colors because they cannot be created by mixing other colors. Primary colors form the basis for color theory or color mixing, as using these three colors it's possible to mix most other colors. Our paintings came out fantastic!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Grade 1 - Lesson on Line and Artist Paul Klee

first grade BMS student working
 First graders have been focusing on the art element of line for their first unit.  We began by discussing artist Paul Klee.   Paul Klee's works Castle and Sun, Red Balloon, and Head of Man were discussed in class.  We noticed that Paul Klee uses lots of line in his work.  We looked at three specific lines : vertical, horizontal and diagonal for this lesson.  We learned that vertical lines stand straight up like a soldier; horizontal lines lay down like they are taking a nap, and diagonal lines look like they are a vertical line tipping over.  This lesson helps us identify these three types of line by name.  We then found these lines present in Paul Klee's work.  We also talked about how Klee's work is Abstract Art.  We talked about what abstract art is (click on the link if you're unsure yourself). 
For our art project, we used horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines to create an abstract artwork in the style of Paul Klee.  We used 9"x9" piece of paper, glue and toothpicks for this project.  Our goal was to fill our paper with the lines we discussed.  The toothpicks represented the lines we had spoken about.  We had to let the work dry until the next class.

Finished work by Charlotte C. Gr. 1 WES

The next class, we took some white crayon and outlined our toothpicks to create a crayon resist.  The paint shouldn't stick to the crayon and should show up on finished work.  Some of us had trouble getting the crayon to show up (at WES).  At BMS, I used white oil pastel and that seemed to work better than the crayon. After we added the white, we then painted over the work using tempera cake paints.  They work similar to watercolor paint, but they are more opaque because it is tempera paint.   The results are stunning! Look for displays in the front entrance of BMS and in the lobby by the gymnasium at WES. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We Are Wood End

Our Mural will be moved!  Soon it will be displayed in the cafeteria!  Keep your eyes open for it!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Grade 4 and 5: Still life drawing

In grade 4 at WES and BMS, we talked about still life drawing.  A still life is a series of inanimate objects such as cups, bowls or fruit, placed in a way that the artist sees fit.  We looked at still life paintings by Paul Cezanne.  I referenced Cezanne because many of the children recognize his work as something they may have seen before.  When Cezanne would paint or draw a still life, he would consider the objects as basic forms like cylinders, cones and spheres.  He would use these shapes to guide him through his painting. 
Fourth graders used this knowledge and the skills picked up in the previous lesson (shapes with cast shadow) to help them through their work.  They started with basic shapes and then they added any details and shading. 

BMS 4th grader drawing

By Meghan G. Gr. 4 WES


Friday, September 24, 2010

What do I do now?

"Mrs. Erb, I'm done....What do I do now?"

Students often ask, "What do I do now?" when they are finished with a project.  I usually have lots of different activities for students to work on. 

 Puzzles/ Color Cubes/ Mosaica:  If students don't want the option of "Free Draw"( See below), then there are puzzles available.  I have a selection of small jig-saw puzzles and a few new additions to my puzzle collection.  We have Mosaica and Color Cubes which are magnetic puzzles that create designs (I purchased mine through  I also have NASCO's Mystery Masterpiece Puzzlebook. Each reproducible puzzle is presented in jumbled squares that are numbered. Depending on their skill level, students can either reproduce each square in the appropriate place on the blank puzzle grid by drawing freehand or they may cut and paste the pieces.
Free Draw/Drawing Bucket/Drawing Books

selection of drawing books

Depending on the time left in class or what the project was, students often get a chioce of free draw activities.  Students have the choice to draw thier own picture.  If they don't have any ideas of what to draw, there is the drawing bucket.  In the drawing bucket there are several ideas for students to choose from ( the drawing bucket is in the works for Birch Meadow...some of the slips got lost during the summer!).  Just reach in and pull out a random idea.  The kids go wild over it.  There are also several learn to draw books on my bookshelf.  Kids have the option of using these during projects and also during their free choice time.  I have many selections by Doug DuBosque, Ed Emberly, and Lee J. Ames (Books are available in your local bookstore, library or               

the drawing bucket!

Roylco Straws and Connectors/K'Nex:  

Roylco Straws and Connectors

Students also have the choice of using the straws and connectors and K'Nex. These channel the inner architect in your child to build and create buildings, vehicles, and shapes.  These two are the most popular free choice activities.

 Sketchbook Assignments: 
Classes that have sketchbooks ( grades 3, 4 and 5) are given sketchbook assignments.  This is important because it gives the student time to reflect upon the project we worked on.  I usually give sketchbook assignments that have a connection to the art activity we had completed.     


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Grade 4- Drawing and Shading shapes with a cast shadow

4th grader working on drawing shapes with shading and cast shadows
Fourhth graders are continuing their drawing unit. 
Last week we worked on contour line drawings.  This week we are learning how to draw three-dimensional shapes with shading and cast shadows. We used charcoal or pencil as our drawing material and our sketchbooks to practice drawing these shapes.  We drew an arrow next to each shape to show the direction of the light source.  We then drew the cast shadow directly opposite each arrow.  The cast shadows were shaded very dark.  The areas closest to the arrows were the lightest and the shape gets gradually darker away from the arrow.  We tried to shade and blend in so that no markings from our pencil or charcoal were visible.   

Monday, September 20, 2010

Contour line, Self-Portraits, and Patterns

 What do contour line, Self-Portraits, and patterns have in common? 
Its what we're working on in art this week!

Fourth grade students began a drawing lesson.  We learned about contour line.  In drawing, contour line is a line defining an edge or a form.  In other words, it is the outline of something. 

self-portrait practice by Julia F. Gr. 5

Students were given random objects to draw.  They were not allowed to use pencil for this drawing.  Instead we used black sharpie marker. The students were given 5 minutes to complete a drawing.  By the end of class we ended up with 4 or 5 drawings depending on our time used to draw. 

Gr. 1 self-portraits

Fifth graders and first graders are working on self-portraits.  Fifth graders started a practice portrait in their sketchbooks.  First graders began their portraits.  Next week, Fifth graders will start their final project for portraits, and first graders will continue thier portraits and add some color using crayon. 

Beginning stages of pattern forest by Joanna C. Gr. 2
Second graders are learning about patterns in art.  For our project we are creating a pattern forest. Today we began the forrest drawings.  Second graders used previously learned knowledge of how to draw trees for this project.  Last year ( as first graders), we did a project making birch trees using tape and paint.  We observed that branches come off trees in the shape of the letter V or Y.  We used that knowledge this year to create our forest drawings.  Patterns are placed in the trunks and branches of the trees.  So far things are turning out great! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Learning about Lines

Third graders reviewed the art element of line. 
Our project is creating a line design in a leaf pattern (lesson adapted from Kathy Barbro's Art Projects for Kids 

By: Gabby D. grade 3

By Ben R. grade 3
Third graders traced a leaf template using pencil. Students chose from oak, maple, or beech leaves.  The students and I looked at pictures of leaves and we noticed that leaves have lines on them called veins. They then added the veins in the leaf drawing.  Each vein created a space for a line design.  Third graders added different line designs.  When the students were finished, they outlined the leaf and veins in black sharpie marker.  Third graders were given a choice to contnue using black sharpie or outlining their line designs in colored marker.  The results were stunning! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sketchbooks and ice-breakers!

finished 5th grade sketchbook

4th grader putting together their sketchbook

  I've finally met all my classes for the start of the year.  Everything has gone smoothly! This is what we have been working on at Wood End and Birch Meadow.

Grades four and five have created sketchbooks.  We use our sketchbooks for planning out our projects. When students have finished a project, I usually give out a sketchbook assignment for them to work on in their book.  This way, everyone is working on something and not wondering what to do for the rest of the class.  Sometimes students will get the option to "free draw".  Their sketchbook will provide a place for them to draw in.

We used 10 pieces of paper, either 11x17 inches or 12x18 inches works.  we folded them in half to create a book shape, then glued them together.  I then placed 2 staples in the middle of the books for extra reinforcement.  Then each class added a colored binding. the binding was a 3 inch strip of paper folded in half and glued on to the edge of the book.  We added this so that it is easy to find our books in the sketchbook box. 

Grades one through three played a drawing game called "A Unique Drawing Experience".  I got this from  I love that website for small activities like this one.  It is also great for if you're looking for some kind of arts and crafts activity to do at home on a rainy day.  The rules of the game for students are to listen carefully and to draw what they hear.  The teacher reads out directions and the kids draw them. What is great about this is that every kid's drawing comes out totally different.  This teaches them that although we all do the same project in art class, our work comes out different from each other.  We all put our ideas down on paper differently than someone else does and that is OK.

Check back for more postings and pictures!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the new school year and welcome to my blog!  This year I plan to use this blog a s a way to communicate what is going on in the art classroom at both Wood End Elementary School and Birch Meadow Elementary School.  I think this will be an easier alternative to Edline.  I hope to post pictures and lessons of the work your children produce this school year! I hope to accomplish this as a weekly blog. Please keep me bookmarked in your favorites and check back often. 

About the art program at WES and BMS:

The Visual Arts program at the elementary level provides students with the foundation to begin their arts learning. At the elementary level students begin to experiment with a variety of art materials, processes, and media. Creative expression and hands-on experience is at the heart of their instruction. Students will have the opportunity to integrate art with other areas of the curriculum helping to facilitate a greater understanding of the important role that art plays in our daily lives. The art curriculum is a sequential comprehensive education that helps in developing healthy minds and spirits of students. The elementary art curriculum focuses on the Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Frameworks. It strives to enable our students to:

· Apply both imagination and rational thinking to the making of art

· Learn and use vocabulary related to methods, materials, and techniques

· Understand the value of reflection and critical judgment in creative work

· Understand how world cultures have been historically influenced and shaped by the arts