Saturday, November 2, 2013


Second graders studied artist Alexander Calder in art and their science class. In science, they learned about weight and balance. Alexander Calder was the creator of sculptural mobiles. They were perfectly weighted and balanced.  The moblies often had moving parts. Moving sculpture is called kinetic sculpture. In their classroom, 2nd graders created balanced mobiles. 

In art class, we spoke more about Calder's art work. We looked at some mobile examples and other works like his wooden push and pull toys and his wire circus. We even viewed a video of Alexander Calder performing his circus. 

Later in his career, Calder created Monumental sculptures. He called them Stabiles. In art class, we looked at the sculptures and talked about the differences between stabiles and mobiles. We concluded that stabiles are large scale and do not move and mobiles are smaller and move. 

We created our own versions of stabiles using paper strips. Here are some examples of second graders hard at work: 

Line variety and color mixing

First graders are continuing their study of the art element of line. 2 classes ago, we created paintings of different types of lines using black paint. 

We already know about vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines and created primary color line paintings using these lines in the style of artist Piet Mondrian. 

In these painting we used all types of different lines and painted them using black paint. We had also learned about primary and secondary colors and used them in our paintings. Children were instructed in painting and color mixing and using our tools properly as well. 

Here are some examples. I will post more when our paintings are finished! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lines and Primary Colors

First grade students are learning about the art element of line.  In this lesson we focused on learning the names of three straight lines; Vertical, Horizontal, and Diagonal lines. 

We said that vertical lines stand straight up like a soldier.  Horizontal lines look like they are laying down and taking a nap.  Lastly, we described a diagonal line as looking like it is about to fall over. 

For our lesson, we created three paintings.  In the first paining, we painted only horizontal and vertical lines. In the second painting, we only painted diagonal lines.  In the third painting, we painted all three lines.  We used 8x8 inch paper and I cut small cardboard squares so that the kids can stamp the lines on their paper.  That way, it would ensure the kids were making their lines straight.  Also, stamping is great motor skill practice!  When the paintings were dry, we learned about the Primary colors.  We then added the primary colors using crayons to color in our work. 

Here are some examples of the work. 




Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Color Wheel

Today first graders learned about the color wheel.  Last art class they talked about primary colors and used them in their artwork (I have not yet posted that lesson, but I will!). 

This week we reviewed primary colors and talked about what happens when we mix the primary colors.  When we mix 2 primary colors, we get a secondary color. 

We learned which colors make what by using model magic and creating our color wheel. 
We also watched a music video (below)about the three Primary Colors. 

Child Mixing color

Color Wheel Worksheet



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Middle Eastern Art Name Tiles

Here is some progress on the Middle Eastern Art name tile project.  Some of the students are getting very close to are more pictures of the project.  See the original post HERE.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Watercolor technique

4th graders at both Birch Meadow and Wood End schools are learning about how to use watercolor paint. 

I showed them all 6 techniques that we will use on a project we are in the middle of right now. When that is completed, I will post the lesson. 

I had each student divide their paper into 6 boxes. Each box was numbered and labeled with a specific technique. The sx techniques were: gradient wash, wet on wet, color mixing, picking up paint, resist, and using salt with watercolor paint. 

Here are some examples: 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Monet's Garden

1st graders at Birch Meadow and Wood End studied artist Claude Monet.  We began by viewing the video, "Linnea in Monet's Garden" based on the book by Christina Bjork (author) and Lena Anderson (illustrator).

We talked about impressionism and how Monet's paintings looked like blobs of paint close up but then when stepping back, they looked a little more realistic.  The lesson I used for this project was adapted from the following blog: Mrs. Picasso's Art Room.

Students followed along with a painting lesson as a group int he first class.  The second class, I told them they needed to add a fence, lily pads and flowers, garden flowers, and a garden path.  Some students added Monet's garden bench (as seen in the video) and Monet himself! Some changed the way they added flowers, some students made sunrises or sunsets.  All in all I think this was a successful painting lesson.  The kids really enjoyed it and retained a lot of information about the artist!   Here are some photos:

Middle Eastern Art

Grade 5 students at WES and BMS have studied Middle Eastern artwork. We took a look at the three common motifs in this type of art which are calligraphy, arabesques, and geometric shape in architecture.
We noticed when we looked at the three different motifs, all of the images connected to each other to create a design. The geometric shapes created tessellations, the calligraphy and the arabesques look like line designs. So we took this idea and we created a name design.

We started with a 12x12 piece of drawing paper and folded it to create a triangle. We folded it two more times after that so that when we opened our work we had 8 triangles on our 12 x 12 sheet.

In one of the triangles, we wrote our name using bubble letters (you can see that in the photo below). Letters should touch the top edge and bottom edge of the triangle. This will benefit us in the end because we want our letters to look like they connect to each other when we copy them. Once we have our name placed and fitted in our triangle, we used carbon paper to copy our name in the remaining triangles. When adding color, we used Mr. Sketch (unscented, of course!) markers, Crayola Bold and Tropical markers and colored starting from the enter and working our way outwards in a circle. We are treating our work as if it were a design. We are not looking at our work and coloring individual letters a different color and then coloring the background. This was a hard concept to grasp but we eventually figured it out with a lot of demonstrating and help from me! When finished, we have a design that shows radial and mirror symmetry, and that is inspired by Middle Eastern artwork and the 3 motifs we had discussed in the beginning of our lesson.  More photos to come of completed work!

Clockwise from the top center photo: Students working, example of lettering and use of carbon paper,
finished copy work, students adding color. 

Mirror and Radial Symmetry

My third grade students at both Birch Meadow and Wood End are reviewing symmetry in art.  We talked about mirror symmetry being the smae thing on both sides (only reversed), and we discussed Radial symmetry.  Radial symmetry means symmetry around a central axis...or in kid terms, symmetry that goes around in a circle. 
We discussed this in class and once we all were sure what the two meant, then we were able to start our project.  We are creating symmetrical designs on paper.  Each student's work must show both types of symmetry.  Here are some examples (I used the picstitch app on iphone to create the photo collage):

We will continue this throught the week.  When We are finished, I'll post more photos.  Be sure to check some out on Facebook as well. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Welcome Back!

Its been a long time since I've last blogged about Birch Meadow and Wood End Schools art classes!
Welcome back after a restful, yet busy summer.  This new school year I am starting with a few different things.  Through the art teacher blog SmArt Class, I have adapted the self-portrait mural project.  View the site click on this link.  Each class in grade 1 through five will do this.  I am only doing this project at Wood End.  Only because I have not yet seen any of my classes at Birch Meadow.  I like to keep the children all caught up at the same pace at each school, so by the time I see all of my students, they will all be working on the same projects. 

Second graders at Wood End have started a line design project.  I call it Vertical/Horizontal.  Below is an example done by yours truly.  Birch Meadow students will start this as well.  Grades 3, 4, and 5 will beging making sketchbooks at both schools and grade 1 will beging their studies about the basic elements of art.  That's what I have in store for us so far.  Check back often for pictures and updates! 
Mrs. Erb's Example

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Negative/Positive Space Block Letter Name Designs

Too often in art class we focus on positive space and never the negative space.  What is positive and negative space you ask?

Space and shape, two of the elements of art, work together to form a finished work of art. There are two kinds of space: positive and negative. Positive spaces are those occupied by the main subjects of the work or the actual subject itself. The Negative spaces are the areas around and behind the positive spaces. Negative space can also be referred to as the background.

Fifth graders at Wood End studied positive and negative space and created a block letter name design.  We folded our 12x18 paper so that it turned into a grid of 6 rectangles x4 rectangles.  In each of the rectangles, we formed a block letter lightly in pencil.  The letters had to touch all of the edges of the rectangle.  We then took oil pastel and drew designs in the negative space (spaces around letters) only.  This was difficult because many of the students wanted to fill in the positive space (the letter).  Once we finished with the oil pastel, we used watercolor to paint in the positive space. 

Student working on oil pastel
Student in the middle of painting

completed work by Somil S.

Completed work by Jennifer H.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Georgia O'Keeffe

Second graders at WES and BMS are learning about artist Georgia O'Keeffe.  O'Keeffe is well known for her magnified paintings of flowers, and her New Mexico desert paintings.  To see a preview of students working, click on the link below:

Grade 2 painting

Here are some phots of completed projects:

By Darren R. 

By Hayden C.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Free Draw Time

Sometimes when children finish early and there are only a few minutes left of art class, I give students the opportunity to "Free Draw".  Students can get very creative, use their imagination and draw, or sometimes it back fires and students have no idea what to do so they need a little guidance like a sketchbook assignment or some creative play.  Often times, I give those students Kinex, magnetic mosaic puzzles, or straws and connectors to build things. 

Most students have no problem just drawing.  They can come up with amazing things.  One of my second graders had some free time and was drawing and this is what she came up with: 

She told me it was a picture of the view of the sun room in her house.  She said she was also working on a drawing of the same thing at home, but this one is from memory. Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Birch Meadow Open House

Hey Birch Meadow Friends, 

Open House is just a few months away.  We are fortunate enough to have KidsArt Fairs come in and help us with this open house event.  The company comes in and frames the student work.  They provide us with banners, paper, invitations, etc. for our event.  A representative from KidsArt Fairs comes in and helps me frame all of the work and the frames are available for purchase.  It is a pretty neat event.  I'm not sure if PTO will make this a fund raising event, but if it is, a portion of the sales of the frames will go back to Birch Meadow.  Which is very nice for our school. 

Here are some of the project's being worked on so far:

Grade 5 "Zentangles"

Grade 5 "Zentangles"

Grade 3 Radial Symmetry Designs

Grade 3 Radial Symmetry Designs

Grade 3 Radial Symmetry Designs

Cut Paper Designs

Fourth Graders at Wood End (BMS WILL DO THIS SOON!) looked at color relationships and how they could use them in a cut paper design.  We discussed warm, cool, and neutral color families, analogous colors, and primary and secondary colors. 

We also discussed the different combinations they could use in their work. 
We came up with a thumbnail sketch.  A thumbnail sketch is a smaller version of the work used to help plan out the main piece of art work. 

Thumbnail sketch example by Kevin

Once we were done planning out our thumbnails, then we got down to business and created our masterpieces based on our designs.  Here are a couple of examples:

By Emma W.

By Max C.

By Kyle

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grade 5 Slab Castles

Work by (from L to R): Nakeya, Michael, Chloe, Jenn, Julia, and Katie

Fifth Graders at Wood End created slab castles.  I adapted this lesson from the book, Dynamic Art Projects for Children, by Denise M. Logan.  The book is available on Amazon. 

I had the children discuss what a slab of clay was.  We determined that it was a flat piece of clay.  We then made our slabs and cut out the castle shape from a template my trusty volunteer drew (thanks Mr. M.!). 

The next class we added details like the battlements (the square shapes at the tops of the walls).  And we rolled them onto a paper towel tube to hold its shape.  We then cut out windows and added details like bricks or stones. 

After we let them dry, we glazed our castles. I let the students choose what colors they wanted to glaze their work.  We went over the glaze colors and students began to paint. We used 2-3 coats of glaze to maximise color and to guarantee coverage.  They turned out great! 


Monday, February 25, 2013

Clay Dragons Grade 1

Birch Meadow First Graders in Mrs. Beckman's class made clay dragons.  I got the lesson from Rina's K-6 Art Blog.  I thought it would be a different experience from my usual first grade pinch pot lesson. 

I was kind of not as much fun as I had thought they would be! Many dragon's broke in half and had me gluing things together for hours after school! I made the dragons with humps by having the kids roll out a thick coil and draping it over a T.P. tube.  Despite my displeasure super gluing together dragons and my fingers (that is an annual thing), they did end up looking really cool, and the kids were really excited to get them back.   

I have not yet gotten around to the other 2 classes (Mrs. Piazza and Mrs. Davie...sorry friends!!) doing a clay project yet.  Their art classes run on Mondays and for some reason, my Monday friends have less classes than any other day of the week ( Monday holidays, snow days, vacation weeks, etc.). 

I think I will have them make the S and the C shapes that Rina talked about in her blog. 

Here is a picture:

fired and glazed dragons

Friday, February 8, 2013

Pueblo Coil Pottery

Second graders at Wood End are studying Native American culture.  I have done a few projects with the students that highlight each region they have studied or are studying, but this one takes the cake and has been my favorite.  We looked at Pueblo (Southwest tribes) coil pottery and looked at the different styles.  We also looked at Maria Martinez who was one of the most well known Pueblo potters.  Then we started to build our pots.  The first thing we did was create a base for our pots.  Then, the nest class I taught students how to make coils.  The third class, I showed students how to add coil design in their work.  So far we are in the middle of this project, but I will update as soon as projects are completed! Here are a couple of samples of work.....

By Jessica

By Cole