Sunday, December 13, 2009

Open Studio

Open Studio is a reward for getting ten challenge points. Challenge points are awarded when an entire class works as a team to complete a challenge. A challenge could be organizing a silent clean up or having every artist follow all directions during studio time. Once they reach ten points, the following class they have a choice of what materials to work with and get to bring home all of their creations that same day. I like Open Studio because it gives me an idea of where the students interests lie and what they are most excited about working on. Recently, Ms. Patterson's class was given Open Studio. Here are some of their creations:

First Grade Clay Experiments

Whenever I begin clay with a class, I always give them an entire period to manipulate the clay in any way they like. They truly get to play with it and figure out its qualities. The students need this time for experimentation before we begin the assignment. The classroom explodes with ideas and the students are often creating figures, hiding spots and characters that come to life when they interact with each other. I love this opening to clay. Here are some photos of what happens:

Once the period is over, we all SQUISH what we have made and return it to the clay bin. Students then work together to make a list of all the things you can do with clay. Here is what we have come up with:

Next, we will begin to learn about ceramics and will create pinch pots with lids that will be painted.

Third Grade Shadow Play In Progress

Third graders are studying China in social studies. To link up with their work, we are looking at a traditional Chinese form of puppetry- Shadow Play. Legend has it that it was invented in China two thousand years ago. In this unit, we are focusing on how negative and positive space can be used to create detail in shadow puppetry. Using black construction paper, students have been experimenting with how they can create animals and imaginary creatures that will come to life when used with a light. Now that we know how it works, we will begin to create large shadow puppets operated by rods. Here are some in-class shots:

2nd Grade: Kandinsky

Wow! Our second grade Kandinsky study has come to a close (almost) and it has been great! Here are the parts that I have yet to update you on:

Part 2: Music as Inspiration
We learned that Kandinsky was very inspired by music. He felt t
hat it was an example of a purely abstract expression of emotion. We talked about how Kandinsky was inspired by musicians like Schonberg and Wagner. To practice collaboration and using line to depict mood in music, we worked with graphite sticks with a partner to create drawings inspired by different pieces of music. We were sure to include songs that students were working on in music such as "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Winter." The results were really interesting.
Parts Three and Four: Collaborative Painting
For the final two parts of our project, students focused on listening to one song and translating it to drawing and painting. We looked at the work we had done so far to talk about how artists can collaborate and work together to make one piece. Then, students used what they had learned about how line and color express emotion to make a large painting together. It was so much fun. Thanks to our visiting artist Brogan Ganley for helping to make it work!

To finish up our study, we took a trip to the Guggenheim where there is a large exhibit of Kandinsky's work. The students created some amazing drawings there. I will scan and upload some examples later this week.

December in Studio 220


First Grade: First graders are working with clay! The ceramics unit is a very exciting time of year. We will be exploring where clay comes from, what you can do with it, and what happens once it dries. The students will be working on a texture exploration to see what happens when clay is imprinted with different materials. Each student will create a pinch pot that is textured with the materials of their choice. We will then paint our work in a way that highlights the textures we create.

Second Grade: Second graders are beginning a sculpture unit. We will be studying the job of playground designers. We will look at different interpretations of playgrounds from around the world. Each student will imagine his or her ideal playground. They will use paper to create a three dimensional sculpture of their own play-space. For inspiration, check out one of my favorite blogs:

Third Grade: Third grade artists are working on the art of shadow play, a traditional art form first invented in China over a thousand years ago. We will be creating many different shadow puppets (pi ying) based on animals, creatures, monsters and ourselves. We will be learning about how using positive and negative space affects how the puppet looks when lit. We will also be exploring how artists can add sound and movement to their work.

Fourth Grade: Fourth graders are working on a relief sculpture unit. We are looking at the work of AJ Fosik and creating large animal heads out of papier mache and cut paper. We are thinking about how Native Americans believed that animals represented and had personality traits. Each student will choose an animal whose “personality” is similar to his or her own. They will then create a relief sculpture to represent their animal. Please send in cereal boxes, newspaper and cardboard tubes!

Fifth Grade: Fifth graders have been working on creating realistic drawings and paintings for the past few weeks. Taking a break from this, we will be exploring how artists create characters from their imaginations. We will look at many different artists who create fantasy characters, including Tim Burton, who now has an exhibition at MoMA. Each student will use pen and ink, watercolor and clay to create an imaginary character.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On a side note...

Things have been very busy in Studio 220. I will be posting about all of our new projects soon and some really exciting trips. But on a side note, I wanted to tell you about something really AWESOME! One of my very best friends, Kim Scafuro, is an illustrator. You might have seen her work in a number of magazines and newspapers or in the Barney's holiday windows. (She made a number of the large character ornaments they have this year.) WELL... she started a portrait painting business, so if you are looking for someone to paint your portrait (or a family member's or pet's), check out her website. Hopefully she will be making an appearance in Studio 220 soon!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Call for Materials

I hope everyone had a wonderful long holiday weekend. It is once again the time of year when I request some of your trash so it can be made into treasure. Here is what I an currently collecting:

-Cardboard tubes
-Plastic bottle caps (from soda bottles, milk jugs, etc.)
-Thin cardboard boxes (from cereal, granola bars, etc.)

If you have any of these items, send them in!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kandinsky Study Part One

Second graders are working on a multi-part unit of study on Kandinsky.  We are working with Mr. C in music and artist Brogan Ganley on a collaborative project.  Kandinsky was extremely inspired by music.  He believed that it was the ultimate expression.  In his own work, he would paint the notes that he heard in music.  On December 9th, we are taking a trip to the Guggenheim to see the Kandinsky show.  
For the first part of this project, we explored how artists use color to convey an emotion. We looked at Kandinsky's concentric circles to see if we could imagine an emotion that is expressed in the colors he used.  Next, the students thought of a time in their life when they felt a strong emotion.  They tried to picture the colors that reminded them of that emotion.  They each created a square that used color to convey their feeling.  Here are some examples: 



First Grade Self Portraits With Expression

First graders in Ms. Jab's and Ms. Patterson's classes worked on creating self portraits that show an expression.  We worked on looking in a mirror and drawing from observation.  We noticed that when our expression changes, the shapes of our mouth, eyebrows and face changes as well.  See the work in the main lobby.

Student Share

One of the best things about being an art teacher is seeing what students will do if left to their own devices. Often, they will bring in work that they created at home to share with the class or to put in their idea portfolio. Here is an awesome example of a piece created at home by Miles, a second grade artist. I love the way he used simple materials like post-its to create an amazing scene. AMAZING!!

Organic Shape Paintings On Display!

Third grade artists completed their organic shape paintings. They are on display in the first floor music hallway. I loved seeing the students collaborate on creating a composition for their final piece. Many artists noticed that collaboration is difficult because everyone needs to agree.  Their response was that they liked working this way because they looked at their own work in a new way and got new ideas from their team.  Great work artists!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Organic Shape Paintings

Third grade artists are working on a big collaborative project.  We have been inspired by the work of Elizabeth Murray.  We noticed how large, organic shapes make up her work.  Some of us were reminded of graffiti art, while others saw things from everyday life.  We made our own organic shapes and learned about making tints.  A tint is made when you add white to a color.  The next step is adding in lines and patterns to create a visual rhythm. We learned about how to use the color wheel to choose colors that will POP!  Here is some work in progress. Check back soon to see how all of the parts come together!

Monday, November 9, 2009

4/5 Logo and Silkscreening!

4Fives created an awesome class logo and on Friday, we printed it on shirts. The students learned about silk screening and how this can be used to make many images. The fifth graders had done this last year, so they helped out with the entire process. Each student printed at least one shirt and a piece of cloth for a later project. Here is what they wrote on their blog:

The 4Fives Party Down at the Season 2 Silk Screening Celebration!

November 9, 2009

Good morning everyone! We did an amazing project on Friday, and so many of the 4Fives wanted to write about it! So we decided that it was okay to do that, and you can read each of our posts about our experience!


The 4Fives Season 2 Logo

Friday was a really fun day for us because we did silk screening! It was a really fun thing to do. First, we went to the art room, and Ms. Kimball said to go sit on the rug. Then, she showed us a video about silk screening.


It was really cool to see that video. Next, Ms Kimball showed us how to put our t-shirts over cardboard to prepare them for the screening.


Then she said to go to a table. She put paint on the screen, and we used a squeegee to move the paint over the screen and onto our shirts!

Then Bee asked me to take video of the silk screening with the Flip, so I did. Next I videotaped Ms. Kimball do the silk screening on our t-shirt. When it was done, it looked amazing! It had the 4Fives logo on it! We all did the silk screening on our white t-shirts. It looked more amazing on the white t-shirt.

At the end, I used the Flip to videotape me and Bee. Check back this week to see what I taped!




Hello! I am going to talk about last Friday. We were silk screening our t-shirts in the art room. Our art teacher helped us with the t-shirts, and our logo was on the t-shirts and every body was happy. We went to the line and the art teacher showed us how to do the silk screening on our t-shirts, then we got too happy!

We were with SFJ2 and he brought his t-shirts and he got a gray t-shirt and the old people were last on the line to silk screen and the little kids were in the front of the line to silk screen.


Our logo was on the t-shirt, and our art teacher and regular teacher made one too.

We was getting this material that Bee was not using, some recycled old fabric that she had at home, and she tore it into squares for us to silk screen on. So we made a logo on that square shape thing and it looked good on it, but we ran out of it, so some of the kids were drawing and that was me, John and SFJ2.





Hello everyone! I am going to tell you about what happened on Friday. On Friday, we were silk screening on our white plain shirts.


We put green paint on a screen that Ms.Kimball had put our logo on.

When we were done silk screening our shirts we all got a peace of fabric and silk screened it too.
We also drew on a piece of paper. Then me and SFJ2 were playing around.

This was the first time I silk screened, it was the best day ever!!! Adrian was filming for us and we all had a wonderful day. After silk screening, our hands were all green we all got a wipey to clean our hands and then we all went home.



On Friday, we brought in t-shirts to do silk screening. Ms. Kimball showed us a video of how a person made a slider to put the print on our shirts. We start to practice putting our logo on a sheet of paper. Then everybody got a cardboard and we put our shirts inside it.


Then we began to do our shirts while Bee was ripping pieces of fabric to do our logo on after we finished putting our logo on the t-shirts. Ms. Kimball said when everyone is done making their logo on their t-shirts we can get another shirt and do our logo on it. SFJ2 came and did a t-shirt. Jackson didn’t come but we made him a t-shirt. Then we did our logo on the fabric that Bee brought in and when we finished we set it on the rug.

So everyone wake up because if we show you guys how to silk screen you’ll probably want to do it also!!!!!!!!!!!

So if you want to do it you can ask the 4Fives because we can help you.

From your friend,



Last Friday, the 4Fives did silk screening once again. First, we saw a video about silk screening and how the ink gets transferred on things. Then we went to the table with Ms. Kimball. Then we did a practice silk screen on paper together as a group. Then we all had to line up and wait to silk screen our t-shirts. While we were doing that, Bee was tearing up some pieces of fabric for us to silkscreen on. Then the principal came up to see us silk screening.

We all had to stop for a minute and pay attention to the art teacher. Ms. Kimball put tape on the table just like a square and she told us to put the fabric piece in the little box. Then Nicholas was in charge of holding the sides of the silk screening board. The 4Fives then got a chance to do it on their own. Then Adrian was in charge of ironing the t-shirts after they dried, so the paint would set and not wash out.

Here are the steps for silk screening if you want to do it too.

Step1. Lay your T-shirt under the board.


Step 2. Hold the squeezer with both hands together.


Step 3. Slide it down gently.

Step 4. Take your shirt under from the board.


Step 5. Take your t-shirt and put it some place where it can dry.

Step 6. Then iron your T-Shirt.

Have a great day,




Good morning every body! I am going to tell you about what we did on Friday. So what we did on Friday, was that we did silk screening and it was so amazing because we got to bring shirts in. And the reason why we needed to bring shirts in, is because we needed to put our logo on our shirts.

And now I am going to tell you the details of how to silk screen.

First you have to put paint on the screen on the table.

sc4Then, you get this smooth kind of squeegee brush and spread out the paint.

And then you get your shirt, and then get in line.

And then you put your shirt underneath the screen.

And then you need to put your shirt neatly down, and then nice and hard pull the smooth brush across the screen.


And then when you take it from underneath the screen, it will have the 4Fives logo on your shirt!


And after that we got to do our logo on this kind of fabric that Bee tore up and then Bee said that we can put the logo on it for another project that we will do later.

And I forgot to tell you who came in our room………it was……………


JACKIE (SFJ2)!!!!!!!! and it got really fun because when every body was done we all got to color. It was a great day.




On Friday, at the end of the day, we went to art, and we were going to do silk screening. We had our shirts to get started, but Ms. Kimball showed us a video of how you do silk screening first. The video showed you how you put the paint on the screen and you move it back and forth so it could spread out over your design.

After we saw the video, we went to the table and we took our t-shirts out and put them on a square cardboard. Next, we took a jar of paint and put it on the silk screen. Then we took our t-shirts and lined up for our silk screening.


When it was my turn I first took my shirt with the cardboard and put it under the silk screen frame. I put the silk screen on the shirt and pulled the squeegee down and I when I picked up the frame, our logo was on the shirt!





We hope that you enjoyed our posts!!! We will be putting up videos from our day this week, so keep checking back!


The 4Fives


Thank you 4Fives! I had so much fun!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

4th Grade Exquisite Corpses

To introduce fourth graders to the way Surrealists worked, we played the exquisite corpse game. I love doing this with students for 3 main reasons:
1. They LOVE it and are totally engaged the entire time.
2. They collaborate with their peers.
3. The level of concentration is so high that you can hear a pin drop in the studio. (REMARKABLE!)

Here is a sneak peak of a few. I need to take some better photographs and will post more on how this develops soon.

Visit to Chris Astley's Studio

Last week, five amazing 4/5 artists, Bee Ladd and I went to visit the studio of artist Chris Astley. It was AMAZING! We created plaster casts of our fingers which will be a jumping off point for a much larger project that will have us collaborating with artists throughout the year. It was such a blast. I believe some students will be posting about it soon, so check out the 4/5's blog. Here are some photos of our trip: