Student Teacher Blog

Think Like an Artist!

posted on November 23, 2015 in Fall 2015, Student Teacher Blog

Ms.Lee’s young artists in 5th grade classes at Elmont Elementary School had been doing some printmaking. Based on their observational drawings from the school’s Learning Garden, they transferred the images onto soft-blocks and carved  their own unique prints. For this BIG unit, the students were required to think about many different aspects as artists, such as composition, quality of lines, carving safety rules, printing process, experimenting and selection process for book making, etc. By learning to sign their prints, title their works, experiment, select their works, students learned how to think like professional artists!

The students not only printed, but they also experimented with the printing surface using mixed media. We experimented with some fabric, collaging with scrap paper and mark making with crayons.

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Students went through a selection process to choose their best four prints, and made their own artist’s book with. Even though this project required the students to work extra hard during the entire class period, everyone was very engaged in this project, and eager to do more printing even after the book making.

These are the final products!

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Rags or Rag Rugs?

posted on November 23, 2015 in Fall 2015, Student Teacher Blog

Third graders at Spring Run elementary are learning about 18th century American rag rugs which were made out of readily materials such as clothing, bedding, and household furnishing. These rugs were made for function, outweighing aesthetics.

Before we began this lesson, the Spring Run community was asked to donate any old t-shirts, if possible.

Week One: How to Weave

Using one-inch paper strips, students were told to pick one warm, one cool, and one black or white color. The paper weavings would be used as a reference for their final rag rugs. We discussed how artwork is presented in frames and the reason for the black or white option is to frame our final rag rug.

Before they began, looms were prepped and warped for each student using the donated t-shirts. IMG_5274 IMG_5302

As the students began weaving, I noticed they became extremely meditative and generous to those who needed help. As soon as one student began struggling, others would come in to assist. I LOVED BEING APART OF THAT.


During the last part of the unit we reviewed the history of rag rugs. We discussed the difference between functionality and art or whether there is one. After the students framed their rugs, I asked students to answer these questions.

  1. Do you consider your rag rug art? Why or why not? It is ok if you do not.
  2. How would you present your framed rag rug? On the wall like a painting? On the floor like a rug? Please explain. Here are the final results:

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The Giving Tree Unit: Kindergarten – with Ms. Williams

posted on November 23, 2015 in Fall 2015, Student Teacher Blog

To start, kindergarteners at Blackwell Elementary School listened to The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Students learned about the different parts of a tree: trunk, branches, leaves, and fruits and had the chance to feel sections of tree bark to understand its texture.  I demonstrated a simple way to draw a tree with 5 branches (students are working on counting in their homeroom classes).  Students followed suit, and then used texture plates to add texture to their trees.  This unit was intended to introduce kindergarteners to making connections to a book as well as explore a variety of media.  Students continued to add layers to their trees for the next three weeks, always relating back to the story and using a new material.



During week two, students used markers to add 3 little branches to each of the big branches on their trees, as we looked back at the illustrations in the Giving Tree and trees outside and realized that most trees have more than 5 branches.  Students counted out their branches as they worked.


Student progress week 2:

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Finally, students used tempera paint to add their final details.  Students learned that trees grow up out of the ground, so they started by adding a ground below their trees and then had time to add leaves and other details, such as fruits growing off the branches.


The Giving Tree unit installed in the hallway.

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Final exhibits installed at Blackwell Elementary School.  The central piece was created by 4th graders, a paper quilting lesson taught by Tiffany Floyd, my cooperating teacher.


Eric Carle inspired Self-Portraits

posted on November 10, 2015 in Fall 2015, Student Teacher Blog

Second-grade students were inspired by Eric Carle and his art-making process. He begins his art by painting onto paper, which he would then use to cut and collage animals and people. The second graders followed his process by beginning to paint and print patterns onto colorful paper. We talked about how our papers will be shared by every second grader to create our art.

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I cut the pattered papers into rectangles sized 4.5″x 6″ to make the paper more manageable to work with. During our next class, I guided the students through a lesson that helped them draw their face. We talked about all the facial features we have and the special shape of our eyes, because everyone’s eyes are shaped a little different. I had five different skin-toned paper that the students could choose from. I explained that because we are drawing our own faces, we should choose the color that best matches your skin color. After drawing with pencil, students went back over their pencils lines with black marker so we could see the details clearly. Students paid close attention to their eyes, eyebrows and lip color, which they colored using marker.

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The following class students collaged their full-body self-portraits! Each table was given a small pile of the cut patterned paper. Just as Eric Carle works, students cut shapes and collaged using their painted papers to give their works a finished look.

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Students needed to make sure they included two hands each with five fingers

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Student were also allowed to add details to their clothes if they had extra time or could add something they wanted to carry in their hands that they like. If they added an object to their self-portrait, they were able to provide a rationale for the object as it was something meaningful to them.

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Our final display:

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1st Grade Patterned Petals

posted on November 10, 2015 in Fall 2015, Student Teacher Blog

In 1st grade at Glen Allen Elementary we began a unit all about patterns! Students used clues to fill in the blanks of uncompleted patterns and then identified patterns in everyday objects, animals and games. Students looked at the American Flag, a zebra and the game of chess to find patterns. Students learned that anything can be a pattern as long as it goes in order and repeats. To begin their art project, students learned how about “found objects,” and how to utilize them as stamps. Using plates of warm and cool colors students made two different patterns stamping with their objects.

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The following week, their stamped patterns had dried and students began the next part of the project. Students reviewed repeating and alternating patterns and looked at patterns in nature. Students identified patterns using shape and color in flower petals and leaves. Students returned to their patterns from the previous week. Using paper ripping techniques, the students created an assortment of flower petals from their patterned paper. Students then assembled their warm and cool petals into their own alternating patterns to create a beautiful flower. When they saw their artworks hanging in the hall, the students were then able to see what a unique garden they had made!

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Introduction To Color Theory.

posted on November 10, 2015 in Fall 2015, Student Teacher Blog

A strong start to creating art and also understanding it is the knowledge of the color wheel and how colors are created. Color is such a basic part of our lives and having a vocabulary for seeing it gives us a richer visual experience.



Students created Chihuly inspired bowls out of coffee filters, washable markers and starch. Students were challenged to use color theory concepts previously learned in art class. Some students chose to mix primary colors to create secondary colors while other chose to use only warm or cool colors. After students finished coloring their filter, they stretched them over a cup (like a drum) then sprayed them with a water and starch solution. This solution made the color mix, bleed and run together. The students were able to watch new colors form right in front of their eyes. After these filters dried student pulled off their now harden filter fliped them over and had Chihuly inspired bowls. The classes then took one more step by adding a stem and also seedpods to turn theses “bowls” into flowers.DSCN5350IMG_2859DSCN5446IMG_2889

Students did not only learn color theory, but they also learned how to transform an idea or image from an artist into their own creation!

5th Grade- First Critique!

posted on November 10, 2015 in Fall 2015, Student Teacher Blog

Fifth-grade students at Glen Allen completed their Holly Roberts inspired collage unit with their very first critique! Students learned the value of art critiques. We discussed how artists would benefit from having their work critiques. They also learned what kind of feedback is most valuable to an artist and how to look at artwork to offer helpful feedback. Students began by looking at the works of Holly Roberts and as a group began answering the following questions

  • Describe- What do you see in the artwork?
  • Analyze- How is what you are seeing being used in the artwork? For what purpose or feeling?
  • Interpret- What is happening in the artwork? What is it telling you?
  • Decide- What do you like about the artwork? What could be changed?

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After the group discussion, students broke down into smaller groups works and answered these provided questions about each other’s work.

Once completed, the students had time to discuss their ideas about each other’s work and ask the student artist questions. Several students shared what they had learned by examining the artwork and taking questions from the group. Overall it was a very thoughtful and caring critique!




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Complementary Sculptures

posted on November 3, 2015 in Fall 2015, Student Teacher Blog

Fourth graders at Spring Run Elementary are learning about transforming materials by looking at Peter Gentenaar’s hanging sculptures. Gentenaar builds bamboo armatures, places wet paper pulp over them causing the material to tighten up during the drying process creating the large-scale organic forms shown below.

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As a class we discussed the meaning of transforming something. What does it mean to transform material? Each student was given a hanger and one knee high stocking for their sculpture. We identified the materials in front of us and their initial function: to hang clothes and to wear on our legs.
We then brainstormed how to transform these materials. I prompted them with the following questions:

  1. Could we bend the hanger?
  2. Could we stretch the stockings?
  3. How do we change it enough where the materials lose their function?

I demonstrated how to manipulate the material enough to make it more dynamic, then slipped the stocking over the new form creating tension. The students were able to successfully demonstrate transformation, manipulation, and tension by creating their sculptures.
IMG_5255IMG_5245IMG_5244Students learned about pattern, design, and complementary colors through painting. Using one color from the color wheel, students painted their base coat and brainstormed patterns and designs to apply onto their forms.

We explored each students complementary color for their final designs and discussed how the opposing colors would create strong contrasts of each other making those designs POP!

IMG_6207 IMG_6208 IMG_6212 IMG_6216 IMG_6219 IMG_6234 IMG_6241By the end of the unit students were able to explain what installation sculptures are, how to transform and manipulate materials and define the vocabulary we used in the lesson such as, “complementary colors.” I’m very proud of my students and their final work!

Displaying artwork

posted on November 3, 2015 in Fall 2015, Student Teacher Blog, Uncategorized

During my teaching experience at CHES I was able to display works around the school. This was not only exciting to the students, but it does a phenomenal job at brightening up school’s hallways.

The first display I created for students was a display for International Dot Day. I used the slogan “MAKE YOUR MARK” and sprawled my creation along the large banner across the wall. Below this display there are six large bulletin boards that I used to showcase the students dot artwork that they had created. The exhibition of their work excited the students as their artwork was being displayed on the first day of school and will continue to stay up throughout the year.

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In the hallway near the library, I created a display for the second-grade students unique flowers. This display highlighted six students that did an exceptional job created a collaged flower.Display 1

Lastly, I placed small bouquets of flowers that kindergarten students had created in various locations within the library. The kindergartners were so excited to have their work displayed in such a high traffic area. This also encouraged all students to venture into the library before school. The librarian noticed a higher amount of traffic after the artwork was on display.display3


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