Student Teacher Blog

2nd Grade Patterns

posted on October 31, 2017 in Fall 2017, Student Teacher Blog

My second graders learned about patterns. We spent two class periods before we got to the actual art project learning about and talking about patterns. I first read them a fun pattern book to get them introduced in an easy and digestible way. Then I showed them a powerpoint of pictures of patterns in nature, such as snake skin and spider webs. They had a lot of fun guessing at what each picture was and being so suprised when they found it. Then we did a worksheet activity to assess their skills mid-way through the unit. The class worksheet had some basic “fill in the blank” and “what comes next” pattern problems, as well as a few pages of blank boxes where the students were asked to locate patterns that they could see from wherever they were sitting. They seemed to really enjoy looking around the art room at wallpapers and borders and colors, or at their friends striped shirt, or outside at the swings. They did a great job learning patterns. Finally we got to the art-making part. Students cut their own simple shapes out of foam trays (recycled lunch trays!) and were given a few squirts of paint to share at each table. They used their shapes as stamps to make patterns and also learned about color mixing, which wasn’t planned, but they liked to talk about how the colors mixed together and eventually just made brown. It was a great and messy time!


S. Ries

“Self Portrait!” (cue super cute hand movement)

posted on October 31, 2017 in Fall 2017, Student Teacher Blog

First grade and Kindergarten learned about self-portraiture and all the essentials that make self portraits unique. These fabulous self portraits took us three 45 minute classes to complete, and the students were really proud of them–as they should be! After reading “The Colors of Us” by Karen Katz, students picked papers to best match their skin tones. Next they cut the papers into large ovals, small ovals, and rectangles to focus on the shape of their head, ears, and neck.

After gluing down the cut paper, we focused on the parts of the face. We talked about being specific in self portraits, looked at ourselves in mirrors, and tried our best to match our features in shape and color. Lastly we needed to add hair to our bald heads, clothes to keep us from floating, and backgrounds to give our portraits a home.

This adorable photo is one of my amazing 1st grade classes demonstrating the hand movement for our vocabulary word–“self portrait!”

-Miss Alvis

2nd Grade Spacescapes

posted on October 31, 2017 in Fall 2017, Student Teacher Blog

Day 1: Rocket Ships

Second Grade had previously learned how to draw a star and then they learned how to catch a star. After learning about stars the question “How do you visit a star” was proposed to them. A discussion formed on different ways to go into outer space. The students read the story “Roaring Rockets” by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker. The students learned that rocket ships are used to transport astronauts into space and aerospace engineers make rocket ships. By learning about rocket ships the students were eager to create their own. By using shapes the students created their own rocket ships.


Day 2: Planets

After the students created their rocket ships, the students thought about other places in space they would personally like to go. Many wanted to go to other planets, thus the students were introduced to the “Planet Rap Song.” The song sparked the student’s imagination on what planets could look like and how big they could be. The students had to make 3 different sized planets by tracing lids and color them by using watercolor.



Day 3: Put Rockets and Planets Together

Once the students had completed their planets, the each received a 12×18 inch piece of black construction paper and construction paper crayons. The students discussed what other objects can be found in space such as stars, galaxies, comets, shooting stars, asteroids, satellites, aliens and more. The students had to color the black piece of construction paper with these other space objects and then cut out their planets and glue them on as well as glue their rocket ships on to create a spacescape.


Day 4: Critique

After all the students completed their spacescapes, the students made titles for their artwork. The students placed their titles on their artwork and discussed what a critique was and how a critique was done. The students used the idea of musical chairs to walk around the artwork and when the music stopped they would find an artwork and say something about the color, shape, lines, movement, and texture they saw in the artwork. After the critique the work was displayed around the school.

– E.Martin

Second Grade Macchia & Collaboration

posted on October 11, 2017 in Fall 2017, Student Teacher Blog


Second grade learned about collaboration and secondary colors in their first unit. The lesson was inspired by Dale Chihuly’s Macchia series and the idea of collaboration to create a large, more meaningful artwork. The students learned about mixing primary colors to create secondary colors and compared Dale Chihuly’s Macchia series, Sam Gilliam’s Color Field paintings, and Carlos Cruz-Dias’ Light Installations to learn about the concepts of color, three dimensional works, and installation.

The students made two individual “macchia” by creating patterns on coffee filters using only primary colors that mixed when sprayed (by the teacher) with starch to create secondary colors.

The students worked in teams to create a background and transformed the “macchias” into a group collaboration. The students came up with concepts individually and then decided as a group how to unify all of their ideas into one work of art. Watching how the students came together on a conceptual level was inspiring and incredibly rewarding.



Iris Color Study

posted on May 9, 2017 in Spring 2017, Student Teacher Blog

Eighth-grade students created observational color studies of the close-up of their irises. Each student had their eyes photographed to be used as a reference for their artworks. In class discussion students recorded what the aperture and exposure represent in photography, and how the human iris and pupil similarly functions. Students discussed how eyes are often used as the metaphorical and representational image of one’s identity. Using a photograph or observation as a reference, students used oil pastel to replicate the coloration, pattern, and reflection found by looking into their iris.


To complete their iris studies students responded to prompt questions relating to the identities, emotional and feeling towards their outward appearance. Students wrote their reflections and responses around their iris with white pencils. Students also had the option to write down quotes relating to these topics that they connected with.

Self Affirmation Lino cuts

posted on May 9, 2017 in Spring 2017

Eighth-grade students learned about the process of linocut and printing as well as the practice of positive affirmations. Students drew a self-portrait of themselves from observation and incorporated a word that would complete the affirmation phrase” I am____.” We talked about how positive affirmations are used like exercise, to use the power of mind to manifest a truth. The process of making multiple prints also symbolizes the mantra of repeating the affirmative statement so it becomes truth. Students were encouraged to choose words like (worthy, capable, enough, successful, intelligent, beautiful, valuable, confident!) Words that can make a positive impact on their lives.


Students then transferred their design onto a block of linoleum, carved,  and made multiple prints of their images. Students learned about drawing from observation as well as using proportional facial features.


posted on May 9, 2017 in Spring 2017, Student Teacher Blog

My art 1 students have just finished up a painting unit that asked them to think about aspects of their identities to inspire their subject matter. Their paintings ended up being really beautiful, many of the students really thrived while working in the painting medium.
I tried something a little different with my students to begin this project. Before I introduced this painting unit, I created a buzz feed style personality quiz for my students to take. In the quiz the students are asking general questions about their personality that would be typical for this type of buzz feed quiz. The questions they answered determined what subject matter they would be painting for this project. The categories they could be sorted into were Portraits, Landscapes, or Still Lives.
The students were really excited by the quiz and it was a great start to our project. Once students were sorted into the painting categories they could get an assignment sheet that corresponded with their category. So, I created a separate assignment sheet for portraits, landscapes, and still lives. Each assignment sheet had additional artists that were working in that subject matter that the students were encouraged to look up. I also showed my students a presentation of artists in a wide range of subject matter and technique.

These art 1 students also had an in progress critique that was very helpful for me to understand the concepts behind their paintings. Each student was paired up with another student and interviewed each other about their paintings from a list of questions I gave them. The students wrote down their partner’s answers and reading those interviews gave me as an instructor insight to how they were feeling about the assignment, the process, and their overall concept.

I encouraged my students to try out techniques and styles that worked for them and to be confident about the decisions they were making. Many students took that advice and in the end they felt successful!

Personifying Emotions with Ceramics I

posted on May 5, 2017 in Spring 2017, Student Teacher Blog

By:Emily McKenney

During my time in my secondary placement, I had the awesome opportunity to work with a Ceramics I class. This was so exciting to me because I love ceramics and there wasn’t a course like this offered at my high school. I decided to do a relief project with students who had been using clay primarily to make functional object before I got there. I wanted to do a project that really emphasized ceramics as an art practice rather than just a way to make bowls and mugs. I decided to do a project on emotions, and how to personify emotions that you feel connected to. Students began by choosing an emotion to work with and brainstorming different ways to depict this emotion as a living thing. Then they created and fired their projects before painting them and applying an alternate material. The alternate material aspect of the project allowed students to get really creative, and consider the ways that clay can interact with other art-making supplies.

Word: Separation


Word: Contempt

Word: Dread


Students expressed a true enjoyment of this project, and all made incredible work. I would definitely do this lesson again with a ceramics, 3-D/crafts class, or an ARTII/III course!

Donor’s Choose

posted on May 5, 2017 in Spring 2017, Student Teacher Blog


The lone display case for art

Until this handy dude put up another one!

Student Samplers

Good job students!

With my teacher’s blessing, he suggested I make a donor’s choose for the supplies I would use for my project at my secondary school. All I really needed was thread, needles, beads, and hoops, but he suggested I throw in another display case. The school has terrible walls for hanging stuff and all the cases except for the one he already got from Donor’s Choose are filled with trophies. This leaves very little student art in the building.

Even though it added a considerable amount to the Donor’s Choose, it still got funded! Donor’s choose is amazing and now there are two identical display cases. I wish I was there for longer because I’d really like the students to practice putting their own work up.

As soon as my students were finished with the first part of their project which was an embroidered sampler, I put some in the case and they looked amazing all together!


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