Observe. Engage. Persist. Express.

Kindergarten: Lines –> Maps

Using black paint and a variety of wheeled toy vehicles, Kindergartners observed closely to discover, compare, and contrast the lines and textures created from each tire. Some of the tracks we created were smooth and solid, while others bumped and skipped as they rolled. This investigation eventually shifted to imaginative play involving the different types of vehicles, which is always fun!

Using our investigative knowledge of lines, we continued to explore the subject through the lens of maps. This was an emergent topic that came about from student interest. To begin, we observed and altered existing maps, looking closely to name the types of lines we noticed, as well as adding our own markings. We discussed what a map is, can be, and can help us with, and the many different types of maps we may see. 

1st Grade: Color –> Shapes

What is a shape? Through inquiry, trial, and discussion, 1st graders discovered that shapes are in fact flat, enclosed pieces of space and that there are many different kinds. We began breaking down the shapes into two categories: geometric shapes (shapes used in math/shapes that “have names” to define their characteristics) and organic shapes (all-natural shapes that do not have names concrete defined qualities).

2nd grade: Self Portraits –> Art As Tradition

After studying multiple types of self-portraits and different ways to convey emotion and personality, it was the second graders’ turn to create their own! Using mirrors, students carefully studied their faces and made important decisions about which details to include and which style to utilize.

Students utilized their knowledge of facial expressions and portraits to explore a variety of masks. 2nd graders will be creating animal masks as part of their native California animals study.

3rd Grade: Art & Nature

3rd graders explored ways to use nature in their artwork and as inspiration for their work. Students utilized natural pigments found in sedimentary rocks. Many of the rocks were a type of ochre (or light brownish color) and by adding water to the rocks, students created a type of primitive paint. Students had the chance to explore these materials freely on the pavement, choosing to create words, pictures, and handprints to leave their mark.

Students explored composition through collages of pressed leaves, utilizing wooden pieces as our surface. By carefully considering the different types of composition (balanced, unbalanced, central, etc.) students thoughtfully moved their chosen leaves to create a pleasing arrangement.

To finish the art and nature unit 3rd graders explored natural fabric dyes! 

4th Grade: Mixed Media Sculpture –> Street Art

4th graders were led through the entire five-step process of creating a mixed media sculpture from Planning to Armature to Surfacing (Plaster Gauze/Papier Mache) to Painting with Acrylics to Final Details. Recycled materials used included cardboard, fabrics, plastic and foam packaging, and many more! The process involved a lot of questioning, a lot of problem-solving, and a ton of play!

5th Grade: Observational Drawing

5th graders have been extremely focused on improving their drawing skills, through a variety of life drawing exercises and comic-creation activities. After our exploration of gesture drawings and close-ups of our eyes and faces, we transitioned to shading techniques. Using black paper and white charcoal, students were asked to “carve-out” the pieces or “shapes of light” from the dark paper. Using mid-tone gray paper and oil pastels, students were taught to look closely, layer colors to create complex hues, and explore with their pastels.