Artistic alphabets & words

If there were no lines or shapes would there be written alphabets?  Find out more in –

Ox, House, Stick, The History of Our Alphabet

By Don Robb

Alphabets can be artistic, too.dscn9126

Word Designs

  • Think of a word that’s interesting to you.
  • Draw two horizontal lines across the paper.
  • Write your word with the letters touching the top and bottom lines.
  • Find shapes around the letters.
  • Color shapes with oil pastels.
  • Brush a watercolor wash on top.



Grade 2

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Beautiful Oops!

We read Beautiful Oops! by Barney Salzburg – a story that shows tears, spills, and ink blots transformed into something new.



Then, children picked pieces of white drawing paper sprinkled with random black ink spots. They drew lines and shapes with black ink pens to express their personal ideas.


“Space ship”

Grade 1

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Back to School

The longest line


Draw the longest line…

try not to cross over.


On the wall outside the art room,

connect your line to a classmates’ line.

What is a line?

Who invented lines?

How do artists use lines?

What different kinds of lines you see?

How do lines and shapes make pictures?

How do pictures tell stories?

Would there be written alphabets if there were no lines or shapes?

Grade 3

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Today during first grade, we read Colors by Philip Yenawine – The Museum of Modern Art, listened to music and PAINTED!  What would be better than that? 


“The world is full of colors.”

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Habits of Mind

Develop craft –

Understand techniques and demonstrate that understanding.


 Stretch and Explore –

Reach beyond the familiar and explore playfully.


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Lots and lots


white clay – wet

white clay – drying


white clay – dry


red clay – drying


red clay – fired!


During the month of January children in first, second and third grades have been exploring the possibilities and limitations of clay focusing on using our hands as tools. We will continue to practice basic techniques for shaping balls, rolling coils, pinching pots and pressing slabs. Also, we are learning how to properly use and care for a variety of clay tools.

Week 1:  Explore:

Pinch, pat, pull apart, roll, and squish the clay together.

Using your hands, change the shape of the clay to show your idea.

Pass the “pick up” test.

Week 2 – Practice:

Draw different kinds of lines with a clay drawing tool.

Stamp designs with plaster and clay stamps.

Cut out shapes with metal shape cutters.

Explore textures with wooden tools.

Design a clay heart using the techniques above.

Pass the pick up test.

Week 3 – Assemble – parts to whole:

Envision an idea for a clay snowman, snowcat, bear or other animal.

Practice the “scratch and attach” technique.  (Scratch, scratch, wet, attach.)

Starting with balls and coils, model the body parts.

Assemble the parts together using “scratch and attach.”

Notice how parts put together make a whole object.

Pass the pick up test.

To be continued!!!

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Cut paper – art and science

Artist Rogan Brown

“We live in a world dominated by science,” Brown says. “Art needs to work hard to keep up or use the language and imagery of science for its own ends.”


Artist Rogan Brown’s paper sculptures are many times larger than the organisms that inspire them. Magic Circle Variation 5 is approximately 39 inches wide by 39 inches tall in its entirety. Brown has created multiple versions of Magic Circle, the shape of which alludes to a petri dish and a microscope lens.

Courtesy of Rogan Brown

Is This Snowy Wonderland or The World Inside a Petri Dish?

By Meredith Rizzo

Do you remember cutting paper snowflakes in school? Artist Rogan Brown has elevated that simple seasonal art form and taken it to science class.

These large-scale paper sculptures may evoke snow, but actually trade on the forms of bacteria and other organisms. The patterns may feel familiar, but also a bit alien.

Click HERE to read the full, fascinating story from NPR.

Is This Snowy Wonderland Or The World Inside A Petri Dish? By Meredith Rizzo
December 25, 20155:26 AM ET
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Stack and balance.

Take apart.

Put together in a new way.

Do this 3 times.

Stretch your thinking. 

Explore possibilities. 

Express your best idea. 

Glue together with wood glue.


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Kindness cards


This short Thanksgiving week in art, children shared their artistic talents. They drew, colored and designed “Kindness Cards” for people who go to the Weinberg Housing and Resource Center seeking food and shelter. These two basic human needs are studied in third grade.

The children worked in a purposeful, heartfelt manner. When asked about how someone might feel receiving a handmade “Kindness Card,” children said, “cared for,” “like they are not all alone,” and “loved.”

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Grades 1, 2 and 3

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Open studio

During a week of independent choices, children expressed new ideas by revisiting art tools and materials used during the past 11 weeks of school.

Grades 1, 2, and 3

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A peek . . .

 . . . at some familiar things in the art room.

Where would you find these?

Match the words to the pictures.

art map    book nook    child size sink    clay tools    construction paper    denim aprons    flat files    flowers    geometric shape templates    idea books    lava light    light box    Ms. H.’s clay bear      name tags    paintbrushes    pattern blocks    Prismacolors    recycled sun    rocking chair    rocks    tempera paint    tools and materials baskets    unit blocks    watercolors



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10 lessons

“Art is literacy of the heart.”

– Elliot Eisner

UnknownTen Lessons the Arts Teach

1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution
and that questions can have more than one answer.

3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.
One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving
purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity.
Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.

5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.

6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.
The arts traffic in subtleties.

7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material.
All art forms employ some means through which images become real.

8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.
When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.

9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source
and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.

10. The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young
what adults believe is important.


Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press.

Available from NAEA Publications. NAEA grants reprint permission for this excerpt from Ten Lessons with proper acknowledgment of its source and NAEA.

National Art Education Association
901 Prince Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314 USA
T: 800.299.8321/703.860.8000
F: 703.860.2960 (INTERNATIONAL: DIAL 011+1+NUMBER)



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