Simple Sculpture :: Alberto Giacometti

Kindergarten – Ms. Whitley

January 27, 2010

The task this day for the Art Appreciation Lesson was to sculpt figures, either animal or human using the elongated, stretched-out forms sculpted by Giacometti as inspiration. The children used pipe cleaners and wrapped them in tin foil, then molded their figures.

Giacometti’s sculptures were very often of the human form, in various activities and poses, but not necessarily limited to this. The kids were shown many pictures of Giacometti sculptures, some animal, and asked to make their own sculpture to take home. What came from the lesson were fun figures made by hand by each child, formed and molded to create whatever figure they had imagined. It was a fun, tactile lesson that engaged everyone, even the volunteers!

-lesson conducted by Eliza Buckner and Ellen Maliff

Amish Quilting

Third Grade – Mrs. Peterson

May 21, 2009

Project Synopsis:

Today in Art Appreciation, Mrs. Peterson’s students learned about the history of Amish Quilting in the United States. They learned that the tradition of Amish quilting began in the late 1800’s. the quilts were very conservative in pattern and color, consisting mainly of black, blue, rust or brown. Cotton or wool was used to construct the quilt. Their quilts began as whole cloth quilts and then moved to large piece quilts. By the 1940’s, the Amish were using brighter colors, pastels and even some printed fabrics to make their quilts.

Quilting is done by the women of the community, during the winter months, when they are not needed outside to help on the farm as much. The Amish traditionally make quilts for weddings, babies, friendship and fundraisers. Today, however, quilting bees are held to produce quilts to be sold to the general public and raise money for the Amish community.

Our project involved creating a 9 patch quilt block using various colored and patterned paper. We discussed the importance of MATH and MEASURING in respect to creating consistent patters.

-lesson conducted by Jill Goldstein

Art Vocabulary Words:

Quilt Sandwich: The 3 essential layers of a quilt consisting of the top, batting and the backing.

Nine Patch: The quilt patter made from 9 equally sized squares, 3 across and 3 down.

Quilting Bee: A social gathering of people to work on and complete a given task, in this case, a quilt.

Lesson in Pointillism

Kindergarten – Mrs. Whitley

April 7, 2010

Project Synopsis:

The students in Ms. Whitley’s kindergarten class were introduced to the pointillism method of painting, and were shown many samples of Georges Seurat’s paintings through his career. A projection of Seurat’s “Eiffel Tower” was shown as inspiration, and the students were asked to make their own Eiffel Tower using only the tip of the paint brush to make dots on the paper. By the end of the lesson, all of the students filled their paper and the result was an array of lovely interpretations of the famed French landmark in an assortment of different colors, shapes and styles!

-lesson conducted by Eliza Buckner and Ellen Maliff

Who Am I? The Self Portrait

4th Grade – Ms. Fotopoulos & Mrs. Musselman

Project Synopsis:

Why do artists create self portraits? Why do they create other peoples portraits? Today your child participated in an Art Appreciation project that centered around the questions that arise when one tries to answer the question, “Who am I?” and “Who are you?” We looked at the figurative paintings of Alex Katz for inspiration. We talked about the way Katz created large fields of color within the portraits and flattens the space by eliminating detail. Each student was challenged to answer the question of “Who am I” and create a large scale self portrait.

-lesson conducted by Jill Goldstein

LINCOLN – Looking at Portraits


Dear Wonderful Art Parents – 

As you probably know, February 12, 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.  We are trying to launch a school wide celebration of this grand milestone, so I thought I would make you aware of some LINCOLN resources that you may want to incorporate into your program and work with our kids! 

The following links are that I found that could be used to help the kids understand portraiture (and use the portraits of ABE)–

Picturing America Lesson Plan (poster available in media center)



Resources/lesson plans available through the National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian

 Guide to portrait reading- (RECOMMENDED!)



Lesson plans with related art materials- 






Of course, there are numerous other things you creative types can come up with (construction paper stove pipe hats?!)


Please let me know if you will be helping us out with our Lincoln campaign –I will help all that I can (note I absolutely have no artistic talent!)—I can certainly help track down resource material.


Thanks so much,

Kathy Rolfes



Kindergarten AM – Ms. Serio

Volunteeers – Beth Burdin w/ Special Guest Conrad Fialkowski

Project Synopsis:


Two Examples, Eight Faces

Face drawing:

 The students were shown various facial features’ expressions, and how those can communicate different emotions.

 Using pre-drawn head outlines, the kids could sketch any combination of the emotive features they were shown to create their own drawings of expressive faces. 

 We shared and discussed the students’ sketches with the class.


Teaching Face Drawing at the Dry Erase Board

Teaching Face Drawing at the Dry Erase Board

Flip books:

 Students then studied pre-assembled flip books to learn how animated cartoons are created.  Small changes are made from one sketch to the next to create action. 


Thankful Tree

Thankful Tree

Kindergarten AM – Ms. Serio

Volunteeers – Bev Yamashita

Project Synopsis:  

As part of an Art Appreciation Project, the class learned about the painter and artist, Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954).  Throughout his career Matisse used paper models to help him compose his paintings.  


During the last decade of his life, after two serious operations left him in poor health, he worked more and more with paper cutouts. – something he could do sitting up in bed or in an armchair.  By 1951, he stopped painting and devoted himself exclusively to making large-scale paper cutouts and drawings.

With scissors, Matisse would cut colored papers into beautiful shapes, which he then pinned loosely to the white studio walls, later adjusting, recutting, combining, and recombining them to his satisfaction. The result created beautiful artwork that transcended the boundaries of conventional painting, drawing, and sculpture.  Later, the shapes were glued to large white paper backgrounds for shipping or display.  Henri Matisse produced some 270 paper cutouts in his lifetime. 

During class, each child selected one or more squares of construction paper in fall leaf colors (red, orange, yellow, brown), and proceeded to trace their handprints onto the paper.  On the palm of each handprint, the child wrote their name along with something they were thankful for this holiday season.  Like Matisse, the children proceeded to carefully cut out the handprint shapes, and decorate a large tree (made of brown felt) that was glued to an artist’s canvas board.  The finished artwork was a beautiful abstract presentation of a “Thankful Tree”, with the handprints attached like leaves to the branches.  


BLU - Mural in Livorno

BLU - Mural in Livorno


Grade 3 – Ms. Germanier

Volunteers – Mike Ciacciarelli, Adrienne Winner, Alison White

Project Synopsis:

We introduced the children to the concept of street art vs. graffiti.  We talked about how the use of public space for permissible art projects can help beautify a cityscape instead of detract from it.  We looked at a “reverse graffiti” project from San Francisco, the large-scale mural work of Italian artist Blu, and finally we looked at how the Brazilian duo 6EMEIA have been colorizing the sewer drains of Sao Paolo.  To expand upon the idea of “reverse graffiti” the children used scratch tools on black scratch paper to reveal bright colors underneath.  In this way, they showed how there is much color and creativity beneath the layers of pollution and dirt.  As a take-home, they were given simple outlines of a 6EMEIA sewer drain and encouraged to color the space as they would if given the opportunity to paint a sidewalk in Oak Park.



6EMEIA - Bunny Sewer Drain

6EMEIA - Bunny Sewer Drain


6EMEIA - Mouse Sewer Drain

6EMEIA - Mouse Sewer Drain


NOTE:  We used a laptop connected to the Epson projector in the classroom to show examples of street art and play the movies.


Examples of Kids' Scratch Art "Reverse" Graffiti

Examples of Reverse Graffiti from Ms. Germanier's Class




Kindergarten PM – Mr. Jerkatis

Volunteeers – Gina Robbins

Project Synopsis:  

Mr.  Jekatis’ PM Kindergarten class learned about Native American Art and the Native Americans’ respect for the natural world.  We read the book, Giving Thanks:  A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp and then painted pictures on bark paper of items from the natural world for which we are thankful.  We decorated the borders of our paintings with signs and symbols from the Plains tribes.

Instructions:  Paint a picture on bark paper of an aspect of nature for which you are thankful.  Create a border to your painting using Native American symbols.


  • Bark or natural fiber paper with 2-inch border drawn in pencil
  • Tempera paints
  • paper cups (to fill with water)
  • small and large brushes
  • handout of Native American designs and symbols
  • pencil


Step One

While children are learning about Native American art and traditions, place a sheet of bark paper, a handout of symbols and one small and one large brush at each student’s place.  Place plates with 4-5 colors of tempera paint and cups of water to be shared between students.


Step Two

Have the children return to their seats and turn their paper over and write their names on the back.  Have them return their paper to the side that has a penciled border.  Tell them to think of something in nature that they are thankful for. Some examples are:  a tree, a bird, a fish, a lake, etc.


Step Three

Have the children pick up their large brushes and begin painting a picture of that one thing in the middle of their papers.  Remind them that if they need to change color, they can use the water to wash their brushes.  Play some traditional music as they work.


Step Four

When they have finished painting their nature images, ask them to study the handout of symbols and invite them to decorate their borders with those symbols using their smaller brush and black paint.  As they complete their paintings, record what children have painted on index cards to later be displayed with each painting.

PAUL KLEE – Art & Music


Grade 3 – Mrs. Peterson

Volunteers – Jill Goldstein

Project Synopsis: 

We created a set of paintings that were inspired by Paul Klee’s art and his love of music.  We listened to Telemann’s Suite from “La Bizarre” and Gato Barbieri’s jazz saxaphone while working on the paintings. 

We discussed how music can influence the type of mark that is made on the page as well as the colors that an artist may choose to work with.  We also talked about making art that does not mimic what a camera can produce, but creating a new world for the audience. 

Art Vocabulary Words:
Line, Wash, Mark, Color Field, Pattern, Movement, Texture