The Starry Night

First Grade – Ms. Smith

November, 2011

An Interpretation Through Texture::
Ms. Smith’s Kindergarten class learned about the works of Vincent Van Gogh and his mastery of creating textures with paint.  The class explored different textures from everyday life.  They took those everyday objects and created an interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.”  Textures were created using cotton, pasta, grains and other objects. The large black building-like object on the left of the original work was replaced with the Willis Tower, a Chicago landmark building known well to the class.

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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

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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

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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. 

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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.  

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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.

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Kindergarten – Mrs. Vincent

Volunteer – Sheryl Stoller

Project Synopsis:

The connection between art and writing was the focus.  A picture is contained within a frame.  One thought is expressed in one sentence which is framed in a structure that starts with a capital and ends with a stop sign.  Each sentence has one key subject and one key action.  I had the children tell me the key subject and action of each painting.  I made sentences from their input.  Then I had them draw their own drawings and dictate a sentence about their own drawing that started with a capital, ended with a period, and had one key subject and one key (active voice) action.


Posters:  Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of Erasures, Jenkins’s Phenomenona Royal Violet Visitation,

Frame mats used as frames, thick drawing paper, markers, lined paper for sentence titles. 

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Kindergarten – Mrs. Deia

Volunteer – Chris Peters-Novak

Project Synopsis:

“The Cider Mill” by John George Brown discussion evolved around colors, shapes and the seasons (autumn).    Focus on curriculum activities including shapes (circles, squares, triangles, trapezoid and rectangles).  We had apple cake for a snack.

A lot can be done with apples – print making, etc. for the project.  

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