We do so many things in Kindergarten and the children's skills are growing with leaps and bounds. REALLY!

You have seen their self-portraits at the Art Show.

Recently we have been inspired by Cakes and how to draw them using the line vocabulary we already know.

Chinese New Year inspired our work in the wintertime.

In the next 2 weeks we will look at the work of Paul Klee for inspiration:
We will do a mixed media project and a printmaking project in response to his work.

Image result for klee castle and sun
and later Picasso:


We began the school year seeing the Kinders in their classroom. 
This works well as it gives them time to grow and get used to the commotion and routines of school. It gives me time to get to know their names and personalities.

I begin almost all lessons with a story book related to what we are about to do. That strategy seems the most effective for getting their attention on the topic of the day and books are one of their most familiar ways of looking at art. 

Many of their projects have come home already or have been displayed by their classroom teacher. Soon we will begin saving them at school for the spring Capitol Hill Art Show.

The kids are developing their skills well and doing nice work.

Chinese New Year is the subject of the next couple art projects. Students are learning in their classroom and in the art room.

We learned about how pandas got their black fur with the myth of the panda - and now we will be looking at the celebrations and parades that feature the Chinese Dragon.


As I reported we are taking things slowly as the  students are building their stamina for whole day of school. They are making noticeable progress. Seriously!
Today we read a book about a dog "Stinky Louis" who wants his own smells, not that of a bubble bath. The students then learned to draw the dog, but added some line details that they had practiced on a previous project.

I see such growth in persistence and skill. You will be impressed as much as I am.


Kindergarten art class is different this year, we are meeting more frequently- 45 minutes 1x/week alternating with 2x/week. I am interested to see if their art skills grow with this additional time together. The art class is right after lunch, so you can imagine that the energy level is not at it's peak. The students will grow and build stamina in the next few months.

As the beginning of the year is overwhelmingly new for them, we are taking it slowly, limiting complexity of work and building basic skills and vocabulary.

The first lessons emphasize drawing with shapes as a way to highlight the importance of shapes (which are truly essential in art class) and to slow down the drawing movement, providing opportunity for fine motor growth and control.
We usually begin reading a story book.

Students are doing well :) 
"Cat and Mouse in the Night"

Of course so much is happening I can't quite keep up with the communication.
In January and most of February we did projects inspired by Chinese New Year.

Now we have moved on to a couple projects inspired by this painting by Paul Klee. 

We are doing 2x projects from this beginning.
First students used a new printing technique to "build" a structure of their own. The "printed" with straight pieces of cardboard and the circles made by stamping dixie cups into black paint.
This is a first for me for this particular printing, but I think it was a fun (and quite messy) start to the project.

Then as you can see, they are filling their buildings using watercolor paint.

We had taken time at the beginning of this lesson to make painted and texture rubbing paper materials for supplies. We will take some time in the near future to cut those supplies in to bricks and "build" our own structure with a different approach.

1/25/16 by Uri Shulevitz has been one of my favorite books since my own children were little. Mr.Shulevitz captures how children are so excited by snow, spying it before the adults plus its magical beauty as it transforms the village. 

Students are asked to make their
own "village" using only cut paper. 
They are asked to make 4 buildings with a door, roof and windows. They are given a variety of color papers and set to work.

"Why can't we draw details?" "Because I want you to develop your scissor and gluing skills. I know its harder, and that is the point, to challenge yourself and improve as you practice."
Here are a few in process:

dot, dot, not a lot!

We are quickly moving on to projects about Chinese New Year on February 8th.

As Kindergarten families know, we have been consistently busy in the art room.
After Thanksgiving the students began coming to the art room as opposed to me teaching their lesson in their classroom. This is a huge advantage for both of us and by T-giving they have learned about school and classroom routines and are more familiar with the building lay-out-which is really HUGE, I know their names and who should sit by who. Its good. 
They made a wonderful transition and again are learning and growing.

See the main page for what we did recently.

Snow Bear and warm+cool colors and a chance to work on fine motor control with coloring.

And most recently students were read "Where the Wild Things Are" a classic by Maurice Sendak.
They were given some instruction about how to draw monsters like Sendak and off they went....doing another great job.

 Recent self-portraits - a real treasure!

What a year and I am so remiss. 
You might have heard from your child that they do have had art class once/week, so we have been busy, even though photos have not been shared.
I am hopeful that you have seen their work displayed in their classroom and will see more of it during parent-teacher conferences.

The goals for most of our projects in the first half of the year are fine motor control and the use of scissors and attending to multi-step well as an opportunity for individual expression.

The students are a bright and capable crop! truthfully, and are learning so quickly.
As I am so behind here I am just going to post pictures from all the projects we have been doing. Generally they are one session projects, but will get bigger and longer later in the school year.

 Scissor work with an owl story and theme.


"A House for Hermit Crab" by Eric Carle
Today we read this book by Eric Carle about a Hermit Crab who out-grows his home. 
I showed the students how to draw their own hermit crab and decorate his/her shell and put them to work.
They did a GREAT job! See.... Yay they have learned so much and really developed good, controlled skills!

"Diary of a Worm"

Students just completed a mixed media project inspired by our reading of Diary of a Worm. They never fail to enjoy drawing the underground home of a happy young worm.
Recently I have observed a clear improvement in the children's fine motor skills.
Here is what they produced:

We have been working steadily in art class and flowers seem to be the recent theme.
Students began with the opportunity to draw and paint a realistic picture of a pansy. I purchased some at Freddies. I told the students, if we have a real flower to look at and draw, it is called realism and the goal is to look at it accurately and try to draw it. Such controlled focus and discipline in rendering is new for the children. They did a great job, once they got used to the idea.

Next students had a chance to draw a real daffodil. The concept was much easier this time.

Most recently students looked at this drawing/print by Pablo Picasso.

Kinders were then asked to trace their own hands and draw 3x flowers, making them using shape combinations. This all was a little tricky, but they did a great job of it.

Auction project is underway.
With lots of parent support, Kindergarteners worked on their individual contribution to the auction project.
Here are some previews and I for one think the results are pretty cute.

Chinese New Year

Kindergarteners are thinking about Chinese New Year, (2/19/15, year of the Sheep).
They did 2 projects inspired by this theme.

*A panda drawing, with the opportunity to “print” their bamboo forest. 

We read a silly book about Milton the panda, to get them in the mood and then students learned how to draw their own panda.
Printing the forest came a week later.

*A Chinese dragon from the Dragon Parade celebration at the New Year- drawing, coloring and painting.

Students were read a non-fiction book about a little boy who participates in the Lion Dance within the New Year's celebration. We also looked a a couple videos of the event.
Kinders did a complex drawing of their own Chinese dragon and then added fireworks with paint to their finished picture.

Looking at both projects, you can see each has several steps to their process.

Think Snow!

Happy New Year.
We read Uri Shulevitz's "Snow" and students were given the assignment of making a village out of cut paper.
They did well, using their cutting and gluing skills.
After they complete 4x houses, they will add some snow!
Here is some of their starts:


We read "A Tree is Nice," by Mary Udry about all the ways we appreciate and value trees.
Students had a chance to make their own tree, doing curly coloring to create a bark texture and tearing and reassembling the paper the build a tree.
In the next class, we reviewed the book and students had a chance to draw and add some of the fun things they do on a tree.

Here are some of their results.

The past week in class, students made a self-portrait using only lines. They were given some instruction about how to draw a face and then asked to make a background using only lines that do not bump into one another. The plan was to get them drawing slowly and really looking at their lines in order to be more intentional and gain control.
Here are some of the results. Pretty great I think.
More are on display in the front hall of the building.


Where the Wild Things Are 
What a book! It reads like poetry to me.
Anyway, I read it to the students today and then they had the chance to draw their own "wild thing."
(It seemed like an appropriate story with the approach of Halloween).


Cats/Dogs/other furry creature on a Rug.
Kindergarten students were given the opportunity to learn to draw a cat or a dog or a bunny, using an oval and circle. They were then asked to add some kind of furry texture with oil pastels and and cut it out with scissors. The next time we got together, students designed a "rug," colored and cut it out and we assembled the whole project.

They are very cute and each is unique.
Why do I do this lesson with the children?
I like the students to begin to see the world and how to draw as a combination of shapes. It is about the easiest way to draw. 
The lesson is kind of formulaic - yes it is - but it gives the kids some simple steps to a successful drawing that is recognizable and they can be proud of.
This project involves, drawing, then going over the drawn lines with a sharpie. That in itself is good fine motor practice for students who are just learning to write and control their drawing movements.
Cutting the cat out. That is difficult and there was a "animal hospital" on stand by to tape and repair the injured creatures with amputated parts.
Multiple steps and directions- students are building their stamina and skills for mentally holding on to multi step projects.
The Kinders get to make choices in coloring and what kind of creature to make and what color and kind of rug. 
I love to see their choices and each unique interpretation. In this first month, I have already seen so much growth.

Finally, here is some of their work:

Students had their first art class yesterday and did a very good job following directions. Many of the students have good fine motor skills and while some others may not -yet, they will improve and learn quickly.

We began by reviewing shapes, which is already a big part of the kindergarten curriculum. Shapes are quite important in art and often direct how we discuss the creation of forms in drawing and sculpture. What? As in, you can draw many four legged creatures by using a rectangle or oval for the body and four skinny rectangles for legs....
Students were to create a stack of shapes, or as a student said "tower." They learned one of our common art class processes of drawing with pencil, going over the lines with sharpie. They also were instructed to make an inner line with color and lay the color (marker or crayon) with layer strokes. (It is less confusing to show you than tell you).
Here are a few of their skillful results:

Class is for one hour/week. I believe we will have a very good year.

Art class for these students begins on 9/11/14.
Look for images and explanation on 9/12.
I know it will be a good year in school for these children!

art class volunteer
Please let me know if you are free to help in art class. Everyone benefits from more adults in the room and it is a fun time to see your child in action.

Ms Scheller - 9:25-10:25
Mrs. Browne- 11:45-12:45
Ms. Marsh- 1:00-2:00

We will be having class in THEIR homeroom until late November.
Please let me know if you will be helping.
Thank you,

Nancy Helmsworth

Spring seems to be coming so the students looked some pansies and drew in a realistic style, looking at the real shapes of the flower petals and leaves. They then painted with watercolor and were allowed to be realistic or fantastic, whatever they wanted.  They did a good job!

Students were introduced to Paul Klee's "Castle and Sun." They observed the different shapes and colors assembled to make what they thought looked like a city or a castle.
I had the students use oil pastel and bright watercolor to "make paper" for their materials for making their own castle.

The paper was cut into stripes and students were asked to cut blocks and shapes to build a castle/building. They were to work up from the bottom and to use their good sense of balance.
Below Klee's work are some examples of the student work.

More about Chinese New Year, last class we talked about the Dragon Dance during the New Year parade.  Students learned how to draw their own dragon. They did a great job as you will see.

Here is the example for the final version.

Milton the Early Riser, a silly book about a panda started our conversation about China.  We spoke briefly about how pandas live in China and eat bamboo.  Students learned how to draw and color a simple panda, which we then glued to a larger paper and sponge printed a bamboo forest for him to eat.
Here are a few examples of the students' work.

Chinese New Year is 1/30/14  and it is the year of the Horse.  We will be using our time in art class to focus on a couple Chinese themed projects.

Previously we read Uri Shulevitz's book Snow as an inspiration for a cut paper project. Students were to make a "village" using only cut paper, that they had to modify themselves.  They worked on the skills of using their scissors and glue (a very practical skill ;). The second step was to add snowfall and to consider how snow drifts down and catches on the top edges of things (later in their art career that is how I explain how light falls on objects).
Students of course enjoyed the painting of the snow.  Snow + paint= what is not to like?

Here is some of the work before the "snow."


Fall trees have been the topic in the classroom and with our art projects.  
We began by reading "A Tree is Nice" by Janice Udry.
Students used a collage process to make trees with a trunk, branches and twigs.  They got to scribble on paper and then tear it up and reassemble it.
The next step was to add creatures that would live in the tree and to draw ways a kid could have fun with a tree.  Think bugs, squirrels and lots of swings and tree houses.
Lastly students added paint for the fall leaves.
The work is vibrant and creative.

Halloween is in the air for all children.

Apologies for being remiss on my updates.

Students have spent the last few weeks doing a series of exercises seeing shapes.
They have drawn a cat/dog/rabbit, using shapes.

They have drawn the Pigeon, from "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" in a series of 3x, as a story starter.
They have draw a Wild Thing from "Where the Wild Things Are." (Mrs B's class, next week, Ms. M and Ms.S)
All this drawing has a purpose:
To help students learn to illustrate their ideas clearer/clearly (which helps their writing), to strengthen fine motor control, to practice following multiple step by step directions and to increase stamina for effort and focus.
The Kinders are doing quite well on all those things, some naturally and some with prodding.

Today they drew Witches:

9/27/13  -  SUNFLOWERS

What is prettier than a sunflower in September?
Students looked at real sunflowers and had a reminder about the simple vocabulary of stem, leaves petals and seeds. Confirming a vocabulary, is so basic to all lessons (and actually basic to all information we share with each other).  And then back to "shapes".....student were shown and then asked to make a sunflower from cut paper, how to make a square from a rectangle paper, how to make a circle from a square paper (this is really handy), how to make petals from a strip of paper and the most difficult, how to make a leaf from a rectangle (cut thinking about the diagonal).

Students had to do lots of cutting themselves and had to glue their flower on the background paper.

 This project is a significant challenge, with the manual tasks and the multi-step directions.  Of course they did well and the results are individual and delightful.

Yay for Kinders!

examples of student work:

Next (last friday and this monday) we will do a drawing about balance and review how to draw shapes.  We reviewed shape vocabulary and the concept of balance.  Kindergarteners are experts at building with blocks and know balance and shapes.  They remembered that it is best to begin with a flat shape at the base and that if objects are placed to one side or the other, the "weight" will have to be balanced out somewhere else.
The students did a fantastic job and some work was surprisingly complex.  I will post some examples after the Monday class.  You too will be impressed.

This project gives me a chance to talk about how to color completely and is good fine motor control practice for the students.  All the drawing and coloring helps the children learn to manage their movements and aids in the development of their handwriting skills.  Orienting the shapes on the paper is further practice of control and intention.

Kindergarten- Kindergarten began with a self-portrait.  Students were given reminders of all the parts of the face and some simple directions about how to begin....and they did.  They drew with fine tip felt pens and added color and decoration with crayons.  The students’ work is quite good and charming as only the work of a child can be.  I hope you admired them at the Back-to-school night or can stop into the classroom to see the display soon.

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