Grade 4 – Fall Units Update


Fourth graders have been very busy in regular art, learning how to create a realistic looking still life drawing.  They learned how to show space or depth in their work by overlapping objects and how to draw cylinders 3-dimensionally.  To understand these concepts, students utilized our class iPads and the app Explain Everything to photograph still lifes they set up, and draw on the photographs.  This helped them see how to draw what they were seeing. Finally students practiced observation drawings in pencil, and moved onto their final, which was colored with oil pastels.

Check out the in progress photographs below, and be sure to visit Conant to check out some of the work on display in the front lobby.  OR visit our online gallery on Artsonia to see all the work.

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In extra art, which ended this past week, students in room 19 worked on a weaving unit that combined science and art.  The work was inspired by the artist Nathalie Miebach who creates sculptural basket weavings that are determined by a collection of scientific data, typically weather data. Students learned and studied her work, and then set out to use a data set of their choosing to create a pouch weaving.  The most popular data set was the temperature of a particular location for a month or so.  Students were able to use weather underground to research data as far back as 2005, in a number of locations all around the world.

Be sure to check out the in progress photos below, and visit our online gallery on Artsonia to see the finished pouches, and to read the artist statements explaining what data they used.

We also have big things coming with units that student teacher Miss LeBold has developed for these last few weeks before the winter break.  Be sure to check the ConantArt instagram feed for more frequent updates!


Regular Art Update: Grades 3 & 4


Grade 3: Third graders learned about the group of artist known as the Fauvists.  We looked at some of the paintings by Henri Matisse and compared them to Claude Monet, to learn about how the Fauvists were creating paintings very different from most painters at the time. Taking our cues from the Fauvists, third graders were limited in their color choices, and were pushed to try non-representational colors for their landscapes. Check out some in-process photos below, and make sure to click through to see the finished pieces on Artsonia!

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Grade 4: This new unit has to be one of my favorite new units this year.  Inspired by a high school art teacher from North Carolina, I decided to share with fourth grade my love of street art.  We looked at Shepard Fairey’s work, and talked about the art of street art.  They had lots of questions, mostly about it being legal or not! Their assignment was to collaborate with a partner to create a hitchhiker street art character.  Check out the many photos below, and click through to see everyone’s work on Artsonia!

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Grade 3 – Biography Portraits


Third graders finished up their biography portraits a few weeks ago, and I have been able to get most of their chatterpix videos uploaded to youtube to share with you.  If you are just learning about the biography portraits now, check out my previous post to learn more about the process, and so you can check out our Artsonia gallery to see all the amazing drawings!

When they finished up these amazing observation drawings, they were given the task of taking a photo of their work with one of our class iPads, so they could give their subject matter a voice.  Be sure to take a peek!  You will learn so much about all the people they researched!

Extra Art Update: Grades 4-6


This year, students in grades 1-6 are rotating through an extra class of all 3 specials.  So that means each class gets to see me for extra art for 1/3 of the year.

I’ve been doing separate extra art units, instead of one class getting far ahead of the others.

Check out below to see what’s happened so far this year in extra art, grades 4-6!

Grade 4: Pouch Weavings

Students in fourth grade have been learning about and working on their pouch weavings.  When room 19 was here at the beginning of the year, they did traditional cardboard loom pouch weavings, where they decided on a color scheme, and decided if they wanted to do a pattern or a design.

During the fall I took a class through the EDCO collaborative that had a focus on using Contemporary Artists in the elementary art classroom.  I also presented at and attended the Massachusetts Art Education Association conference in November, and was inspired the keynote speaker Nathalie Miebach.

It was because of those two experiences I decided to rework the pouch weaving unit.  Nathalie uses weather data to create these amazing basket weavings.  Check out her Ted Talk here for more information!  It’s super cool. So, when room 18 came to extra art, I shared Nathalie’s work with the class, and each student came up with a focus for their weavings.  Some students needed to access weather data daily, so I created bookmarks for them to access on our class set of iPads.  Other students decided to gather their data on their own, so they took notes of what they observed outside our classroom window.

I’ve loved this re-imagined unit, and I just found out from the classroom assistant that is in that classroom that Nathalie’s work will be on display at the Fitchburg Art Museum.  The exhibit is called naturetech, and includes two other artists who use data to influence their work.  Click through for more info, and if you can, I’d highly suggest the artist talk on March 22 at 1:30pm.

Also, be sure to check out the Artsonia Gallery to see everyone’s completed weavings!

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Grade 5: Sol LeWit Collaborative Work & Artists Interviews

This is another new unit for this year, that was inspired by some professional development I participated in over the summer.  I was lucky enough to be able to go to the MTA Summer Conference in Williamstown, MA.  While there I took some time to visit Mass MOCA, where I finally got to see the amazing exhibit of Sol LeWitt’s work, who was a Conceptual artist who who write or create diagrams for ‘wall drawings’ that others would follow to create his work.  The actually artwork that was sold was the direction or diagram.  If you haven’t been out to Mass MOCA to see his work, I highly recommend it.

To explore his work, grade 5 students have been exposed to a number of his ‘wall drawings’, through a class lecture and more importantly via recreating the wall drawings using the directions Sol LeWitt created. They created group drawings and a whole class drawing.  At the end of the unit, they also divided into groups to interview each other.

Check out the work in our Artsonia Gallery, and check out the ConantArt youtube page to check out room 14’s videos.  I will post room 16’s interviews as soon as they finish them in the next couple of weeks.

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Grade 6: Fantastical Pen Design & Animation Tutorials

Six graders have worked through two units during extra art. They explored functional art, and envisioned, designed, and created sculpey pens.  I have done this unit in previous years, but it hasn’t always made the cut due to time.  I’m so happy I’ve been able to fit it back in.  The second unit that six graders worked on was a series of workshops that helped them learn how to create stop motion animations.  This unit was developed thanks to the amazing work the Animation Chefs have done.  Their youtube page is a great source of inspiration and tutorials.  Here I’ve linked to the handful that I used with six grade.

Be sure to check out our Artsonia Gallery to see the amazing pens the six graders have made.  Also, check back later in the year to see the original animations that they will be creating.

Grade 6 – Mini Animation Unit – Extra Art


To wrap up the first trimester of extra art for grade 6 (room 12) I introduced students to stop motion animation.  Later in the year, in regular art, they will animate wire sculptures they make. Having this time to teach them how to use the ipads and app to animate has been great.

It’s also been an important lesson in collaboration.  I think many tables have learned that you have to listen to what the other people at your table want to do, and you have to be respectful and considerate to be successful. It was a bonus to be able to figure these things out during this unit and not during the ‘final’ animation unit.

To develop this mini animation unit, I used the amazing resources created by the Animation Chefs. They are a group of brothers, and their dad (who is an animator), who started making tutorial videos teaching kids how to animate.  On their website they have shared ‘secret recipes’ that break down how to make someone blink, or blur, or even how to make  your character look like they are talking.  Check out my post on my art ed blog for more information about how I teach stop motion animation, and the resources I have gathered.

Check back after the Thanksgiving break for the videos that were created during this mini animation unit!


Our work at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum is still on view


If you didn’t get a chance to see the piece we created for the Dream Rocket project in person, you have a bit longer before it get’s packed up and shipped to Kansas. The exhibit at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum in Lowell is on display now through, November 30.

I was lucky to go earlier this month, along with Mrs. Antonuccio, and a handful of students and their families. It was so great to see the piece we created, but even cooler to see the other work that was submitted.  Below are a few of my favorites!

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Global Village by Sándor Kisfaludy High School, Sümeg, Hungary & The Story of Me by Meg Wieboldt, Winthrop Harbor, IL

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An Ohio Family’s Circular History by Susi Soler, Columbus, OH, Freedom to Learn by Kathleen Wheaton, Fairport, NY, Flowery Dreams by Sándor Kisfaludy High School, Sümeg, Hungary


Grade 5 – Sol LeWitt Collaboration – Extra Art

2014-10-14_0001Students in room 14 have been working on a collaborative piece that explores the work of Sol LeWitt.  I was inspired to share his work with my students after a visit to Mass MOCA this summer.  Check out some in-process photos, and click through to listen to the sound of their collaboration.2014-10-14_0002

 listen to ‘The Sound of Collaboration -Sol LeWitt’ on audioBoom