Grade 2 – Fall Units Update


In second grade we started off the year with one of my favorite units.  This unit has students’ focus on observation and teaches them more about printmaking, one of my favorite types of art to make.

Students first start by learning about why artists draw from observation.  Our big idea for this unit is Artists draw to record what they see. Their job for the first class was to practice their observation skills and draw leaves from observation.  When you look at their final pieces you will notice that they observed the edges of the leaves, as well as the veins inside the leaves.

On day two, students transferred their best drawing to a styrofoam printing plate, and explored how they could create a rubbing with paper and crayons. You may have seen some of these awesome rubbings at home, because students were able to take them home the same day.

The rest of our unit was spent learning how to create a print, just like printmakers do.  They learned how to ink their plate using crayola markers, how to place the paper, and pull a print.  This required some practice and patience.


Drawing from observation on Day 1

Finally they selected their best print, titled it, and uploaded it to our online gallery on Artsonia using one of our art room iPads. Be sure to click-through to check out the entire gallery of work on Artsonia.  The best prints are also currently on display at Conant on one of the bulletin boards right off the front lobby.


Transferring the best drawing to their styrofoam printing plate on day 2


Creating rubbings of their printing plates on day 2


Learning and practicing their printmaking skills on days 3-5


In extra art room 8 has been exploring and learning about the built environment. Our big idea for this unit is Artists practice thoughtful observation of the built environment around them. While working on this unit students learned about two artists: Arthur Fuller Davis, who was a librarian at the Acton Memorial Library, and James Rizzi, who was a Pop Artist from New York

First students started by exploring drawings of various buildings around Acton on our iPads, to learn that buildings are made of basic shapes. On day two students started using their observation skills, drawing either Acton Town Hall, Exchange Hall, or the Acton Memorial Library. These observation drawings helped students understand the parts of a building, so they could then use their imagination to create buildings inspired by the artwork of James Rizzi.


Shape inventory using iPads and the app Explain Everything


Be sure to stop by Conant to check out a selection of work on display in the hall by room 5!  Also, visit our online art gallery on Artsonia to see all the James Rizzi inspired drawings.


Observation drawings of Acton buildings



Coloring James Rizzi inspired buildings


Grade 2 – Practice is Important – Printmaking


Second graders have spent many classes practicing how to create a print from their styrofoam printing plate.  This is called ‘pulling a print’, instead of ‘printing a print’.  Second graders had to keep their papers and printing plates still while printing, otherwise the prints they pulled would be smudged and blotchy.

It took a lot of focus, but the Studio Habits of Mind really help children remember the skills they needed to complete their work successfully.  The Studio Habits of Mind we focused on were engage & persist and develop craft.  

The reward for all their amazing practice was being allowed to print with multiple colors at one time.  Check out the images below to see the amazing work they did.  Also, if you visit Conant School, be sure to check out the work on display.  Students picked their best piece for display.

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Grade 2 – Observation Drawing & Prep for Printmaking


Students in grade 2 have been working on a number of the Studio Habits of Mind these past few weeks.  They’ve explored Observe, Engage & Persist, and Stretch & Explore, while working on observation drawings of leaves.

Observation Drawing Observation Drawing Observation Drawing Observation Drawing

After practicing drawing leaves over 2 class periods, students picked their best work, which was used to create a printing plate. Students then used the printing plates to explore texture rubbing.

In the following weeks we will exploring printmaking.

Choosing Best DrawingStyrofoam Printing Plate 2014-10-24_0013Texutre Rubbing


Styrofoam Leaf Prints from Direct Observation – Grade 2


Grade 2 artists just finished up their observation unit, with a couple of days of printmaking.  They used their leaf drawings to create a styrofoam print, and then spent a few classes practicing the printing process.  The ink they used was just regular crayola markers, which makes a bit more manageable for second graders.  One of our Big Ideas for this unit was that artists practice techniques, and boy was there a lot of practicing during the classes we printed.  For some students it was a challenge to get a ‘good’ print, but they kept at it, and completed the challenge on the final day.  A good print is one that does not have any smudging, and is completely printed.  Check out the photographs below for a sampling of this grade levels work, and visit Conant to see all of them on display by the music room.

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Room 7
Room 6
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Room 8
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Room 8

Leaf Drawings and Printmaking – Grade 2

Room 6

Second graders have worked hard on their leaf observation drawings, to prepare for our printmaking unit.  In these photos, you see students transferring their drawings to the styrofoam, which is our printing plate.  

These printing plates are then inked with markers, and printed multiple times.  Ask your child how much time they had to spend practicing to get the printmaking technique down.  It took awhile, but everyone persevered.  

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Room 6
Room 8
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Room 8


Radio Silence

As you may have noticed, things have been a bit quiet on the Conant Elementary Art blog….

That doesn’t mean students at Conant haven’t been going to art, though.  We’ve been doing lots of great things in art, and I’ve even been photographing them, I just haven’t been doing the best job of scheduling time to update the blog.  So, I’ve now added time to my schedule each week where I will focus on the blog.  That means you’ll be seeing lots of great artwork real soon.

To catch up with the photos I have photographed from weeks and months past, here are some images of what many of the classes at Conant have been working on in art.  

Grade 6 – Gesture Drawings with real models!  They did a great job observing and simplifying.
Grade 6 – In-process Wire Sculptures – There is a lot of Problem Solving going on in this unit!
Grade 2 – Styrofoam Printmaking using Observation skills
Grade K – Practice Paintings – They learned so much, like the parts of the brush, how to hold it correctly, and how to mix colors!
Grade 4 – Still Life Observation – Collage and Mixed Media. It took a lot of time and hard work to observe and create all the little details in the still life set up in the classroom.
Grade 1 – Temporary Sculptures and Observation Drawings
Thanks for checking out some of the great work that’s been made in art since the last blog update.