Google Doodles by 8th

Eighth graders began this project with a screening of the documentary, Home. This film looks at how climate change is affecting our planet’s natural resources and in turn our earth’s population.

Each student then chose from a variety of issues related to climate change, including efforts to stop global warming. With their topic in hand, they created a Google Doodle inspired by their issue.

Silhouette Drawings & Cyanotypes

Fourth grade learned about Victorian Era silhouette art. This popular and affordable style of portraiture required only a black piece of paper, scissors, and careful observation on the part of the artist. Some artists even built elaborate machines to make the process easier. Students used Makerspace to invent their own machines for capturing each other’s silhouettes. Then, using pictures taken in profile, students cut out their silhouettes and traced them to white paper. They filled their images with words that describe themselves.

With the advent of photography, silhouette art became less popular. One of the most direct ways to capture a photograph is a method called cyanotyping. All it requires is paper coated with the correct chemicals, an object, and 30 minutes in the sun. Students cut their silhouettes once again, this time out of black paper. We lay the cut silhouettes on top of the cyanotype paper and left them in the sun. The silhouettes act as a kind of stencil, preventing light from passing through to the paper. After 30 minutes the paper is washed in water to remove any residual chemicals, and left to dry. Some students added leaves and other natural materials to their cyanotypes as a kind of wallpaper to their image.    



Sun Dance Skulls by 2nd

The Sun Dance is an important tradition among the Lakota-Sioux. This dance takes place during the summer and is a celebration of the gifts of the year. Because the buffalo provide an abundance of food and materials for clothing and shelter, the skull of the buffalo is an important part of the ritual. Often adorned with paint and feathers, these skulls are transformed into works of art.

Using an armature of cardboard and tape, second graders used plaster gauze to create their own buffalo skulls. They then used acrylic paint to add color and pattern.


African Masks by 3rd


Following our study of Pablo Picasso, third graders looked at how the artist’s work was influenced by African Art. Exaggerated and often geometric facial features can be observed in both this 19th century Fang mask and in Picasso’s famous painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

Third graders created a paper template for their ceramic mask, which also emphasized dramatic facial features and symmetry. The template was then traced to a slab of clay, and additional details were added. A glazing technique, similar to wood staining, was used to complete the masks.

Hand-Lettered Secrets

This is just one of the many wonderful lessons I came home with from this year’s National Art Education Conference:

Students in sixth through eighth grade wrote a secret on a card, folded it, and dropped it into a bowl. Then each student picked a secret out of the bowl and created a text based work of art considering font and page layout.

To aid in the craftsmanship of the finished work, we used the app Whitelines, which allows students to work on a gridded paper. You then hold your phone over the finished artwork, and the app removes the grid and ups the contrast. Color can be added before this step, but I found the app had a harder time recognizing color so we added color after printing the first version.


Artists A-Z (A Kindergarten Alphabet Art Show)

“Ms. Eargle, this is like trick-or-treating but better because instead of collecting candy you get to collect artwork!” -Zachary

Throughout the year, Kindergarteners spent each week learning about an artist or art technique whose name corresponds to a letter in the alphabet. By late April, each student had a portfolio of 26 artworks, ranging from painting to drawing, sculpture, and even site-specific installation.

With their vocabulary of artists in hand, we traveled to the National Gallery of Art, where students looked for the work of artists we had studied in class.

This day long field trip was followed by an art exhibition that took over much of the wall space throughout the school. Family and friends joined the young artists, as they sung a song about all of the artists they had been introduced to. Then each family dispersed into the hallways to look at a year’s worth of work.

A-C (Karel Appel, Charles Burchfield, Alexander Calder)

D-F (Jean Dubuffet, Shannon Ebner, Frida Kahlo)

G-I (Gerhard Richter, Howard Hodgkin, Zon Ito)

J-L (Jasper Johns, Gustav Klimt, Annie Leibovitz)

M-O (Henri Matisse, Louise Nevelson, Claes Oldenburg)

P-R (Pablo Picasso, Quilt, Faith Ringgold)

S-U (Georges Seurat, Wayne Thiebaud, Jerry Uelsmann)

V-Z (Vincent Van Gogh, Weaving, X-Ray, Jack Youngerman, Zuperman!)

Estefania said she likes Ebner because that art spelled words and she liked to spell Friendship with art.

Madeline liked Richter and loved spreading and mixing colors with the squeegee.

Nathan like Zuperman because he loved turning himself in to a super hero with powers.

Patrick likes Nevelson because he loved working with wood to make things the way she did.

Penny likes Annie Leibovitz because she likes to pose for the camera.

Peyton likes Frida Kahlo because Frida likes animals and so does Peyton.

Ruby likes Van Gogh because the backgrounds of his paintings are colorful and interesting.

Saanvi likes Annie Leibovitz because she liked taking pictures and posing.

Zachary likes Van Gogh  because he likes the swirls and stars and colors in Starry Night.

Face Jugs by 4th

Face jugs, also known as ugly jugs, date back to the 14th century. They were a common form of art among African American slaves living in the North and South Carolina’s during the mid-1800s. Some historians speculate that the grotesque features of the face indicate that they were used for spiritual purposes. For example, to ward off evil spirits. This theory is backed up by archaeological findings, which have shown that a large proportion of face jugs were buried at the entrance of former slaves’ homes. It is possible that this location was designed to prevent evil spirits from entering the home.

Fourth graders used red clay and the pinch and coiling techniques to create the head of their vessel. Additional red clay, with accents of white, were used to add features to the face. After an initial firing, the jugs were lightly sponged with brown glaze, and fired once more, to give them a dated appearance.