Tag Archives: grade 4

Another lesson with Sonia Delaunay



I had an opportunity to see some of Delaunay’s work both in Paris and in Bilbao. I love her bright colors and simple geometric shapes. Students looked at Delaunay’s art and textiles in a PowerPoint and they created these images in tempera paint.


I had the students look at her work and we discussed the way color and shape interact.


We also discussed her work as a textile designer and how she and her husband Robert were the initiators of the Orphism or Orphic Cubist Art movement.


They could copy elements of her work or create their own version.



Young Art 2017: Beyond the Ordinary


Every other year, the San Diego Museum of Art hosts an art show for students from around the county. This year, the theme was still life and each teacher was allowed to submit just five pieces of art. With me teaching more than 800 students, it was really a tough job to choose just 5  but I had some help.

If you have a chance, go see the art! it is on display until May 28, 2017. Of our 5 submissions, these 3 pieces of art were chosen:



52064837Tea Time


Spool of Thread

Oak Trees



I was asked to teach a step by step painting class at our Girl Scout Service Unit Encampment. The theme was Amazing Race so the girls went to different locations all over camp and did activities from different countries-things like making sushi in Japan, playing Futbol in Spain, and painting with me in France.


It was for our Juniors (grades 4, 5, 6) and Cadettes (grades 7, 8).

We set up on the porch of one of the cabins and it was a bit breezy and cool but we sure had a great time.


Can you believe we only had 40 minutes? Well, we did! I think they did an amazing job! I showed them my  tricks for “speed” painting like basing in the sky using a thin coat of paint and a sponge.


They did these on 8×10 canvas board. I love that they all came out so differently.







Gold Rush Buildings



I love finding current working artists who can inspire my students. For this lesson, we looked at the work of illustrator Mateusz Urbanowicz. He is an illustrator, originally from Poland, who lives and works in Japan. He has great videos of him actually drawing his “Tokyo Storefronts” series so the students and I looked at one together.


The students had lots of great questions and loved watching the artist work. For this lesson, I allowed them to use pencil and make a sketch before inking.


Normally, pencil sketches are not allowed for art because of time constraints. We have a “no mistakes in art” rule so any mark you make on your paper is not a mistake and can be turned into something. I think it forces them to trust themselves and think about creative solutions to a mark they decide they do not want.


These images were created in the style of Mateusz Urbanowicz but took on a Social Studies twist when we talked about businesses that existed during the Gold Rush. They created their images of buildings as if they could have been part of a Gold Rush town.

Filigree Hearts



I created this after having a large quantity of leftover black watercolor paint. I pop the brown and black pans out of the paint palettes for two reasons. One, it forces my students to mix colors and two my youngest artists do not paint everything black and brown.


Students learned about the art of filigree. They looked at examples both ancient and modern. They then traced (or could draw their own) a large heart onto 9×12 paper.


Using white oil pastel, they filled their hearts with organic, curved lines. They painted the inside with water color of their choice then black watercolor around the hearts. 16387917_10154945657184042_486656003692111024_n.jpg

What Lifts You?




I had seen the work of Kelsey Montague about a year ago. I love her idea that her murals are interactive and that people can post themselves with the art to social media.


My students did self-portraits in oil pastel then cut them out and affixed them to wings of their own design.



We took it one step further and several students contributed to create a mural that students can interact with. It has been a big hit with kids and adults alike.


Crazy Socks


48213821.jpgOur first lesson back is always an easy one and I try to do something fun with lines for my students. These were from my fourth graders.


A few months ago, I saw an image on an advertising postcard for Blessed Wedding Photography. It was of a bride and groom’s feet. The man had brown shoes, blue pants and funky socks. The bride had blue shoes. It was a cool image and I put it up on my bulletin board.


Fast forward to last week and me looking around to put a new spin on the same old line lessons…


Kind of a fun way to look at lines, by creating pictures of feet and shoes. I love how they all put their own spin on it.






13336140_10154204773829042_6344952283846368632_n (1)The San Diego Art Educator’s Association, of which I am a member, held its second annual art show for students in grades k-8.


The art went on display in the lobby of the San Diego County Office of Education in early April and stayed up until May 31 at the closing reception.


It was advertised as “juried” but there were no awards. Students received a certificate for participating which was nice. It was great to see so many student art pieces from all over the county.


Teachers could only submit eight pieces from their schools. Because I had two sites this year, I entered fifteen pieces: eight from one site and seven from the other.


As Tim the SDAEA President says, art teachers do not get compensated for entering art shows for their students. They do it because they know the value of having artists and audiences interact with art.


It was a lot of extra work for me. I spent two entire afternoons tracking down the mat board then a whole day mounting and cutting and labeling. entire afternoon but it always makes me smile to see student art displayed  and that is why I keep doing it even though so few students ever attend these events.


God’s Eyes or Ojo de Dios



Oh these are always fun! I do these with Grade 4 because they study the missions and learn about how California was once part of Mexico. I also do them as one of the craft table options at our school’s heritage night.


This age level seems to have the easiest time learning this ancient textile art without a lot of intervention fr0m me.


I do tell them that have to “get it right” or re-do it. If they do it correctly, they can do a second one.


We do these in one class period which is 60 minutes. I typically use craft sticks but also chop sticks that I have cut in half.


We usually have donated yarn so this is a pretty inexpensive project.