In Lafayette’s art studio classroom we are not only learning about the elements, principles and media of the visual arts, but are using the arts to gain a greater understanding, depth and richness of language arts, math, science and social studies curricula. Using the arts to teach, creates learning that is internalized and understood by children with all learning styles and on multiple levels. By educating students through the visual arts and traditional academic content simultaneously, I help inspire and nurture the truly creative thinkers needed for this new millennium.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What is ART?

That was the question Mr. Clayman proposed to Lafayette 5th graders recently. Reports of articulate and thoughtful answers delighted me but didn't surprise me! Exploring that elusive subject is fascinating for any grade level and exciting and intriguing for Lafayette's top dogs!

After viewing Robert Indiana's LOVE painting, students created their own pop art word collage.

Mr. Clayman has posted a few of the finished products on the upstairs bulletin boards.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Third graders begin to explore WHY our forefathers chose to emulate the Ancient Greeks in the architecture of so many of our iconic DC buildings. 

Ask a third grader what a doric, ionic, or corinthian column is... or about an entablature, pediment, or dome... most of us have begun to learn about Ancient Greek architectural elements in the art room... just another example of arts integration in action at Lafayette!

Mr. Clayman is teaching up a storm... we will miss him in January!!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream!

Fifth graders who repainted the tables for BROAD BRANCH market were treated to a SUNDAE making party last Friday!
Gummy bears, sprinkles, candies, chocolate syrup, and LOTS of whipped cream....THANK YOU TRACY!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Celebrating the ARTS Keeps Native American Traditions ALIVE

Those words are embraced when our 4th graders take over the cafeteria later this week for our annual Native American Powwow. 
Picture a grand entrance where students carry flags that represent the characteristics of their class, and wear regalia that reflects their heritage and personality, then share music, drumming, dancing, poetry, and fables. That's Lafayette's Native American Powwow!

 Families also enjoy a museum of life story skins, family totems, animal spirit masks, and kachinas that teach our school rule of "BE KIND." In true arts integration style, students demonstrate the tradition of Lacrosse in a video made in P.E. for our special day. Finally, there is a chance to experience sand painting, make a "talking feather," add to their regalia with a beaded bracelet, or try a museum scavenger hunt. So many ways to celebrate Native American culture through the ARTS!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Arts Integration Patriotic Style

It never fails to move me when Lafayette's first graders share their learning at our Veteran's Day Patriotic Celebration Concert. This year, Mr. Clayman worked with our first graders to learn about stamps and our Patriotic symbols. Their work was proudly displayed at our concert.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

During November, each second and fourth grade class explores a different Native American art tradition. That's 8!!! different projects... from masks to totems to skin paintings to beading and more... but there is SO MUCH to explore in such a short time and TWO museums to stage. Today, Ms. Nickel's 2nd graders put the finishing touches on their beautiful Tlingit Button Blankets. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


The Chevy Chase Citizen's Association is sponsoring an exhibit of 10 local art teachers with an opening November 8th at 5:30 PM at our community center. Yours truly will be exhibiting a few clay pieces from the selection below:)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mural Installation Complete!

Next time you see Custodial foreman George Young or his right hand man Glenn White, make sure you say THANK YOU for installing our brand new L-A-F-A-Y-E-T-T-E mural!!! 
The finishing touches will hopefully happen very soon as we add the final coat of color to the areas around the mural and a few more coats of polyurethane to the panels themselves.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Listening to our Ancestors

First graders are learning about the earliest artists... from the cave painters of Lascaux to Aboriginal bark painters...  Recently we imagined we were entering "dreamtime" like the Aborigines. We used dots to make shape creatures and art "language."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Weaver Extroadinaire

Lunchtime weavers have been at it fast and furious, but one diligent 4th grader pictured here, has out weaved them all!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

10 museums- 2 days

Time to feed the art teacher!
DAY 1: My father, James McLaughlin, was an integral part of the Phillips Collection for half a century and the curator of the museum in the last years of his life. Each year around this time, an exhibit of artwork created by the museum staff is held in his memory. I always love revisiting the Phillips, where I spent many hours as a child and as a museum assistant when I was a young adult. The staff, many of whom are working artists or art students, were celebrated in this annual tradition... my father would have been proud!
DAY 2: The art teachers in DCPS spent our Professional Development Day at workshops held by 10 DC area museums and networking with other art teachers around the city... all held in the spectacular Kogod Courtyard at the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery! An inspirational way to spend the rainy day.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Picnic Table Makeover!

Time for a much needed makeover!  Industrious fifth graders scrubbed, sanded, primed, and finally began repainting the Broad Branch Market picnic tables this week. We enjoyed the sunshine, the camaraderie and the satisfaction of contributing to the beautification of the Lafayette neighborhood!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

ARPILLERA Fascination

Want to show your setting and characters, and tell your story visually? Try creating a mixed media STORYTELLING ARPILLERA like these 3rd graders! 

Fabric panels, originally made in Peru and Chile have captivated our imaginations for the past month and our unique interpretations are now being posted for display throughout the building in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

KIDS POST Explores "What is ART?"

Great photos featuring one of my favorite art museums for kids located here in DC! Your kids might tell you the author has his Elements and Principles of Art mixed up, but let them know the writer is trying to have a different conversation:) ............In this Sunday's (September 25th) paper.

Parents- Also check out the new link to the Washington Parent ART CONTEST located below my bio section

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Lure of the Pottery Wheel

Fifth graders learn how to throw pots during open art! The wheels are open for business from 12:00-1:00. Fourth graders are next!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

3-D Drawing Workshops- Fascinating Stuff!

Fifth Graders had a chance to explore how to use the vanishing point in ongoing special workshops held Thursdays and Fridays at 12:00 in the art room... an OPEN ART opportunity. Even Bob Thurston, our math specialist, took advantage of Mr. Clayman's enthusiasm and expertise!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Open Art- Noontime Explorations in the ART STUDIO

It's great to see the creative juices flowing at the noon hour... some 4th and 5th graders choose to spend recess in the art room (by getting an "ART" pass from their teacher at 12:00.) They enjoy painting, constructing, weaving, exploring art on the Macs (or pretty much anything they come up with that falls in the category of the visual arts!) 
In October, the pottery wheels will open for workshops and practice, and soon students in all grades will have time to finish incomplete work... we don't all create great works of art at the same pace and some of us need more time!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mr. Clayman- a Big Hit With Our Lafayette Students

I hit the jackpot when Anthony Clayman was assigned to the art room as my student teacher! He comes to Lafayette after working in the arts, designing stores, logos, murals, and so much more. We feel lucky he decided to turn the fun times he had working with his son's classmates into a full time job teaching art! Read more about Mr. Clayman in the upcoming Tuesday Bulletin.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Second Graders Explore MOLAS

Today's second graders took a trip to the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama where we leaned the talented Cuna Indians create  fabric Molas. Second graders are experts on the subject of art (they've been discussing art for 3 years now!) and had a great time finding the "vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines" and the "geometric and organic shapes." Molas are constructed with fabric, but our second graders drew creatures from the land, sea, and sky "Mola style" with layers of contrasting color lines (which looks "much better cause it pops out!" don'tcha know.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

First Grade Loves Lines

We're talking about lines, singing about lines, being lines, and sculpting with lines of all kinds! First graders in Ms. Plummer and Ms. Phillip's classes got acquainted with the big kids art room this week, remembered the Elements of Art that artists use to create art, and demonstrated their expertise with creating zig zags, spirals, and curves.

 I loved meeting my new first graders!!!