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.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Still Recovering From a Crafty Month!

December is delightfully overwhelming in so many ways… and having an art room covered in happy 3rd grade weavers everyday at open art is one thing that makes it special! 
More challenging is the loading and unloading of several hundred pieces of pottery, each of which have to be fired twice… once for bisque and the second time with glaze!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Second grade and fourth grade curriculums embrace studies of the first Americans. I love teaching how Native Americans value the importance of beauty in functional objects and celebrate the spiritual in the everyday natural world! 

Each 2nd grade class studies a different region and habitat: from the Seminole to the Hopi to the Tlingit to the Kansa to the Iroquois… we explore how the everyday object contains aesthetic value and meaning.
A student from 2O smearing a coil onto a pinch pot in the Hopi fashion
Each Hopi pot unique… others made Iroquois cooking pots and Seminole mortar and pestles
and Plains Indian containers…
Seminole patchwork provides 2C a great opportunity to talk about patterning,
rhythm and geometric shapes!
Glazing our mortar and pestles in 2C

2N creates a Tlingit dance button blanket featuring
the power animal that represents their clan
… finding inspiration in the artwork of the Northwest Coast Native Americans
Fourth graders create a Kachina Doll in the tradition of the Hopi Indians to teach the school rules to the children. Each mixed media assemblage doll sports an elaborate headdress,
represents a spirit of the natural world, and possesses a spirit power. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Spooky 4th grade skeletons and mysterious 3rd grade graveyards teach the skeletal system, body proportions and the art of perspective techniques... oh, and lend some Halloween ambiance to our great Hall!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

Lafayette's 1st -3rd graders journeyed to Mexico, Panama, Chile and Peru to explore Papel Picado, Amate Bark Painting, Cuna Indian Molas, and Storytelling Arpilleras!

Did the brother fall down the well? Was there a magic garden? Did an erupting volcano threaten the village? Arpilleras tell stories and these Arpilleras had a setting, characters, a problem, and a solution... all created with a mixed media assemblage in a RELIEF by each Lafayette 3rd grader.
What's red, brightly colored, full of lines and organic and geometric shapes? Cuna Molas are layered and very decorative fabric panels originally created to wear on the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama. Second graders captivate us with their playful version in oil pastel.
... And what fanciful creatures jump and fly around the Great Hall? Amate Bark Paintings from Mexico!
Viva Hispanic Heritage Month!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dot Day Takes Lafayette by Storm!

Celebrating creativity and a belief that you have the courage to "make your mark" is a message Lafayette students embraced with gusto as we celebrated DOT DAY today along with 1.4 million children around the world! 
We "Made Our Mark" on a huge mural in the Great Hall!
We wore dots and stickers to show our courage and creativity...some of us created our own things to wear!
We wrote messages about how our teachers 
make their mark! 
 We created dots of all kinds during our recess using sidewalk chalk! By the end of the day our playground was filled with ART and symbols of Lafayette's creativity!
 Based on the children's book "the Dot" by Peter Reynolds (read here the message of the book of believing in your own creativity and being brave enough to "make your mark" is taking the world by storm every September 15. Thank you to all our Lafayette families who joined in by wearing dots to symbolize their belief in "I CAN BE CREATIVE and I AM COURAGEOUS!" and who added to our dot extravaganza day!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

A New School Year...Arty Things to Remember

Leaky plumbing? No problem! Art goes traveling into classrooms with a variety of media! We hope to be back in our usual digs soon:)

As the new year begins, DON'T FORGET:

  • to wear old or dark clothes on art days as some media stains even though it claims to be washable
  • 4th and 5th graders can spend noon recess in the art room at "Open Art" most days and that younger students will be allowed to join us on an as needed basis to finish classwork
  • parents are always welcome to come spend time with us but I'll probably put you to work!!! Contact your class art room contact person to volunteer!
  • I'm always looking for extra pairs of hands to assist with matting art and other art room tasks (training provided:) Please drop me a line!
  • to check the art room blog, the art room newsletter (on the HSA website) and the Tuesday Bulletin for current art room news!
Dark colored shirts on art days ensure happy launderers!
Last year's 4th graders explore the skeletal system through ART

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Art, Books, and Creativity... Summer Inspiration

 Teachers are creative,  passionate people... I spent last week in an intensive and rewarding institute at the Museum of Women in the Arts with 25 of them from around the region. It was inspirational and tons of fun! We delved deeper into Visual Thinking Theory (VTS) and explored the art of the book and ways to integrate both into the rest of the curriculum through the Arts, Books, and Creativity (ABC) curriculum. 
Art under a chandelier at the UMWA!
The NMWA museum educators are deeply committed to providing fabulous teacher education and a rich museum experience for all of us... and what a special place to spend our week!
Yours truly in her happy place surrounded by art materials!

 A possible new fun culmination to our 2nd grade "faces and color show emotion" unit

One of many project ideas: a tunnel book depicting the rainforest...
others explored DC architecture, the solar system,
and habitats of early Americans through this same medium

My deepest thanks to all my fellow educators who shared their ideas and passion, and to the workshop leaders who kept us exploring and challenged and creating and talking about art all week long!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Greek Art, Literature, History and Theater... What a Rich Experience!

As I was going through photos this summer, I remembered one of our end of the year informances that knocked my socks off and that I wanted to share here! The 4th grade team, lead by Judy Fratto and Kathy Echave, delved into a juicy unit on Greek myths and celebrated their learning with a captivating and polished Greek shadow puppet show. 

I felt privileged to collaborate by assisting students in creating the stunning Greek vase drawings you see on the curtains behind their stage production. We were able to extend our learning about the proportions of the human body as we drew our Greek figures in the form of Gods and Goddesses, olympic figures, and people performing everyday tasks. 

We also learned about the lip, neck, shoulders, body, and foot of a pot. And of course, we had a discussion on contrast and balance and the importance of the art of the Greek vase in our understanding of Greek life and mythology! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

The last week of school found us outside sketching what our eyes can see (finding the trapezoids and rectangles, details and textures of the houses on Broad Branch Road) and playing with shaving cream finger painting style (which had the added benefit of scrubbing our art room tables fresh and clean!) Thankfully the weather cooperated and a good time was had by all!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lafayette Artists Enjoy Kudos From the Greater Community

The richly colored Underground Railroad Code Quilt assemblage created from the digital artwork of 15 Lafayette 5th graders, was auctioned last week to benefit the DC Ed Fund and raised $3,250!!!
The Justice Department has requested a similar piece for an upcoming art exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

And today, some of our talented 5th graders received ribbons and prizes as winners of the DC division of the Jr. Duck Stamp Contest during a joint ceremony with the Maryland winners at the Patuxant Wildlife Refuge.
One of our 3rd place winners holding her ribbon in front of her artwork.
First, second, and third grade artwork will be touring for the next 6 months.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Send Them Onward, Send Them Upward, Send Them Home… What a Lot of Goodbyes!

Yesterday we said goodbye to our student teacher Ms. Johnson in an assembly where we presented her with a Lafayette t-shirt and an apron signed by all her students. We serenaded her with "Happy", and danced and celebrated our thankfulness that she was in our lives all school year! Some of us also made cards, paper chains, paintings, and sent her off with words of wisdom. We will miss her dearly!!!
Ms. Johnson in her Apron amidst singing dancing children:)
This week we also sent work to two citywide art shows: at Reagan National Airport and a fundraiser at the Pepco Building to benefit the DCEd Fund (a group Underground Railroad code quilt assemblage that will be auctioned to the highest bidder this coming Tuesday, May 6.)

And finally, PORTFOLIOS are making their way home as I say goodbye to the masterpieces your children have created and they choose their selection for ARTS NIGHT! (A few final pieces and their matted Arts Night work will come home the last week of school.)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lafayette Students Get a Little Silly For IMAGES!

Pre-K through grade 5 had their photos taken this week for IMAGES 2014, Lafayette's beloved art and literary anthology. Want a book that includes photos of the cutest kids in town, the most engaging stories and poems, and the most charming illustrations? Come purchase IMAGES at Lafayette's ARTS NIGHTS May 8 and 22!

Here's a SNEAK PEAK!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The End of a Wonderful Era

Each year as the 5th grade begins to explore events from the early 20th century, Principal Main has come into the art room with her engaging stories about the role of feed sacks in quilt making during the Great Depression. She lets our 5th graders crawl all over her 1930s double wedding ring quilt in search of the characteristic rough feed sack fabrics. She hands them batting to hold as she shares the process of making a quilt. 
And then she shows them a number of her own creations. Students start to ooh and aah as they begin to see Principal Main as not only our school's "leader,"  but also as an artist with a life outside of Lafayette's walls.

Her Singer Featherweight sewing machine from the 40's is also an object of fascination… she shares how her mother taught her to sew and lets us know she still uses this lightweight quiet little powerhouse for most of her piecework. The patchwork quilt that the 5th graders produce for our auction takes on a new meaning. 
Our 2014 5th grade quilt during the quilting bee 2 weeks ago

When March rolls around next year, we will sorely miss this great learning experience. I videoed her last presentation this year, but it just won't be the same!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

An American Story… 5th Graders Explore the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Great Depression Through an Informance... and by Sewing our Very Own Depression Era Quilt to Sell at the Lafayette Auction!

Song, poetry, visual art, dance, tableau, and music helped 5th graders experience a deeper understanding of some of the events that took place during the early part of the 20th century. They shared their learning with parents last Thursday in a culminating Informance!
5G re-imagined the Great Migration Story by Jacob Lawrence with drawings to tell his story and through a giant map recreating the routes travelers took to the northern cities…
…5JL drew the well known artists, musicians, and writers that became the faces of the Harlem Renaissance, then created 6 word poems to describe their contributions. In music, all of us learned to sing and swing dance in the style that became popular during the Harlem Renaissance.
…5JB let Dorothea Lange's photos speak to them visually and then responded with haiku poems as they experienced the Great Depression through her eyes. And 5C shared their learning about the murals created as a result of funding by the Works Progress administration through an engaging and witty Reader's Theater. Our learning in 6 classes all culminated in a moving evening Informance for our parents last week.

…and finally, our quilt in progress made in the traditional flying geese pattern with fabrics mostly donated to Lafayette!