Collage Self Portraits

1st grade portraits, collaged from painted paper.

1st grade portraits, collaged from painted paper.

1st graders painted paper for use in their self portrait collages.  Each student painted a large sheet, which was then cut into quarters and shared with other classes.  We used the backs of our paintbrushes to draw into the paint and create texture for our hair.  When collaging, we thought about the shapes that make up our body parts.  Our features and smaller details are a mixture of collage and drawing.  I was impressed by the personality I can see shining through in each self portrait!


1st grade painted collage self portraits.

1st grade painted collage self portraits.


Kindergarten Firebirds

2016-09-22-11-02-51Kindergarten students have been hearing firebird stories in art class!  The firebird is a magical bird that features in several Russian stories, including a ballet by Stravinsky.  We worked on using simple shapes to draw a firebird and color it with markers.  We then practiced our gluing skills by gluing the firebirds onto a frame and then collaging golden metallic paper onto our work.  Students used the gold to create golden apples (they make the firebird’s voice sound beautiful!), golden swords, golden eggs, and even fire surrounding the firebird.  One of the things we focus on in kindergarten is skill with materials — taking care of our art materials so they stay nice, using the right amounts, and keeping our artwork as neat as possible so that our viewers can focus on our creativity.  Some of the things we are working on include:

  • Capping markers when finished
  • Carrying scissors safely
  • Capping glue sticks when finished
  • Twisting out an appropriate amount of glue
  • Always applying glue to the back of the small thing, not the front of the big thing (my art room glue rule!)

Coffin Creations!

Marco's ocean collage

Marco’s ocean collage

Coffin students are already busy with their first projects!

Second grade has looked at Henri Mattise’s collages depicting the Flight of Icarus.  We discussed how Matisse simplified his images and used bright colors to make his collages bold and striking.  Students were allowed to choose any subject for their collage and worked on practicing their cutting and gluing skills.

Third grade looked at Georgia O’Keeffe’s A Sunflower from Maggie painting.  We saw how a sunflower can be created from repeating and layering very simple shapes and marks.  We used black tempera paint to outline our sunflowers and let them dry.  Next art class we will use oil pastel to color our sunflowers.

3rd Grade Sunflower Paintings

3rd Grade Sunflower Paintings

Barn Dance Quilts

A 3rd grader's felt collage of an apple boat.

A 3rd grader’s felt collage of an apple boat.

3rd graders at Coffin are working on felt collages for the upcoming Barn Dance.  Each 3rd grade class from each of Marblehead’s elementary schools will make their own quilt.  Coffin’s themes are apples, apple trees (don’t ask how that happened!), pumpkins, and sunflowers.  Students designed their own composition that featured their class theme.  It is fun to see all the different interpretations of the theme!  The quilts will hang in the Glover school gym for our evening barn dance, and they will return to Coffin afterwards for display.

Bees and Flowers

Third graders collaged bees and flowers with some help from their science units!

Third graders collaged bees and flowers with some help from their science units!

Third graders used information from their science units to create these collages!  Mrs. Bruett’s and Ms. Homan’s classes created bees, while Ms. Iberger’s and Mrs. Sheridan’s classes created flowers.  For the bees, we included the mandibles, antennae, eyes, legs, and stingers.  We will use tracing paper to add wings next week!  For the flowers, we included the stem, true leaf, seed leaves, petals, pistils, and stamen.  Students used tempera to paint their own papers for the petals, bee abdomen, and thorax.  In addition to being thrilled at the students’ outstanding collages, I was also excited because I learned something new: that bees have three simple eyes at the top of their heads, in addition to the two compound eyes — how did I go this long without knowing that?!

Welcome to Coffin!

Welcome SignWelcome Collage


Mrs. Iberger’s 3rd graders collaged a sign to welcome new students and visitors to the Coffin School!  Each student was assigned a letter to cut out and embellish.  We concentrated on making the most efficient cuts possible by using the edges and corners to help save time and let us get the most out of each piece of paper.  Then we added details to make each letter a unique work of art.