3rd Graders Are Out of Their Gourds!

3rd grade gourd studies

3rd grade gourd studies

This week I brought in decorative gourds to share with the third graders.  So far Mrs. Sheridan’s class has drawn gourd studies using pencil and Sharpie.  Each table received a tray with two different gourds.  Students were allowed to move around to each table to see different gourds throughout the class.  We looked carefully at every detail and tried to draw our gourds realistically.  Some of the things we paid attention to include the spacing of the ribs, the texture of the gourd, and the fact that the stem would be placed differently depending on the angle of the gourd.  Next week we will use wet-on-wet watercolor technique to paint our gourd studies.


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!)

Thumbprint Turkeys

1st grade turkeys!

1st grade turkeys!

First graders used their thumbprints to create a whole flock of turkeys!  First we pressed our thumbs into the stamp pad for two seconds.  Then we pressed our thumbs against the paper for another two seconds.  After washing our thumbs off, we then used skinny Sharpies to draw in turkey details, such as beaks, wattles, wings, feathers, and feet!  Many students thought of different activities for their turkeys — I saw turkeys eating worms, turkeys flying, turkeys running, and one turkey trying to eat the sun!  (“He’s a weird turkey,” according to the artist.)

Crazy Critters

Second graders used pencil and Sharpie to sketch a critter and its environment.

Second graders used pencil and Sharpie to sketch a critter and its environment.

A “Crazy Critter” is an imaginary animal that students create by combining two or more ordinary animals.  Second graders made sketchbooks to try out many different combinations.  After choosing a favorite idea from their books, students in Mrs. Janock’s and Ms. Johnson’s classes drew a large version of their critter on a 16×22″ piece of paper.

We used 2H pencils to draw.  The “H” in our pencils means the graphite is hard and will leave very light marks.  That will be perfect for us, since we will paint our critters and we don’t want the pencil to show through or smudge!  I asked students to check what type of graphite the pencils in their classrooms have (probably HB!) and try to compare how the pencil marks look.

After drawing their critter, students thought about what kind of environment it lives in.  We came up with a lot of different ideas, such as deserts, caves, and ponds.  If students had enough time after drawing, they outlined with a combination of thick and thin Sharpies.  Next week we will use watercolor to paint.

Welcome back!

Abby's Hand Drawing

Abby’s Hand Drawing

Welcome to the Coffin and Gerry Art Blog!  I am so excited to start a fresh new year with your children.  Kindergarteners started their first project this morning.  We traced our hands, wrote our names inside the palm, and added embellishments with Sharpie and crayon.  Hopefully looking at their hand art this week will help me learn their names faster, but we’ll see!


First graders and third graders drew me their favorite summer memory.  I have seen everything from aquarium visits to camping to getting to see an aircraft carrier.  It looks like everyone had a summer filled with wonderful experiences.


The first week is always a little hectic with students learning new seats, new routines, and new classmates.  I am glad to be a familiar face for my older students and I hope to be a welcoming presence for the kindergarteners.  Next Tuesday we will start digging into our first “meaty” projects — collage and painting.  I can’t wait!

Turn! Turn! Turn!

Abigail's Seasons Book

Abigail’s Seasons Book

Kindergarten students are nearly finished with their Season Books!  Each student designed a title page featuring all seasons, and illustrated two pages to represent things they enjoy most about individual seasons.  Many kindergarteners included holidays, birthdays, and vacations in their books.  Students used a card to check the spelling of each season and make sure they included each one.  We will finish with an “About the Author” page.  This project is a great opportunity for students to think about details to make each page special.

Self Portraits

Self Portraits by Paloma and Myers

Self Portraits by Paloma and Myers

After winter vacation, all students will begin their Original Works project.  Original Works is an art-based fundraiser, and the Coffin-Gerry PTO organizes our participation.  It gives families the opportunity to have their children’s artwork printed on keepsakes, such as mugs, shirts, and keychains.  They look fantastic and the fundraising helps our wonderful PTO help us!

Every year we choose a different theme.  This year each student will make a self portrait. To warm up Coffin’s students, we are doing practice portraits!  We discussed proportion and positioning of our features.  Students used mirrors to make note of the details that make them unique: hair style, freckles and birth marks, glasses, accessories, and clothing.


Isabella's Self Portrait

Isabella’s Self Portrait

Updated on the last week of February: Gerry students are starting right away on their final portraits.  They used rulers to create a border around their image; this will ensure nothing important gets cropped out during production!  We’ve started with pencil and Sharpie.  Next week students will use crayon and watercolor to add color to their portraits.  Coffin students are using all watercolor on their practice portraits.  We are working on mixing colors for our skin and hair.  Students have to mix, test, and make small adjustments to the paint.