Jackson Pollock and Kandinsky in G7

Friday was an AWESOME day for grade 7, as we made a HUGE creative mess inspired by two incredible artists from the past.

We began the class by discussing and brainstorming questions we would like to find out about Kandinsky. The goal was: to get enough information so that we could teach someone else about him. Then we watched this excellent video and discussed the answers. I was astounded despite how short and quick the video was, that the students absorbed so many of the key facts. The discussion afterwards was very rich.

Now, it was time to learn about Jackson Pollock, this video was more about his techniques and ideas rather than his life. Yet it was brilliant for the task that was about to follow. Next class, we will delve a little deeper into these artists and connect them to our theme “Emotions in Art & Music”.

For management purposes, I split the class into two and had one group copy (research) 5-10 symbols/shapes from Kandinsky’s “Composition” paintings.

While the other group had the pleasure of replicating a Jackson Pollock painting. Then the groups swapped after 15mins. It was awesome hearing some of the comments as the students created.

One of the best comments was from Oliver, when he said “This is so satisfying”. 

The results were surprisingly varied and seriously beautiful. Here are a few photos, as I haven’t photographed them all yet. Next class, we will review the techniques, and ideas of both artists and connect them to our theme.

I am seriously enjoying this unit, as much as my students and can’t wait to do more!

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Tints and Tones in Grade 6


The grade 6 students have jumped straight into painting. This particular task was a two lesson introduction to MONOCHROME painting skills, and SILHOUETTES. Now, that these beautiful mini-paintings are complete, the students will be learning about aerial perspective seen in landscape photography and painting. I will write more about this task, next week when their final paintings are complete.

The WORDFOTO images below are evidence of the students understanding of the key words. The higher level students could create this piece without looking at the words written on the board. This was a quick check-in to see what the students remembered.

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Overall, I have been exceptionally pleased with their enthusiasm, and can’t wait to see what they create next! Well done grade 6.

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Listen, Draw, Dance, Paint – G7

UNIT: Emotions through Music & Art

How can the arts make us feel?

How can I express myself with paint?

The grade 7 students are beginning a music & art painting unit. The first lesson was so much fun! We began by discussing all the ways we connect to music. Some connect through colour visualization, album covers, memories, or stories…we all have different reasons for loving particular songs. The important message here is, no matter what type of music you listen to it makes you feel.


Art offers a brilliant platform to express those emotions. When we view art we also often feel something. The students began this unit by closing their eyes and listening to a mixed playlist for 7mins. A huge thanks goes to Mr Ada (our MS music teacher who helped with the playlist.) The only thing required was to be 100% present and to be aware of the images, feelings and memories you get when you hear the music.



Now, it was time for the students to listen to the mix again for 15mins but this time they could draw, write, doodle and colour to the music.


Before the painting part of the lesson I wanted the students to dance/move to the music. As they did so they were imagining that they were a paint brush dancing across the page.



Now they were ready to visualize the music in paint! This time they had white paper, watercolours and oil pastels. They needed to listen to the music and move their brush accordingly. The colours chosen reflected their mood as they listened to the changing songs.


The students were asked to answer three questions:

What did you think of the class today?

What was your favourite part?

How was the painting process different to the drawing?

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Flags in 40mins


Our first introductory creative task for grades 6,7, and 8, this year, was to create a flag. On the front of the flag the students could sketch, collage, or paint anything they wanted.

While on the back the grade 6 and 7 students wrote: what they were looking forward to the most in art this year or what they were hoping to learn this year.

While grade 8 thought about why art was important to themwhy do they create? Inspired from this video:

Normally during the first class I cover the rules and expectations, but this year I decided to do it a little differently, by allowing the students to get up and move with a 4 corners activity, then they got straight into the task.

The flags were for two purposes:

  • to find all the materials
  • to see what their interests and abilities were.

I have decided to address the rules and expectations as we go along, which, is SO much more interesting for my students and for me!

Sketchbook Covers 

Once the flag was complete and hung, it was now time to create a sketchbook cover. I showed some simple ideas from collage, quotes to sponging.

This year I am giving sketchbooks to grade 7 and 8 students, and grade 6 have to make art folders for their work.

Again, I wanted to allow total freedom, but they had to have their name and class clearly written on the front and back. The sponging was definitely the most popular technique. It was interesting to see the creative ideas be pushed further in grade 8.


Since nothing new was taught, neither of these two activities were assessed. This is just an organization and welcome to the art room.

Posted in Art News and Events, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Sketchbook Covers | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


It is the start of another school year and I can’t wait!

My husband and I have returned from an amazing summer in Myanmar, Taiwan and Mongolia. During our travels I saw many inspiring ideas for my art classes, but unfortunately I won’t have the time to do them ALL. However, I do have some great ideas, which I can’t wait to start sharing with my students. Here are some photos from our summer with a brief explanation of what I hope to teach in each grade level.


The summer gave me a great deal of time to really think about what my students would love to achieve this year.

In grade 7 I have decided to keep the passion projects, functional clay objects, and am introducing superhero printmaking, and a very fun NEW painting unit based on music.

Grade 8 will be creating their incredible chair sculptures, making stunning “wisdom boxes”, which will contain beautiful watercolour paintings with inspirational quotes. They will also be exploring fashion design using stencils and spray paint, and of course they will be painting too.


The grade 6 course is always too quick, because they only have one quarter, so they will be: painting, using clay, and learning about digital art and photography.

It’s going to be a great year. I hope you are all refreshed and ready to be back in the art room. I can’t wait to see what you all create this year. Don’t forget everything will be showcased downstairs in the MS building by the cafeteria, and in the end of year ART Party.


The art room is all set up, and ready to go, the only thing that is missing is your amazing art.

Come and play, experiment, and have fun– in the only subject where there really are NO MISTAKES, only happy accidents!


Posted in Art News and Events, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Printing in G7 & 8

The Last Unit of the Year


Since this unit was taught in the last two weeks of the year, I changed it quite a bit. Firstly, Grade 7 were meant to be printing superheroes and Grade 8 were meant to be printing human right issues connected to their learning in social studies. We did begin the process, but after the art party, I decided it would be quicker if we “stole” the images and focused more on the printing techniques rather than design our own, so I said the students could choose any theme or superheroes or human rights.

It is so interesting to see the variety of topics they chose and makes me rethink the way I set topics for students. Last year my students all printed owls however, I think opening it up to their interests is much more interesting for everyone.


Considering this took us to the last class of the year, I honestly can’t complain about lack of engagement. The students were all (except one) focused and highly engaged, even with end of year fatigue, it was truly amazing!

I really wanted grade 8 to focus on 3 cut reduction printing or stencils and grade 7 to focus on special effects like colour blends, sponges and bubble wrap. I loved the results and can’t wait to do a “proper”, longer unit next year. Printmaking is going to come earlier next year, we will even have a new printing press. Exciting!


To truly appreciate the final results you need to look at each one individually. So when looking at a print what can you look for?

  • A clean sharp image, smooth ink
  • Neat carving with textural lines but not distracting lines
  • Experimentation with layering, textures and patterning
  • Colour choices
  • The surfaces they are printed on
  •  HAPPY ACCIDENTS My absolute favourite when printing- those moments where it did not go to plan but the results were exciting, for example, the ink was too runny but created awesome drips, where the print was not aligned but gave you a cool shadow effect, where colours smudge into each other to give one-off effects.


I told my students they are being graded for experimenting, not success because experimenting is success! Can’t go wrong with printing and look how awesome these are! The students had to submit:

  • Their best clean solid colour
  • Their all time favourite print
  • Their best experiment (even if it was an “oops”)
  • Their best fail/ oops/ learning moment

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Posted in Grade 7, Grade 8, Printing | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

An Incredible ART PARTY

Two weeks ago we had our annual art exhibition and party, and it was HUGE. We had over 20 student-run art workshops and the whole SSIS community was invited to participate! As you can see by these photos we had an awesome attendance, and people of all ages and art experience were participating.


Awesome changes compared to previous years.

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Student designed banner.

This time we had the HS students participate in behind the scenes work. The students: designed art cards for charity, created posters, wrote publicity emails, designed the decorations, gathered playlists, designed a program, had large signs with maps and even shared commercials. After the event, all students said they loved being more involved. Here’s some of their work:

We also had MS students run the workshops only and HS were managers, demonstrators or participants. Next year I think we only need demonstrators or participants.

The popcorn stand was a new addition and incredibly popular, not to mention all the collaborative projects. In my first art party 6 years ago, I had the students make folders and take all their workshop art home, but I think the collaborative art was a little more successful this year.


Lastly, we introduced a stamp sheet where once you have completed the workshop you can get a stamp. This let people know what workshops there were, and gave the students something to collect.

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We could not have been happier with the success of this event, and can’t wait for next year, as it is only going to get better! See you in a year.

Posted in Art News and Events, Art Party, collaboration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment