We kicked off the year with a lesson inspired by Kandinsky, creating pastel concentric circle “tiles” that will form a larger mural to be installed at McKinley. We talked about how even something as simple as as circle can have symbolism–even more so when color is added– and each ring on the work became an element of the student. These individual circle “symbolic self portraits” come together to create a larger piece that represents the community at McKinley.


For this lesson, we learned about biomimicry and how some insects disguise themselves in beautiful ways to stay safe! We made three dimensional Phylliidae bug paintings and learned about different types of lines to create our background. These bugs sure made us smile.


What do you do when you walk into the art room and you find that all the paper has paint spilled all over it? Well, you could get upset, or you could turn it into an opportunity! With this spirit of transformation and chance in mind, we learned about Dada and the assemblages of Kurt Schwitters, and got to making our quirky works of art with found objects and recycled scraps and painting. Each work is unique, just like the artists themselves.


All McKinley student artists learned about the Quilts of Gee’s Bend in February. The quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama create colorful, abstractly-designed quilts utilizing recycled materials and created memorable “scrapbooks” of sorts along the way. Students learned about the history of the people of Gee’s Bend, who were once slaves, and how non-verbal traditions can be passed along through many generations. They learned how their practical quilts became recognized in the 1990’s for their artistry, and can now be seen in museums. Students also learned how important it is to recognize and honor the voices and visions of artists, artisans, and people from all walks of life.

Let’s talk about it!! You can learn more about the Quilts of Gee’s Bend by reading this website and viewing my lesson here. Why did the people of Gee’s Bend have such limited supplies? Why did they use quilts to tell their stories and record their memories? What colors and shapes would you pick to represent your family story?

Want to have your own copy of your class quilt? Click here to buy a print or sticker!


This was our last week on campus, and though we didn’t know it at the time, a great lesson to end on! These beautiful flower paintings were inspired by Henri Matisse and his colorful and decorative paintings. We learned how we can let expressive energy out into our brush strokes, and not always worry about things looking realistic or perfect. These paintings certainly would not look out of place in a world class art museum!