These second graders did not hold back in art class! They learned more about the elements of art and some really cool artists including Ruth Asawa and Georgia O’Keefe. We experimented with pastels, tempera, watercolors and paper this year and I am so proud of the results!

Please click on the images in the galleries if you would like to view them larger.


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.


Students learned about American artist, Georgia O’Keefe, and her love of the American Southwest. They learned she was an amazing artist who kept working on art her whole life, even when she was 90 years old! She was fascinated by abstraction and her own unique take on the world around her. We talked about how we can all find our special places in nature, and how we are a part of the natural world as well. They know we can honor people and places through making art.


Ruth Asawa was an American sculptor and California Native! Students learned about her life, her love of organic forms and details in nature, and how she spent part of her childhood in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War 2. Her sculptures are created from looping wire in a technique she learned from traditional basket weavers while spending time in Mexico. We created these watercolor and salt paintings inspired by her bulbous and organic, curving shapes– they turned out simply beautiful!


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!