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.


For this lesson, students learned about the life of Vincent Van Gogh, and a bit about art forgery! We looked closely at several of Vincent’s paintings to analyze his brush strokes and color palette. Then, we tried our hand at copying one of his paintings– Wheatfield with Crows. Can you figure out which painting is the real Van Gogh among the beautiful “forgeries” below?


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!