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 and an element of the student. These individual circle “symbolic self portraits” come together to create a larger piece that represents the community at McKinley.


In November, we learned about Joshua Tree National Park just a few hours from San Diego and the beautiful Joshua Trees that inhabit it. And they learned the National Parks have made entrances fees free for all 4th graders and their families, visit this link to learn more: Every Kid Outdoors. The natural world has always been a great place for artists to gain inspiration, and Joshua Tree continues to inspire artists from all around the world. Students learned what a monoprint was, and we got to work creating these fun Joshua Tree prints with colorful printed backgrounds!


For this lesson, we studied the art of American Modern artist, Jasper Johns. He’s known for creating art out of recognizable iconography, including the American Flag. We looked at several flags, and discussed the principles of designing a flag, and noted how they often include division and fraction in creating a balanced composition. 5


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!