The Art Room Blog


  • Posted by Kathleen Donohue at 3/25/2015 8:00:00 AM Monarch Butterfly Project A small group of second & third grade students participated in a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) project in collaboration with the National Fish & Wildlife Welcome Center to raise awareness about the diminishing population of the Monarch Butterfly. After hearing experts from the Fish & Wildlife Center present, students conducted their own observations and research about the species. They then planned and designed unique visual art projects inspired by their research. Some chose to explore the life cycle of the butterfly, while others focused on habitat and visual qualities of the butterfly. From drawing and painting, to collage and sculpture, each student executed vastly different visual works to be exhibited at the brand new Arlington F & W Welcome Center beginning in April!To view more images of the students working, click this link!
  • Posted by Kathleen Donohue at 2/12/2015 11:00:00 AM
    100th Day of School In celebration of the 100th day of school,kindergarten and first grade artists created self-portraits to show what they might look like at age 100! Theylearned that artists often create self-portraits during their whole artistic career to record how they have changed. Students brainstormed how they might lookdifferent at age 100: they might have different colored hair or wear differentclothes. Some suggested they might have more wrinkles on their skin or wearglasses. Students then used cut paper and other 3-d materials to create a self-portrait. To see these portraits up close, stop by Barrett’s main lobby!
  • Posted by Kathleen Donohue at 1/20/2015 12:00:00 PM
    snowy day collage    snowy day collage
    Kindergarten artists read The Snowy Day by EzraJack Keats in art class. They learned that Keats created his illustrations for this book by cutting textured painted paper into shapes. He then glued theseshapes onto a new paper to create a collage. After creating textured paper oftheir own using bright oil pastel, students practiced cutting shapes liketriangles, circles, squares, rectangles and semi-circles using scissors. Theythen glued their shapes onto a snowy background to create their very own snowyday collage. Can you discover what things these Kindergartners included intheir snowy day scenes?
  • Posted by Kathleen Donohue at 11/10/2014 3:00:00 PM Oaxacan Animal Mask  First grade kicked off our Pattern & Texture Unit this week by studying the bright and colorful animal sculptures of Oaxaca, Mexico. Students learned that these hand-carved sculptures showcase 3 important art characteristics: Color, Pattern and Symmetry. As a pre-lesson, students created Oaxacan paper animal masks that focused on these characteristics; then students explored a 2D approach – drawing animals from observation and adding their own pattern and color choices inspired by the Oaxacan animal sculptures. Our next step will be to add watercolor paint, so the animal pattern really stands out!
  • Posted by Kathleen Donohue at 10/7/2014 2:00:00 PM Family Code of Arms In preparation for Barrett’s Heritage Celebration on October 24th, fourth grade students explored designs of ancient Code of Arms dating back to 1135 AD! They learned that a family often wore their code of arms as symbols to represent important traits about their family. Students brainstormed some big ideas that makes up our heritage including colors or patterns of their country’s flag, music, holidays, food, sports, costume/dress and favorite family activities. Students then researched their own heritage and designed a family code of arms to reflect their cultural past and their own interests. Using pencil first, then black marker and colored pencils, students created some fantastic art pieces about themselves, their family and their heritage. Check out these code of arms drawings on display in the Barrett main lobby through the end of October!
  • Posted by Kathleen Donohue at 4/7/2014 11:00:00 AM In collaboration with George Mason University, selected Barrett Elementary 5th grade students learned about the importance of rain barrels in our environment. They discovered that rain barrels are a key element for collecting, filtering and reusing rain water to water our plants. First, students brainstormed ideas that were relevant to rain barrels, our environment and our Barrett community. As a group, they decided to paint a collaborative scene of plant life, the water cycle and animals, including a tiger (our Barrett mascot). Barrett Elementary, along with 24 other Arlington county schools participated in this project. To learn more about Operation Rain Barrel, watch the video below produced by Arlington Green Scene. All of the rain barrels will be on display during George Mason University’s Earth week celebration on April 26th at their Arlington Campus.
  • Posted by Kathleen Donohue at 3/20/2014 2:00:00 PM Fantasy Landscape 1          Fantasy Lanscape 2 Third grade students explored the idea of landscapes through Artist Paul Klee’s Land of Lemons painting. We learned that a landscape is an artwork that focuses mostly on land. We pushed the limits of traditional landscapes by imagining a fantasy landscape. Some students imagined a land filled with green rivers, purple skies, yellow polka-dotted trees and striped caves! Some students envisioned a landscape made out of candy where make-believe animals live, and there are castles in the sky! The students were encouraged to use expressive colors and repetition of shapes to help draw the viewer’s eye around the whole painting.
  • Posted by Kathleen Donohue at 2/6/2014 7:00:00 AM G1 Portrait

       First grade students explored the self-portrait painting of French artist Henri  Rousseau. Looking at Rousseau’s portrait, they discovered that the human figure is made up of many different shapes and textures. After practicing drawing their own self-portrait using shapes and adding important details like facial features, students added textured paper and fabrics to their artwork. We discussed where in our portraits the textured paper should go – and the students decided our clothes are often made of different textures. See the many textures these first graders used to complete their self-portraits hanging in the main hallway of our school.


  • Posted by Kathleen Donohue at 12/18/2013 11:00:00 AM   WinterCollagraph

    In preparation for the winter chorus concert, second grade students explored symbols of the winter season though the five senses in art class. They were asked: What do you see during the wintertime? What do you hear during the wintertime? What do you smell, taste and feel during the wintertime? From hearing holiday tunes on the radio to smelling peppermint and tasting sweet hot cocoa, their solutions were endless! Students turned their ideas into paper collagraph plates, and then created crayon rubbings of their creations. See if you can guess each symbol that reminds these second graders of the winter season!


  • Posted by Kathleen Donohue at 12/5/2013 10:00:00 AM   K Circle Art    K Circle Art2
    Kindergarten artists looked at Wassily Kandinsky’s abstract circle paintings. They explored how the artist used circles (and a few squares) in many sizes and colors. They also searched for circles in the art room, and found that circles are everywhere we look! Using crayon, they practiced drawing and tracing circles on their paper. Some created a pattern of circles, while others decided to overlap many circles. Finally, the students practiced using watercolor paint to add a colorful background. The results were unique and beautiful!