We’ve been feeling a little crafty in the art room!  We are weaving, working with clay, quilting (with paper) and more!


Kindergarten artists are wrapping up their fun Richard Scarry-inspired lesson with Ms. Mull this week.  Students cut out their imaginative cars and glued them to a “road” on the lovely painted paper they made several weeks ago.  Before gluing the cars down, though, we made a short stop motion movie of their cars travelling through Romare Bearden’s “The Block”!  Check out our Instagram page @TheArtsyArtRoom for these adorable videos!



First Grade

First grade artists learned about painter Alma Thomas, an artist and art teacher from Washington DC.  She created abstract paintings inspired by nature.  Although her work is abstract and you can not quickly identify an object, she provides titles which reveal her inspiration.  Students had fun looking at her work and guessing the natural inspiration before learning the title of the painting.


Painter, Alma Thomas with “Spring Flowers in Washington DC”


“Irises and crocus'”


“Triceratops in the Sun”


“Rainbow Flowers”

Students used sponges to create abstract paintings inspired by nature as well.  We listened to nature sounds (thank you Amazon Prime Music!) like chirping birds and trickling water to inspire us.  Finally, we gave our paintings a title, to provide a clue about our abstract work.

Second Grade

Second grade artists finished their unit on printmaking with Ms. Mull with an introduction to Amish quilting traditions.  Students selected their favorite print to create a quilt block.  We used construction paper to cut geometric shapes to surround our prints.  When the class was finished we assembled the blocks into a classroom quilt.


“Mrs Wrighter’s Class Quilt”

Third Grade

Third graders are still in “weaving mode” … and they love it!  We will spend one more week weaving!


Fourth Grade

Fourth grade students are starting a new unit inspired by American painter Amy Sherald.  She was selected by former First Lady Michelle Obama to create her official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery.  We will be making portraits of famous women in history in recognition of Women’s History Month in March.


Painter, Amy Sherald

To begin our unit, students practice making a variety of shades with an Ebony pencil.  We then worked on a sketch of our classroom teacher 🙂  Thank you for letting us draw you, lovely 4th grade teachers!


Students also finished up their blind contour portraits with zentangle doodles and wild, wonderful paint colors.  Check out the solution these friends had for their portraits.  So sweet!


Fifth Grade

Fifth grade students are working on finishing their face mugs!  We are painting them with glaze and they look awesome!  I can’t wait to see the final results following the glaze fire!  Please note, the weird smurf blue color is actually the final glaze coat that will be clear and shiny 🙂



On the move!

Our Gators have been working hard with Ms. Mull!  Check out some of the fun lessons she’s sharing with us:


Kindergarten artists learned about author and illustrator Richard Scarry!  We looked at illustrations from his silly book Cars and Trucks and Things That Go and had a chance to draw our own wonderful transportation creations.  They are all so unique and FUN!


Banana Car


Cupcake, Egg and Burger Car

First Grade



First grade artists have finished their Pokemon-inspired clay sculptures by glazing and creating Pokemon cards to describe their awesome creatures!  They had so much fun!



Second Grade

Second grade artists worked on another round of printmaking this week.  Students have been working on creating symbols that represent their own unique personalities.  They transferred these images to a foam printing plate and have worked on printing with these plates.  This week we used brayers and printing ink to make a series of prints using our printing plates.


Ms. Mull demonstrates our printmaking routine.


Symbolic prints

Third Grade

Third grade artists began weaving this week!  We love to weave!  Students used their symbolic color sketches to help them select which colors to use.  Next week, more weaving!


Fourth Grade

Fourth grade students had the chance to paint their blind contour drawings this week.  We used bright, unexpected colors to bring them to life.  They are stunning!

Fifth Grade

Fifth grade artists continued to work on their clay face mugs.  Last week we rolled slabs and built the cylinders of our mugs.  This week we added the facial expressions.  They look so cool… scary… silly… funny… crazy!

After School Enrichment

Our paper mache class is coming along great!  After two weeks of building our armatures we began working with the paper mache paste this week.  We measured the ingredients (1 cup flour/1 cup water), whisked out the lumps and dipped strips of news paper into the paste.  The strips are wrapped around the armatures to create a hardened outer shell.


Painting, Printing, Rolling!

The art room has been buzzing with activity as Ms. Mull, VCU student teacher, has been leading lessons with our Gators.


Kindergarten artists had a chance to experiment with a series of printmaking stations this week.  Each class rotated through 3 stations using either warm or cool colors.  We printed with bubble wrap, sponges and even matchbox cars!  Printing was (messy) fun!

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Printmaking was just the first step of our project.  I will share Part II next week!

First Grade

First grade artists finished their Pokemon-inspired clay creatures with a variety of animal characteristics like eyes, ears, wings and tails.  A few groups were able to begin glazing, which is how we add color to clay!



Second Grade

Second grade artists are learning about how artists use symbols.  We looked at Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, a system of pictures that represent ideas.  Students were asked to create a series of symbols that represent themselves.  We used foam sheets as our printing plate.  The plates were colored with markers and pressed onto a wet sheet of paper.  The ink from the markers created a print on the paper!  The process was repeated several times and students were encouraged to experiment with the colors and amount of water used.  The process can be a little unpredictable but always had interesting results!



Making multiple prints means coming up with creative ways to carry your art to the drying rack!

Third Grade

Third grade students are beginning a unit on weaving!  We looked at weaving traditions from First Americans as well as from Ghana in West Africa!  We learned how these artists use colors and shapes in their weavings to tell stories and communicate ideas.  Students wrapped the warp on their cardboard looms and had an opportunity to create a symbolic plan for the story they plan to tell with their weavings.


Cardboard looms ready for weaving!


Colorful plans for symbolic weavings.

Fourth Grade

Fourth grade students have been working on blind contour drawings inspired by the work of Jean DuBuffet and contemporary artist Ian Sklarsky.

Students were challenged to draw portraits or self-portraits without looking at their paper!  They were encouraged to make close observations by only looking at the subject of their drawing… it’s challenging, but fun!


Once the drawings are finished, pencil lines are outlined with permanent marker and painted with watercolors.  Next week, we will finish painting and add smaller details and doodles with a thin sharpie.


Fifth Grade

Fifth grade students are making face mugs inspired by American ceramicist Mitchell Grafton.  Students sketched plans for their expressive face mugs first by studying their own faces in mirrors as they made a variety of funny, scary or shocked faces!  Next, they used rolling pins and precut templates to make slab-built cylinders.  The clay cups were packed in large plastic boxes to keep the clay moist and flexible.  This week, students will add expressive faces to the walls of their mugs.  We are so excited to see how they turn out!



Back into the swing of things!

After weeks of snow and holidays (…and then more snow…) we finally finished our first FULL week of school in 2018!


Kindergarten artists are preparing for their upcoming PTA program all about PETS!  We read a beautiful book called “They All Saw a Cat” about how a variety of animals interact with a pet cat.  We were introduced to the lovely work of Japanese painter Miroco Machiko, an artist who loves to paint her cat as well as other animals.

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Painter Miroco Machiko in her studio and a painting by the artist.


After discussing the difference between WILD and TAME animals we had the opportunity to paint a pet of our own.  I was blown away by the variety of pets our kindergarten artists imagined!  Next week we will color our pictures with oil pastels to bring them to life!






First grade

First graders started a super fun lesson with VCU student teacher Ms. Mull!  She introduced the class to the mixed up creatures of Pokemon world!  Students will be creating their OWN unique mixed-up creature using clay.  This week, students began their project with a pinch pot and worked on small sketches of the creature they’d like to create next week.  To close the lesson Ms. Mull shared “The Mixed Up Chameleon” by Eric Carle, a story of a chameleon who wishes he had qualities of all kinds of different animals.  He ends up very mixed-up!

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Our first graders are pinch pot masters!  Ask your first grader how they “chomp chomp chomp” like an alligator to make the perfect pinch pot.

Second Grade

Second grade students have been learning about warm and cool colors.  We learned that artists use a tool called a color wheel to help them understand how colors work together.

One side of the color wheel has warm colors: Red, Orange and Yellow.  The opposite side of the color wheel has cool colors: Blue, Green and Purple.  Artists can make color choices to help them express feelings.  Warm colors tend to make us feel happy and excited while cool colors tend to make us feel calm or sad.  Students selected either warm OR colors and experimented with a variety of lines to create a winter collage.


Third Grade

Third grade artists are also preparing for a PTA program – the theme is JAZZ!  The students were introduced to the work of American artist Romare Bearden.  He was not only a painter and collage artist but also a musician!  He was inspired by the art, music and literature of the Harlem Renaissance and made many works of art illustrating jazz musicians.

Students made sketches of a variety of jazz instruments and then selected one to create using collage techniques.  We are experimenting with line, shape, color and paper techniques.  We listened to Miles Davis and John Coltrane while working!   They look fabulous!



Fourth Grade

Fourth grade artists learned about South African painter Esther Mahlangu.  Her work reflects her Ndebele culture and has evolved in new, exciting ways!  She is the first African artist to be asked by the BMW company to participate in their art car series.  She was also the first woman AND the first artist to be invited back to do it again!


Painter, Esther Mahlangu

In 2014 she was invited by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to paint several murals on the gallery walls.  We watched this wonderful timelapse video of her painting at the VMFA!


We used black paint to create symmetrical designs by folding and rubbing our paper as our designs grew and grew.  We added color with chalk pastels which are SUPER messy but make gorgeous colors.  Our last step was to imagine where we would like to see our designs go… on a shirt… on our school… on a plane!  There were lots of great ideas!

Fifth Grade

Fifth grade artists are working on their pet projects inspired by the Henrico Humane Society.  They are having so much fun working with these sweet pets!


Fifth graders listened to a cool NPR produced podcast called Wow in the World while they worked.  It is a weekly kid-friendly podcast that explores a variety of science themes.  This week’s episode was about the benefits of RECESS!





Pet Expo Fun

Pet Expo Fun

Saturday was the Pet Expo!  My 9 year old son and I had a blast sharing the artwork made by our Gators and helping to raise money for the Henrico Humane Society!


We sold ALL of these adorable cat pins and collected nearly $200 for the Henrico Humane Society!!  Way to go, Gators!




We saw some familiar faces check out their artwork and hang out with all of the adorable dogs roaming the Pet Expo!  The Henrico Humane Society gave our participating artists free admission for the day!


Nutzy stopped by our display, too!!


Check out these amazing paintings made by our first grade artists inspired by the cats at the Henrico Humane Society!


This was my view for the day… just watching the parade of the most adorable dogs in Richmond!


Thank you all for your support of our artists as we work to make our community a better place 🙂

More News!

I am so happy to introduce Ms. Gretchen Mull to our art room!  She is a student teacher visiting us from VCU (go Rams!!).  She is so excited to work with our Gators!  Here’s a note from Ms. Mull:

Hello Greenwood friends!

My name is Ms. Mull and I am a student teacher from VCU. I will be working with Mrs. Barlett in the art room for the next 7 weeks. I have been studying art and teaching at VCU for the last four years and student teaching is my last step before becoming a licensed teacher! A few of my favorite art activities include working with clay, water coloring, and printmaking with unconventional materials. 

I am very excited to work with the incredible Greenwood Gator family and share a few of my new art lessons!  See you in the art room very soon!


Gretchen Mull

Henrico Humane Society Pet Expo!


It’s Pet Expo time!

The Henrico Humane Society is hosting their annual Pet Expo on January 13th!  It is a wonderful event that highlights the important work they do to find happy homes for dogs and cats in our community.  There will be vendors selling goodies for pets, demonstrations of amazing dog tricks and most importantly you will be able to meet the dogs and cats looking for homes!

Our Gator artists have been busy making art inspired by these special dogs and cats!  There will be cat portraits on display made by our amazing first graders as well as cat jewelry made by our fourth graders!

First Grade

First grade artists learned about painter Andy Warhol and his cat illustrations.  We read the true story, “Uncle Andy’s Cats” and each student had the chance to draw a portrait of a REAL cat currently up for adoption at the HHS.  Next week, we will use watercolor paints to add unusual colors for these lovely cats!



We can’t wait to paint these lovelies this week!  We love snow days but we love to paint, too!!

Fourth Grade

Our fourth grade puppy portraits brought smiles to so many faces at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens!  You can read all about our puppy project here 🙂  Check out these fantastic shrinky-dink pins!  Fourth graders made tiny cat portraits inspired by the kitties at the Henrico Humane Society!  These pins will be for sale at the Pet Expo to benefit the HHS!



I hope you will consider stopping by the Pet Expo to see our work and to support the HHS!  Please check out the Henrico Humane Society‘s website for more details about the Pet Expo!

Henrico Humane Society Pet Portraits

I am so excited to tell you about a very special project the 4th grade artists at Greenwood having been working on!


We have again partnered with the Henrico Humane Society to help spread the word about the wonderful work they do in our community to help find loving homes for dogs and cats in need.

This year, 4th grade students each selected a dog looking for a home and created clay portraits of these pups!


We spent two art days building portraits of these sweet doggies!


Once we were finishing building with the clay, we glazed our pieces and added beaded name tags so that the projects would be easy to display.

Additionally, these students have been working on persuasive letters to explain why they think their dog deserves a loving, permanent home!

Now… the EXTRA exciting news!


30 of these amazing projects were selected to hang on the Greenwood Elementary tree at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for their annual display of holiday lights!  In addition to their clay projects, ornaments that display a QR code will allow visitors to use their smartphone to listen to the student reciting their persuasive letter!

Thousands of visitors will have a chance visit the GardenFest of Lights display this holiday season.  We hope that these visitors will not only enjoy and appreciate our display but will understand the value of adopting a dog or cat from the Henrico Humane Society!


Fall Goodies

There were so many exciting things happening this week in the art room!


Kindergarten artists created “frightening” creatures inspired by painter Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings.  We read “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by poet Maya Angelou.  We had so much fun creating SCARY creatures!

First Grade

First grade artists painted big, beautiful pumpkins using primary colors!  This week we cut them out and added curly vines!

Second Grade

Second grade artists are learning about painter Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese painter who is obsessed with dots and pumpkins!  Last week students drew wiggly, wobbly pumpkins and painted them purple by mixing red and … blue!  This week, we worked on the backgrounds for the pumpkin collages by printing triangles with metallic paint.

Third Grade

Third grade students are studying the photographs of our universe taken by the Hubble Telescope.  We are experimenting with a variety of media and drawing and painting techniques to create our own galaxies!  This week students used vibrant watercolor paints and oil pastels to create the background for their paintings.  As a finishing touch we added a sprinkle of salt to make the illusion of faraway stars!  We’re putting the A in STEM for a little STEAM!

Fourth Grade

Speaking of STEAM, check out this cool monochromatic landscapes inspired by this summer’s solar eclipse!  Students were so excited to tell me all about their eclipse experience!  We used purple paint to make the backgrounds.  We used white to make it lighter and black to make it darker.  Finally, we added a giant moon blocking most of the light from the sun and a tree!

Fifth Grade

Fifth grade students are starting an art unit learning about how artists are inspired by dance to connect with our schoolwide theme of “Greenwood Grooves”!  We will be creating 3-D junk collages of skeletons in motion.  To get us thinking about how the body moves and bends as we dance, students worked on a series of fun stations.

The first station had photographs of famous dancers and lots of junk materials to experiment with.  Students created a skeleton collage using found objects then took a quick photograph with the ipad.

The second station had 4 photos of dancers from the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe.  Students created gesture drawings of these dancers then put the sheets in a sandwich bag they will use to collect found objects of their own to use in the collages they will begin this week.  That’s right…. HOMEWORK! 🙂

The third station had more photographs of dancers and supplies for printing a skeleton moving like the dancer in the photograph!


We have a lot of fun things happening in the art room, including clay!


Kindergarten artists are working on one of my favorite clay projects – pinch pot pumpkins!

We sit together in a big circle and use our hands to make a little pinch pot.

Then we turn our pinch pots upside down to make an adorable pumpkin!


First grade

First grade finished their Statue of Liberty portraits by exploring warm and cool colors!


Second grade

Second grade artists finished their patriotic heart paintings by adding a variety of patterns.


Third grade

Third grade artists painted these lovely poppy fields in remembrance of Veteran’s Day.


Fourth grade

Fourth grade artists are making clay portraits of dogs available for adoption through the Henrico Humane Society.  They are so fantastic!


Fifth grade

Fifth grade artists are nearly finished with their Statue of Liberty paintings!  We will finish them up this week!

Red, White and Blue

Our Gator artists are wrapping up their Original Works pieces this week and working on a variety of new projects.


Kindergarten artists finished their Original Works art by collaging their self-portraits onto the name paintings they worked on last week.  They are so cute!

First Grade

First graders are working on a portrait of the Statue of Liberty inspired by pop artist Peter Max.  We took turns wearing her crown!

Second Grade

Second grade students are nearly finished with their patriotic heart designs inspired by Brazilian painter Romero Britto.  We’ve been working on developing patterns with shapes and lines.

Third Grade

Third grade artists are working on a painting of a field of poppy flowers in honor of Veteran’s Day.  Poppies are symbols of remembrance for soldiers that have died in battle.  This week we painted the sky and field.  Next week we will add the lovely poppy flowers.

Fourth Grade

Fourth grade artists are beginning our first clay project of the year!  We are partnering with the Henrico Humane Society and making portraits of the dogs available for adoption!  A selection of our portraits will go on display at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens for their GardenFest of Lights display!  We hope that by sharing our artwork with the public we will raise awareness and interest in the good work that the Henrico Humane Society does to find loving homes for dogs and cats in our community!

Fifth Grade

Fifth grade students continue to work on their Statue of Liberty paintings.  They’re looking awesome!  More pictures next week!