Barnett's Art Room

Fine Art Classes: Art 1, Art 2, Ceramics

Issue 1, Volume 2, September 2014

Message from the Editor

Welcome to a brand new year in the art room. I am so excited about what has been happening and what will be happening in my classes with my young artists this year! Big changes have occurred and so far, they have not disappointed.

The focus of the art classes has switched this year from a teacher-directed to a more student-directed class. I am sure you are asking what that means. This year, the students will drive more of their artwork and what they create. They will have more choice in subject matter and materials used to create that artwork. The focus will be on the process and creating artists rather than creating people that are really good at following directions.

Students will be learning new techniques and new mediums to create artwork. They will be given broad themes that can have multiple interpretations so they can have more ownership of their work. They will create the work from beginning to end. They will learn to problem solve and pick the best solutions/materials for what they are trying to say. They will make mistakes and learn from them, like artists do. They will take risks and get messy and create authentic work.

I have done much research and planning over the past school year and the summer to prepare for this new journey in my classroom. And, I know it will be successful. The students are already showing that. They are excited about our first theme. They come in wanting to get to work. I have heard from many students, "why does time go so fast in this class?"

I look forward to sharing the journey with you through this letter and through our class website. On the website you can find a blog about what is happening. You can see what you students are learning and creating. You can find their blogs about the artistic behaviors they are learning.

I look forward to every day and every class. It is a great time to be in my art classroom.


Clay Monsters

Art 1 students jumped right in on the 3rd day of school with clay. I thought it would be a fun way to get things going. We learned how to create pinchpots from clay and then students transformed their pots into monsters and aliens.

The students did a fabulous job and took off running. We only had 2 or 3 blow up this year, which is a good thing. I can't wait for the students to glaze and add some color.

ART 2: Painting and Drawing


Our first unit is underway. The students have been working hard on the theme of Man/Machine. We brainstormed about what relationships, connections, and interactions man and machine can have. From there the students took over. They decided what relationship (good or bad) they wanted their artwork to portray. They decided what medium (materials) they want their artwork to be carried out in. We are working with black and white drawing materials, so they have several choices to work with.


Totem Spoons

A Totem tells a story. The Spoon is symbolic of sharing. Each student started off the year creating their own totem spoon, sharing with us a little bit about themselves. The spoons all came out fabulously and it was a nice way to either begin a journey into the world of clay or to get back on the clay road after the summer break.


Slab Boxes and Texture Rollers

Beginners have now moved on to our first big clay project. They are learning the hand-building technique of the slab. They are also learning about ways of adding texture to the surface of their clay pieces. This project will showcase the texture roller. Students are taking cardboard tubes and using hot glue to create texture patterns on the tube. They will then roll the tube over their slab to create an indented texture.


The subject matter of work from students may at times be edgy or controversial. I do set limits on things that are not appropriate for the learning environment, while still letting the students have a voice.