How to Carve a Linoleum Block

Fourth graders are learning how to print, and the video tutorial on how to carve a block safely is below.

Carving Linoleum Blocks from L. Girbino on Vimeo.

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Late Oct./Nov. News (5th)

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Fifth grade is wrapping up their big Graphic Design Challenge that started with sketchnoting. Then, they had their choice of designing an app logo, a poster for their favorite book, a smartphone case, or a skateboard deck:               … Continue reading

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Late Oct./Nov. News (4th)

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Fourth grade artists are wrapping up their abstract paintings using value:           

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Late Oct./Nov. News (3rd)

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Third Grade Art: Our Tiki Masks are done & going home! (Next up–painting!)

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Talking About Artwork

I found this great article that sums up how we talk about art at school. Making art is a PROCESS, and we usually start with sketches or brainstorming before we move on to “final art.” Even then, I am going around the room–looking and suggesting, asking questions and listening to the answers, taking notes in my planner, and basically, looking for insights into each student’s process, and helping them to realize their art process. These are great things to talk about with your student when they bring their artwork home, so I am adding these talking points below…

What can you tell me about your picture?” This open-ended question is a great way to get kids talking about their art. It is especially good if you are not sure what the picture is. Nothing worse than saying, “What a lovely horse!” only to have the artist tell you that it is supposed to be a dog.

How did you get the idea for this picture?” By explaining the inspiration, the young artist recognizes his/her own creative spark and makes the connection from real-life events to artistic creation

What do you like about your picture?” Encourages the young artist to look carefully at his art and make a judgment. More importantly, this question teaches your child to value his own internal validation rather than performing in hopes of gaining the approval of others.

What title would you give this work?” Titles can offer a new dimension to a piece of art. Also, a title encourages your child to think about the main idea or concept of her work.

How were you feeling when you made this picture?” Connecting emotions with creative expression transfers to other content areas, including Language Arts.

If you could make this picture again, what would you do differently?” Professional artists often make many versions of the same picture, trying new things, tweaking, experimenting. Encourage your young artist to do the same.


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September & October Art News

The Art Year is going strong, with several projects completed in each grade level already!

Third graders completed their “Ninja Eggs” (drawing with simple shapes, shading with colored pencil from light to dark), did a drawing pre-assessment in their sketchbooks, completed construction paper TIKI masks, and are currently making CLAY masks.

Fourth graders did a pre-assessment in their sketchbooks, created two pages of pattern ideas in their sketchbooks, then used them as inspiration for their ZENTANGLES, using gel pens. Now, we are learning about Abstract Art. Our focus artists is Charles DeMuth (“I Saw the Figure Five in Gold”). Students chose a number that represented them, then based their geometric composition around that number. We are taking several weeks to paint with tempera, with an emphasis on color mixing to create different VALUES of the same color.

Fifth graders also did a drawing pre-drawing assessment in their sketchbooks, worked on their NEGATIVE SPACE ZENTANGLES & ANIMAL ZENTANGLES, and are currently learning how to take notes using a method called “Sketchnoting”. Once their Sketchnotes about Graphic Design are completed, they will start their own Graphic Design project.

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Welcome Back 2015/2016!

Welcome back to Leighton Art for 2015/16! There are lots of fun and creative projects planned for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. We will still have our digital gallery, Artsonia, plus rotating exhibits in the hallway.
NEW THIS YEAR: If you have artwork done at school that you would like to see on Artsonia, please take a high-quality picture (jpeg format is best) and send it to Mrs. Girbino at, and I will do my best to get it uploaded in a timely manner. Over the course of the year, I will also photograph and upload one piece per student.
Also, I’d like to review our 4 point grading scale: 4 means “complete mastery of the standard” (working completely on their own with complete control of media and well-developed imagery), 3 is “meeting the standard” (and that what we are aiming for, so it is a good grade), 2 means “developing toward the standard” (not there yet, but we will get there, together), and 1 is “needs improvement with the standard”.
Art making is about thinking through problems and challenges, and developing skills based on age-appropriate, ODE-aligned curriculum. The process of art making is much more important than a “product” at this age band. The grades reflect frequent check-ins and discussion, teacher observation, written reflections as well as sketches (all of the aforementioned are process-oriented), and finally, finished art.
Creativity is a skill that can be taught and is useful in any other subject and future career!
I am including a link about the top ten skills children learn in the Arts—

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Summer Symbaloo

Once again, many cool websites to make art without downloads (screenshot below) at
Picture 1

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Art Club 2015 Chalk Art (click for video)

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