Riverton Elementary School Portland, ME

Grade 4 and 5, January 2018

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"Art is something you make or create. It is something from you mind and it can be made any way you want."

- Riverton Elementary School student

In this lesson students observed objects in nature too small to see with eyes alone.  Students learned about the proper use of a microscope and recorded their observations through drawings, notes, and conversations. Students then planned a design inspired by their microscopic discoveries to help inform a one of a kind watercolor painting.

Students are  introduced to the project outline through an interactive presentation that asks students "What is art?" Student responses lead into a demonstration on the proper use of a digital and a discussion concerning the relationship between science and art.

On day two documentation booklets are passed out to help guide and support students while they observe and record the natural specimens at their table and through the microscope

After  brainstorming of ideas, students decide on final designs for their Microscope Watercolor paintings

Students are introduced to the properties of color, use of a color scheme, and proper use of a watercolor palette and brush before moving into their final designs

Completed watercolor paintings are displayed in class as students begin to finish their artworks

In the final phases of the project students reflected on what they  learned by speaking, writing, and reading about their artistic process.




Riverton Elementary School, Portland ME

Grades 2-3 January 2018

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In the Memory Mandala Project students expressed themselves in a circular format using pencils, pens, paper, and watercolors. Students combine symbols and colors that hold intrinsic value to them to help create their mandala inspired watercolor paintings.


Students are introduced to the history of the mandala and asked to comptemplate "What are the unique features of your world?" Student lead demonstrations in the use of a compass and finding the center point of a square follow.


Students brainstorm their ideas in a workbork aimed at developing techniques and critical thinking skills


Once students experimented with a variety of sketches and decided on a final design they began working with watercolors. A scheduled watercolor teacher demonstration was planned and executed and each student was given a watercolor test strip to experiment on first before beginning their final designs.


Students participated in a Pair and Share assessment during a working critique on the second to last work day for the Memory Mandal Project. Students were reminded to be helpful, specific, and kind while discussing artwork with their peers.


Fnished artwork was displayed in the classroom as students began to complete their memory mandalas.


On the final day of the Memory Mandala Project students learned how to mount their own artwork, completed a written assessment on artistic techniques and terminology, and particpated in a group reflection on the artistic processes that occured throughout the assignemnt.