Busy, busy, busy art room!

It has been such a busy time in the art room lately!

In Kindergarten, we have worked on creating abstract painting and reading the book Lines that Wiggle  to create beautiful paintings!

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In first grade, we have been working hard on our bug drawings! Students used books to inspire a rendered drawing of a bug, and then we created a setting for the bugs.  Artists then learned how to make them pop-up using collage techniques!

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In second grade, we have been revisiting the study of seeds from their science unit, and creating Seed to Petal Portraits where students created drawings using oil pastels to show the flower’s beauty from its roots to the sky!

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Third grade artists have been deep in study with both their classroom teachers and in art class, to learn about artist biographies. In art class, we are working to create mini galleries the children have curated themselves. I almost don’t even want to show you because I want you to be surprised at their beauty…..but here is a glimpse (they are not done yet!)! Prepared to be shocked :).  We also are working to prepare for our field trip the Museum of Fine Arts next Friday- we cannot wait!


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Hey there art history friends…..Do you recognize these artists?

In fourth grade, we are finishing up our really magical and engaging printing unit.  We had a long conversation about printing and the history of spreading information from before newspapers to now…..the information age!  First, students have made animal prints using a carving technique, as well as Gelli Arts printing too! (Check out the video linked….your kids are addicted to printing- I bet you would be too- it is soooo fun!)  Wait until we organize the many, many prints….the chosen work will be on Artsonia soon, I promise 🙂


Fifth grade artists have been working hard to make their clay creations! Artists have been making clay containers that look like sweet treats. It has been really fun to see what they choose. Ask your child what they chose! Some kids decided to use this as an opportunity to share something about their culture and family traditions with sweet treats that come from all around the world. Would you mind sending in a recipe (I am not joking!)- they look delicious!!!!


Ice creams, pies, cookies and more!

As we gear up for the next round of projects, I also would ask you that if happen to have some extra baby wipes in your house….would you please donate some to the art room?

Enjoy the snow day today and ask your child more about their artwork! Maybe you can recreate some and email me the results? I would love to see what you make!


A Fun Vacation Activity!

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to the amazing families at Memorial Spaulding!

As things slow down and you find you need a fun snowy activity for your kids over the vacation….try to make some 3D snowflakes with your kids (just like the ones in the art room windows!)

You might be surprised how enjoyable they are to make! If your child is in 4th grade, skip this tutorial, and have your child teach you- they know what to do!

You’ll need: 6 sheets of computer paper, scissors, tape, and a stapler

Step one: take your papers and make them into squares like so (bonus: make bookmarks out of your scraps! Once you become a master snowflake maker you can make minis out of these!)


Step 2: fold the triangle again!

Step 3: find the right angle…the L as our hint! And add three diagonal lines: small, medium and small….

Step 4: cut those diagonal lines and open!

Step 5: roll the inside into a tube and tape it together and then flip it and continue! Your kids and I say “roll, tape, flip!”

Step 6: Make all 6 and then attach two together at a time in the center with a stapler and on the sides (the X spot)

Step 7: Assemble all 6 together in a star pattern and hang up!!!

Enjoy the break and thank you for your children, your support and your creativity! 

Winter is Coming…

Artists are always drawing inspiration from their lives around them and…winter is coming! The beauty of winter, the snow, and crisp air is a huge source of inspiration for Memorial Spaulding artists!


In Kindergarten, artists have been creating neighborhoods of houses and trees that we will cut and glue for our very first collage experience! We will paint snow on our neighborhoods, learning different brush techniques. Ask your child the “trick” we have to drawing trees without leaves….then try to draw some together!


In 1st Grade, we have learned about neighbor colors (also known as analogous colors) and painted the sky.  We will paint trees and snow soon. Ask your child which two neighbor colors were their choice!

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In 2nd Grade, we revisited our understandings of neighbor colors (also known as analogous colors) and introduced how to blend paint to create a beautiful winter sunset.  Ask students the silly word we use for our blending brush and stay tuned to see our tree silhouettes on top!


In 3rd Grade, we are studying contemporary artist Sandra Silberzweig, and no, this has nothing to do with winter. We are diving deep in our art history unit with a splash of learning about an artist who is still alive.  We are creating our own portraits with glue and pastel. Ask your child who they think are Silberzweig’s inspirations….who do you think?


Photo from the Fourth Grade Project courtesy of http://www.judygelles.com

In 4th Grade we are starting our photography unit and this Monday, we will take our photos!  4th Grade artists are studying a contemporary artist Judy Gelles, that I call….my aunt! She has been working on something called the The Fourth Grade Project, where she photographs 4th graders all around the world from Philadelphia to Shanghai to South Africa. Your children will be creating their own portraits as well.  Gelles asks the children that she visits, three questions: “Who do you live with? What do you wish for? What worries you?”  We will be writing as well with an arts integrated approach using our own guided questions like “What would make the world a better place?”  We will be learning some graphic design as well as photography and how to meld them together. Stay tuned for these thoughtful pieces of artwork.

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In 5th Grade we are finishing our Georgia O’Keeffe inspired flowers, where we studied contrasting colors, contrast and the use of positive and negative space. Soon, we will be creating name mandalas!


Also….Please follow our classroom on Twitter and see what we are up to…I update (almost) everyday!




Did you know that our Artsonia Gallery has over 1,000 pieces of artwork in it….and grows every day!?! Check it out if you haven’t already!


I am so thankful for you and your amazing children!

Also, congratulations to……us! We have over 1,000 works of art on our Artsonia school gallery!  Please look at all the different projects we do, each other’s work and  learn about our school’s art program!

Here is a video we have been watching about playing with your food (with the message: leave it to the professionals here, and remember that you can be an artist who works with any material!)



Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of family and fun!



Still Life, Artsonia and Twitter too!

Memorial Spaulding artists have been working very hard using their observational drawing skills to learn. This is not always an easy task, but once students have committed to engaging in this work, I have found that students work through frustration, put forth effort and are able to persist through to create really exciting and thoughtful works of art!  This is part of our work towards creating and building upon our Studio Habits of Mind, which are the pillars of our learning (you will hear your kids using this language hopefully!).

Here are the works of art we are working on….coming to our Artsonia Page once they are complete!

In fifth grade we are studying Georgia O’Keeffe and creating abstract flowers and will explore blending with contrasting colored oil pastels! Ask your child how abstract they decided to express in their work.


In fourth grade, we took on the challenge of drawing instruments in one of the most complex still life set ups I have ever seen! Students learned how to blend neighbor colors (also known as analogous colors) together. Ask your child how to they were able to use contour lines and create such complexities within their compositions and how they used their artistic license and why!


In third grade, we explore still life through the alla prima approach of painting.  Alla prima means “first attempt” and while it is a challenge, it is also very exciting. You wouldn’t believe how excited students have been to get started! Ask your kiddos all about this experience!


In second grade, students studied shells.  Through careful observation, and pretending to be a bug crawling around, along with the use of contour lines, students were able to create masterpieces! Students studied negative space and positive space (ask them the difference!) and how the warm colors contrast the cool colors. Ask them what contrast means too…..I bet they can even use it in a sentence!


In first grade, artists carefully studied flowers in a vase.  They started with a smile (ask them what this means- so silly and so helpful!) and then ask how they used the technique of doubling to create a 3-dimensional quality to their work!  Students are working to paint these drawings as well.

In Kindergarten, we read the book Planting a Rainbow by Lois Elhert and we used our monochromatic colors to create a garden. Ask your child what the word monochromatic means and ask them to say it like a robot (this helps them remember this sophisticated word for sure!)!  Students played the game “pass the color” which allowed them to use each color and build our skills to create our own garden!


Also…..the holidays are coming….don’t forget to use this code on ARTSONIA if you are making a purchase of a gift….Screen Shot 2016-11-15 at 7.06.55 PM.png

And lastly…..follow our classroom on Twitter! Click here to subscribe 🙂


Thank you for your support of the arts and I am so thankful for you and your imaginative children!

Seasonal Fun!

Today was a big learning day in the art room!

In 4th grade we made a Creepy Still Life  to jump start our observational drawing unit for all grades.

Wanna join the fun at home? Grab a bowl of fruit, a plant, or a collection of items and place them on the table. Ask your child to show how to draw it. They know the steps…..have them teach you! (Hint: start with contour lines, add details, then “ground your work” with a horizon line, etc).

Here was ours today:


In 2nd grade, we created monsters….have your child teach you how to either start with a shape and add on, or start with the features and go from there!


These fabulous monsters are on Artsonia– check them out!


And lastly, because who can resist? A video about jelly bean art!




To all who celebrate, enjoy a safe and colorful Halloween! I will be wearing my crayon box costume while I trick or treat with my daughters (dressed as a butterfly and scary ladybug!:)



Your children’s art is famous!

Your kid’s artwork is famous! I am so pleased to see that so many of you have given permission to our Artsonia page! Also thank you for commenting, sharing and even purchasing (funds raised from this site go back to the art room).  I am so excited about the online gallery and so are the kids!

Please check out all of the beautiful artwork and share away!

Here are the projects to see. Please ask your kids about the projects and read all about them.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 3.16.21 PM.pngIf you do not see your child’s artwork posted, here is why:


-You have not given permission yet!

Email me at Alexandra _Etscovitz@newton.k12.ma.us if you need help doing so.

-The other reason is your child has not finished YET. If this is the case, do not worry! We are hardworking artists and committed to our very best work is all! Stay tuned.

Here are some questions to ask your child about each project and some of our focus in class.

Kindergarten: What happens to crayon when you paint over it with watercolor? What is crayon made of and how does it react to watercolor?

First Grade: What is the difference between the warm and cool colors? Do you have a trick that helps you remember?

Second Grade: What is the “star” of your artwork? How did you make it “pop?”

Third Grade: What is a concentric shape? What is a grid?

Fourth Grade: What is a zentangle? Where did you get inspiration for your designs?

Fifth Grade: How did you decide how to create seasons and show what represented each one? What are some colored pencil and watercolor techniques that you used?


Thank you as always for your amazing support for the Memorial Spaulding Art program!



This is a very exciting year for Memorial Spaulding, we are joining www.artsonia.com!

You should have received an email asking for permission to have your child’s artwork posted in our online gallery: please say YES! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

If you did not receive an email, please let me know! Email me at:


and I will send you the information!


What is Artsonia?

With the generous volunteer help (you know who you are and I love ya!), there will be many art projects will be posted!

Here is a preview of the ones posted soon!

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I am so excited and I hope you are too!

In the Art Room so far…

What have your kids been up to?


This past week we have been making portfolio drawings, a tradition in our class that start when your child starts at Memorial Spaulding. On the first week of art of each school year and the last day too, we draw portfolio drawings. Each child is invited to draw a person, an animal, a building and a machine.It is a way for students to have their own progress reports of their drawings in a portfolio for themselves!

Each year, we draw these and we imagine the day in 5th grade when the kids will get them back… this year’s kindergarten will have to wait until 2023!

(Personal note: Oh my goodness, I am a kindergarten mom too this year, so this is just mind boggling! 🙂

Here is an example of a child’s change in kindergarten one year……so much change and growth!


Here is one example of a student’s drawing from kindergarten to 5th grade:


Remember I mentioned I’m a mom of a school aged child? I never realized how hard it is to extract information from them around the dinner table. Here is some help….ask your child this:

-What did you choose for your person, animal, building and machine?

-For our older students:

Do you choose the same thing each year, or do you prefer to choose what is exciting to you in the present moment?

-Which is your favorite to draw and why?

It is fun for students to see such progress on paper, both with the student’s actual drawing abilities, along with how their personal artistic style emerges, and how ideas grow and blossom.  I hope you look forward to and cherish these as much as the kids (and I) do!


Want to know what’s up for the next projects? Here are some glimpses for the Tuesday-Friday kids who started already! I will update you next week on all the fabulous things your kids are doing!

 Lastly, thank you for the donations- we can never have enough baby wipes, so thanks to those who have already donated!  We could also use:

tin foil, tissue boxes, paper towels, more baby wipes, colored sharpies, old magazines, legos, magnatiles, and hand sanitizer!

Have an amazing and colorful weekend 🙂

Welcome Back!

Dear Memorial Spaulding Families,

Welcome back to school!  I am so glad to be back for another colorful year!  For those of you who I have just met (virtually), please come in and introduce yourself and visit the art room….and familiar faces are welcome too, I would love to see you! We have the most beautiful studio I have ever seen.

A little about me….I am a native Newtonian and attended Memorial Spaulding when I was a kid. I graduated from Brandeis University with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Education and hold a Masters Degree in Education with a focus in Arts Integration from Fitchburg State University. I have two little artists at home too (a new preschooler and a new kindergartener!). I am surprised and proud to say, this is my 13th year at Memorial Spaulding teaching art!

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I am looking forward to a great year of discovery as we learn about ourselves as artists as well as art from around the world and throughout history. We will engage in array of creative endeavors including drawing, painting, printing, ceramics, building and collage. It is my goal to work together with you and your child to make art class an experience where he or she will learn and grow in a thoughtful, inquisitive and joyful way.  We create in lots of different ways in the art room, allowing your child to find his or her voice in the arts, while also learning skill sets with different media, and becoming a 21st century learner.  It is my expectation that students will be able to use the time we share to its full potential and in a productive way!

I hope we can work together to make art a special place for your child. I will be in communication about your child’s art class to share happy moments of success and so we can work together to be sure that your child is using his or her time productively!

Please feel free to email me at Alexandra_Etscovitz@newton.k12.ma.us or stop by!

As a reminder- please do not send your child to school on his or her art day in special clothes- making art can sometimes be messy!

 Please spread the word about this blog. Send this email to 5 friends! 

This blog allows you to know what your child is learning about in art class, along with supplemental activities.  It also acts as a springboard for conversations about our artistic adventures!

The art room could also use the following donations if possible:

Baby Wipes ****(these are amazing for cleaning the art room and hands!)

Paper Towels

Hand sanitizer

Colored Sharpies

Tissue Boxes

Gently Used Children’s Books and Building Toys such as legos, magnatiles, crystal climbers, etc


  • This year, Memorial Spaulding is invited to join thousands of other schools in the world to have an online art gallery through http://www.artsonia.com! The only way to make this happen is to have a fabulous volunteer who can coordinate volunteers or one organized volunteer who feels comfortable to take photos of the student artwork on a monthly basis with an iPad.  Ms. E will have the artwork organized and through the amazing magic of the Artsonia app, all you need to do is take the photo and match it to the child’s name (which is already organized by class via the app).  If you would like to be the coordinator for this opportunity, please email Alexandra_Etscovitz@newton.k12.ma.us.

All families: look for an announcement how you can see your child’s art on www.artsonia.com so you can share it with your family and friends worldwide! 🙂

Thank you!

I am looking forward to seeing you soon!


Alexandra Etscovitz (most kids call me Ms. E)