Fine Arts Newsletter Grades 4-8

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

-Scott Adams

Hello! It’s time again to share with you some activities and projects, and all that is being creatively and artistically accomplished, in fine arts classes at St. Martin of Tours Academy.  As always, I am overjoyed to see the student’s overall enthusiasm, the creative skills and techniques being developed and expressed on a regular basis. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade are receiving a minimum of 85 minutes of regularly scheduled fine arts time during the school week, in compliance with the State of California and the Catholic Diocese of San Diego.  Assignments and lessons build on one another throughout the grades, providing students with the vocabulary, body of knowledge of art history, and “studio” skills and techniques that not only augment other academic subject areas, but prepare students to be creative, critical thinkers outside of the school setting.

Students in grades fourth through eighth continue to use a sketchbook as a tool for developing ideas, taking notes, experimenting with techniques, media, and the elements of art- including color explorations and shading. The fourth graders recently completed several exercises in color theory, and are currently working on watercolor paintings of California poppies. The fifth grade class has just finished designs with line and texture. The class is currently working on the multicultural “Dolls” project and country report.  Sixth and seventh grade students are working on portraiture, cartooning, and drawing caricatures.. The eighth grade students are continuing their study of the works of the masters. The next two featured artists will be Georgia O’Keeffe and Romare Bearden. We have also begun a unit on photography – history and processes, composition, and rudimentary instruction in how photographs are developed. The students have been busy taking photos around campus and the local community.

Our school’s Workshop Way® philosophy of education, which encourages students to manage their own lives and work, to take intellectual and creative risks, and work at their own pace and according to their own learning style, lends itself well to artistic endeavors and the creative process. Students are able to take their time when needed, and to challenge themselves to reach beyond the parameters of any given creative assignment if they so choose. There are lots of opportunities for improvement and mastery. Rubrics and project criteria include myriad choices for students to achieve success with any given project. Doodling, even, is encouraged, as ideas need to ‘“percolate”  and develop.  Experimentation with a variety of media and materials is encouraged, both in and out of the classroom. (Across the grades we’ve used charcoal and pastel, watercolors, acrylic and tempera, collage, colored pencil and graphite shading pencils to date.)

I hope you’ve had a chance to see some of the artwork being displayed around campus, or sent home in your child’s folder. It’s great to see imagination at work! Thanks for your support of our arts program.

For home connection activities, there are many good museums and galleries in San Diego County, several of which have “virtual museum” websites, classes for children, etc.  I encourage you to explore some of these with your child. Check out:  <>  <> and <> for starters.

You may always contact me through the school office or via my school e-mail (@) anytime you have questions or comments.  Thank you!

Denise A. O’Malley-Pippin

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