2016-17 K Art Unit Descriptions!

Projects throughout the year are subject to change due to student interests and collaborations with classroom teachers but the descriptions below will give you a good overview of the Kindergarten year in art!

Kindergarten Art Units


Unit 1: Elements of Art

Topics: Lines, Shapes, Colors,

Techniques: Drawing, cutting, gluing, coloring

Materials: Pencils, Markers, sharpies, crayons, oil pastels, scissors, glue sticks

Unit Overview:

The goal of this unit is to introduce basic art vocabulary and the elements of art, evaluate fine-motor skills, and introduce key art techniques and materials. Students will view famous works of art to identify elements of art and art materials they have learned about, pushing them to analyze and describe what they see.

Students begin by learning about different kinds of lines (straight, curvy and zigzag) and how to move their hand across the paper to create them. Next, students practice cutting those lines by using scissors. Next, students learn about different shapes and what kinds of lines are used to create them. Following, they will cut out different shapes and practice gluing them to create a collage. Students will then have a brief introduction to color mixing by using oil pastels to invent different flavors of ice cream. The unit finishes with a self-portrait project in which students use various shapes to compose their bodies, apply details to their hair, faces and clothes to represent themselves, and mix different colors of crayons to match their own skin tones.


Unit 2: Colors

Topics: Primary Colors, Warm Colors, Cool Colors

Techniques: Painting, Color-mixing, Collage

Materials:  Tempera paint, watercolor paint, brushes, water cups, paper towels, t-shirt smocks, pencils, crayons, oil pastels, sharpies, construction paper, glue sticks

Unit Overview:

The goal of this unit is to dive deeper into color as an element of art by learning about the following color groups: primary (red, yellow and blue), secondary (green, orange and purple) warm (red, orange and yellow) and cool (blue, purple and green). Additionally, students will be introduced to basic painting techniques and learn important procedures for taking care of brushes, paint sets, and the art room when painting.

The unit begins with primary colors, which are introduced through the work of artist Piet Mondrian. Students will view examples of his work to identify the various elements of art they learned about in the previous unit, and the colors he chose. Then students will create their own interpretation of Mondrian’s work by painting with watercolor. Next, students will learn that secondary colors can be created by mixing two primary colors together by reading the book Mouse Paint. Students will then create their own secondary color paintings by mixing primary watercolor paints. Students will then learn about warm and cool colors and how they can be used to express feelings of temperature and mood. They will use warm colors to create paintings of fall leaves and pumpkins and cool colors to create a collage of an underwater scene.


Unit 3: Principles of Art

Topics: Pattern, Balance with symmetry and asymmetry

Materials: Stamp pads, tempera paint, watercolor paper

Unit Overview:

The goal of this unit is to introduce students to the principles of art as a group of art “recipes” that help artists organize the elements of art in their artwork. Students will learn about the following principles of art: pattern and balance with symmetry and asymmetry.

The unit begins by introducing pattern as the repetition of two or more elements of art. Students will identify examples of patterns in famous works of art and then create their own patterns by stamping various objects and printing them on to their papers to create patterns of shapes and colors. Next, students will learn about balance as the way artists make their entire composition look even and equal. They will focus on symmetry as one way to create balance and view examples of famous works of art to distinguish between symmetry and asymmetry. Students will then create a symmetrical “blob” painting by applying paint to one side of the paper and folding it in half. Then they will add to their blob painting by using markers to turn it into a monster’s face while maintaining symmetry.


K Unit 4: Art Around the World

Topics: Moroccan Pottery, Pattern, Various traditional Headdresses

Techniques: Clay pinch pot technique, paper sculpture (folding, rolling, gluing), painting

Materials: Air-dry clay, oil-based clay, colorful sharpies, Mod Podge, tempera paint, construction paper, glue sticks, scissors, crayons, markers

Unit Overview:

The goal of this unit is to expose students to art making traditions from cultures around the world. At this point in the year students are able to apply what they have learned about the elements and principles of art to analyze artistic choices.

The unit begins with a project about Moroccan Pottery. Students view examples of Moroccan pottery and discuss the process of shaping the clay by using a potter’s wheel or the pinch pot technique and also the patterns and designs typical of Islamic artwork. Connecting what they learned about patterns in unit 3, they discuss the meditative properties of viewing and creating patterns. Students then practice the pinch pot technique by using oil-based clay, and then create their own pottery by using air-dry clay. Once the clay is dry, they apply their own patterns and designs inspired by those seen in Moroccan pottery.

The next project is about headdresses. Students view examples of tribal headdresses from Mexico, South Africa, and Mali and discuss the different rituals and celebrations associated with each one. Students then analyze the headdresses formally, identifying the various elements and principles of art they see, and then discuss the use of symbolism in art to connect artistic choices to meaning. Students then design and create their own headdresses by applying various paper sculpture techniques and share them with a class headdress festival.

Next students learn about the Ghanaian tradition of Kente Cloth. Kente cloth is introduced through the book The Spider Weaver which tells the origin story of the first Kente Cloth. Students learn that Kente Cloth is passed down from generation to generation in families and is made up of specific symbols that represent values important to that family. Students learn three traditional Ghanaian symbols and then design three more that reflect values important to their classroom community. Then each students designs their own strip of Kente cloth by painting with watercolor. Each strip is then combined to create a class Kente Cloth, embedded with symbolic values that are important to them.


K Unit 5: Contemporary Art

Topics: Installation, collage, sculpture, symmetry, shapes, lines

Techniques: Cutting, Hole-punching, gluing, drawing, paper sculpture

Materials: Tissue paper, sharpies, colorful sharpies, construction paper, crayons, watercolor paint, pipe-cleaners, hole-punchers

Unit Overview:

The goal of this unit is to expose students to the ways in which contemporary artists use art materials, techniques and concepts in new and interesting ways. It’s also an opportunity for students to see that art is always evolving and that as young artists, they are a part of art history.

This unit focuses on installation art, defined as artwork made for a specific space. Students will view examples of installations from the Renwick Gallery’s exhibition titled Wonder. They will discuss the ways in which installations transform the space they inhabit. They will then collaborate on a garden installation in the artroom, adding various 2D and 3D elements that they would see in a real garden. By applying drawing, collage, and paper sculpture techniques they will transform the art room into a blooming garden just in time for summer break.