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4-5 Grade Art Curriculum

December 10, 2019 | Clara Buckley

Instructor: Ms. Buckley


Thunder and Lightning begin the year with an introductory exploration of the materials available in the art room. The goal is to be proficient at independently accessing these media and to learn the routine of caring for materials and the room. Students begin drawing in their new sketchbooks.

In the fall, we look closely at the proportions of the face. This informs our drawing technique to create a self-portrait. Students take this practice into a three dimensional media, modeling a portrait in wire, clay, or textiles.

In the winter term, students study the New York artist Faith Ringgold, gaining inspiration from her paintings and textile art. Ringgold has written and illustrated children’s books, her most famous being Tar Beach.

Tar Beach quilt by Faith Ringgold

Students create an entry in the Graceful Envelope Contest. This is a challenge to work to a design brief to transform an envelope into a work of art incorporating the set theme. Students refine their ideas through several drafts before finalizing their design. Winners are chosen based on artistic hand lettering, creative interpretation of the theme and effective use of color and design, including incorporation of postage stamp(s).


Dante Speranza’s winning entry

The sculptor, and inventor of mobiles, Alexander Calder studied at Stevens University in Hoboken. After graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Calder enrolled in art school and gained renown as a sculptor. After viewing Calder’s mobiles, students create their own mobile on the theme of flight. Students consider the math and physics involved as to ensure a balanced mobile.


1932 Mobile by Alexander Calder


Throughout the year students spend time in observational drawing, working with a variety of media and techniques. Students are encouraged to look more closely at familiar objects to improve their representational drawings. Through instruction and practice students improve their attempts to record effectively and build confidence as artists and communicators.

Students receive three grades in art: Meaningful Expression, Quality of Craftsmanship, and Use of Art Studio.

Meaningful Expression values the personal ideas and beauty that a child brings to their art.
Quality of Craftsmanship notes accuracy and mastery of material and process shown in the art.
Use of Art Studio reflects a student’s organization, use of time and materials, and contribution to a good working environment.

The expectation is for students to achieve a ‘3’ grade in these areas. This reflects that a child is meeting expectations and making progress in their learning.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. The best way to reach me is by email at [email protected]

Clara Buckley

Preschool Art Specialist; Middle School Art

Clara Buckley’s teaching spans the ages of Mustard Seed School, from the youngest students in the preschool to students in the graduating class. She’s found many similarities between teaching three-year-olds and thirteen-year-olds!

As an art teacher who never enjoyed drawing, Ms Buckley’s hope is that each child she teaches discovers a way to create art that they enjoy, whether it be sculpture, printing, textiles, architectural drawing, or collage.

Ms. Buckley loves living in Jersey City, a place whose diversity and welcome for immigrants reflects her own family experience. When planning future travel destinations, art, food, and time with family are featured items on her list.

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