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6-8 Art

December 6, 2019 | Clara Buckley

Instructor: Ms. Buckley

Course Content

In the fall, students study the elements of art and principles of design, becoming familiar with the necessary vocabulary to compare and contrast artworks. Students learn how to analyze the formal aspects of a work of art by considering the elements of art and principles of design used by artists.

Seventh and eighth grade students prepare for their art exhibition, given in November. This year’s theme is book illustration.

During the winter term, students create illuminated manuscript pages. They examine and analyze a wide variety of illuminated manuscripts. They learn about the texts being illuminated and the reasons why certain people, objects and designs found their way onto the written pages. Students then create illuminated manuscript pages of their own. The text to be illuminated could be words from a worship song, a class psalm, favorite quote, etc.

King David in Prayer in an Initial B

Zanobi Strozzi ca. 1450

In Greek mythology a chimera is a fire-breathing monster, the front part of whose body, according to the Iliad, was that of a lion, the middle that of a goat, and the rear that of a dragon. Students discuss chimera/hybrid animals and share examples from popular culture. After hearing the story of traditional chimera, students use resource materials to draw their own chimera creations. In small groups, students combine their best ideas to create a single chimera. This design is realized in paper maché.


Paper Mache Dragon by Dan Reeder

To complement the middle school’s study of the emergence of complex societies, we study Egyptian hieroglyphs. Students learn how the ancient Egyptian system of writing was deciphered in 1799 when the Rosetta Stone was discovered. Each student phonetically translates their name into hieroglyphs and crafts a decorative clay cartouche.

Ramses II’s cartouches at Tanis, 3655b.c.

Throughout the year students spend time in observational drawing, working with a variety of media and techniques. 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.

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

Teacher, Rivers Class; 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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