Expression through Line

How are lines used to convey expression in art?

“Line is the basis of art, and expression, no matter the medium. Lines are created when one point connects to another. They are inherent in all visual art, from painting to sculpture, and can be viewed abstractly in the performing arts.

Consider how a musician follows lines and creates them using notes played for different lengths of time. Or think about the way a dancer’s gestures create an invisible line through the space around them. “

Quote by, KRISTIN FAR in Analyzing the Elements of Art | Ways to Think About Line

Lines of Music, Movement and Art

During the past weeks children had the opportunity to explore lines; straight, horizontal, diagonal, vertical, curvy, zig-zag, rough, smooth, thick and thin and how they relate to music. We listened to music and learned about moving our bodies with the movement of the music. We studied and explored various genres of music listening for changes in sounds, volume, speed, and movement.

This is what some of our children had to say about movement and music:

“It’s the energy inside us. We have to feel it coming out.” -Jordan

“Each instrument has a different voice.” -Nickolas

“I feel with the music my happiness getting bigger!” -Siyeon

In the photos above, children are retelling the story of the ‘fish’ and the ‘lions’ in the Carnival of animals.

Next, children listened to music and decided what animal they thought of while listening to the movement of the music. Once they had an idea they drew a picture.

Next was the chance to move to the music while telling the story of the animal they had drawn through movement. Others watched as they tried to interpret the movement and guess the animal and the story line.


Additional music and movement activities included shadow dancing and musical games as shown below.


After having explored music and lines through movement we look to visual arts to express movement through lines.

Below, children were asked to paint lines across their papers showing the movement of the music, ‘Peter and the Wolf’, as the tip of their brush danced across the paper as a dancer would move across a dance floor. Connections were made from body movement to the movement of lines dancing across their paper.

“Hey, the music really helps me with my painting. It helps me with the lines!” -Ransom



Once the lines had dried the children painted between and around their lines as they continued to listen to ‘Peter and The Wolf’.


Below are samples of the ‘Line Compositions’.






Exploring Mixed Media

Creating Patterns and Texture with Paint,  Bubble Wrap and Yarn

What is it about bubble wrap that is so much fun? Is it the way it surprises us when it pops between our fingers or under our toes? Is it the popping feeling? Whatever it is we have taken bubble wrap fun to a new level.

In the Arts year-long unit, How We Express Ourselves, we explore various medias and learn how to use art tools. Using a mixed media, children discover ways of combining what they know about paint properties and that of shape and texture. In this particular activity, children were given the choice of paint colors and different sized bubble wrap. There was also a second activity involving large sized bubble wrap and yarn, shown below.

We know that children benefit from experiencing a variety of materials and techniques. They are more likely to try new combinations and ideas on their own once they have learned the media’s potentials and limitations. This exercise creates the opportunity to explore new media in order to create open-ended, process-oriented art which allows for making choices, coming to conclusions, second-guessing decisions, and evaluating results. Children become more comfortable with uncertainty and remain flexible thinkers, which is the key for creativity and confidence.

In this activity, the children began by choosing the size bubble wrap they wanted to print with and painted the rough, bumpy textured side of the plastic.


Children are sharing materials and choosing what colors to paint onto their plastic bubbles.

Once the bubbles were painted, the children flipped the plastic onto their paper to make a print.

Next, the paper was held down with one hand while the other hand worked to lift the bubble wrap off the paper.


Once one print was made, children made the choice of adding prints on top of their first prints.



Bubble Wrap and Yarn

Children created two small collaborative artworks using mixed media of plastic, yarn and pom-poms.



Holes were cut opening the bubbles from the backside of the plastic.

Kindergarten students filled in the bubbles with yarn and Pre-K students filled the bubbles with pom-poms. This was a great activity for fine motor skills, problem-solving, working together, and experiencing yet another way to use various medias.

The result, our bubble wrap textured yarn art! Is it a blanket? Is it a pillow? Is it wall art? You decide!


Music In The Making


We love to sing!

 we have been learning a lot about singing. How do we stand or sit while singing? Why is it important? We learn how to breath and how to pronounciate our words while singing to make a better sound. We are working as a team when we are singing.

Below are some photos from our practices.


As the children learned the words to our concert songs we began talking about beats and rhythm. We began learning a ‘Ta’ and a ‘Ti-Ti’ pattern. We practiced these patterns while singing and using hand instruments.


Children learned how to use hand instruments and how to take care of them.

 As the children began to become more interested in using a ‘Ta’ and ‘Ti-Ti’ rhythm they began making rhythms using popsicle sticks, buttons, jewels, and pom-poms, as shown below.



The idea of creating rhythm and starting to read music was exciting.

Here you can see a student taking a hand instrument and playing rhythms that his classmates had made.

After beginning to read a basic rhythm pattern, bells were set out with sheet music for children to explore.

Stations of music explorations were provided for the children to explore range, pitch and vibration of sounds.

Water Station

Children experimented with sound by hitting pans with a wooden stick when the pans were in and out of water. How did the sound change when the pan was full of water? Was there a difference in the sound as the water was being poured out? Why do you think this is happening? How does the sound change when the pan is in the water and when it’s above the water?


Water Glasses

Children experimented with sounds by pouring water into various glasses and hitting the sides of the glasses with a wooden stick. The sounds and pitches changed with the level of water in the glasses.

Below you can see the children creating various instruments. This was another way of creating sound.


Above, children are working hard to paper mache’ a maraca.

In the above pictures, children are making tambourines. First, they decorated the outsides of the plates and glued them together. Once the glue was dried, holes were punches around the edges of the plates. Then the children laced around the edges of their plates adding jingle bells as they went along.


Above, children are making jingle bell bracelets to take home. Some practiced singing ‘Jingle Bells’ with their bracelets.


Above, children are creating instruments from recycled materials. After they made their instruments they sang and played together.

These were some of our activities leading up to the Winter Concert that we performed in December.  We are currently beginning to learn more about music in relation to stories, movement and expression.


Pre-K and Kindergarten students made circle prints out of black paint and glue. The children were given the opportunity to create as many circles as they wanted using the various sized jar and tube openings.


Each Kindergarten student stamped two papers. Pre-K students stamped one large piece of paper.
Once the children finished stamping they were put aside to dry.

Next, children used liquid watercolor to paint their circles.
Pre-K students had the opportunity to use all the colors on one paper while the Kindergarten students used cold colors on one paper and warm colors on the other.

The children were asked to think of things that they knew to be cold. Then they were asked to think about what colors they were.

“Ice, Ice cream, Icicles, Snowmen, Glaciers”  These were some of the children’s answers.

The same question was asked of things that were warm and what colors they were.

“Fire, Lava, Deserts” 

After talking about hot and cold colors the children touched the paints to see if they were physically hot or cold. They were surprised to find out that they felt the same. The children were introduced to the idea of colors representing hot and cold. Later in the year we will explore colors in relation to emotions and how they fit into the idea of being hot or cold colors and why.

Below Kindergarten students are painting warm and cold color panels.

Below are sample stamp painting of students from Kindergarten. 




Display of Kindergarten Stamp Paintings

Pre-K students used all colors on one paper as shown below.


Samples from Pre-K.





Pre-K Clay Sculptures

Who We Are

Awareness of our characteristics, abilities and interests shapes who we are as learners.

The Pre-K team and EY Arts teacher joined efforts in collecting documentation and work from the children to be showcased together.

Through the Pre-K and Arts inquiry time, children created clay sculptures of themselves. As they were experimenting with a new medium, clay, each child thought of what they would want their sculpture to be doing. The idea we kept in mind while doing this project was focused around ‘How we Learn?’ and ‘How do we know we are learning?


Beginning our Project:

Ms. Gist and her Pre-K students talked about what a sculpture was. We were to create a statue/sculpture of 
ourselves doing something we’d like to share with others.

we had to think about (making pictures in our minds) of what we would like to show ourselves doing. How would that look like in clay?


Next, students began by molding the lower part of their body keeping in mind how their sculptures would be placed (sitting down, laying down, crawling or standing).


After the children learned how to make the lower part of the body they began making the middle part of the body and the head.  Once all three pieces were completed, the children learned to score and slip the clay while using a needle tool and water.


See how carefully the children used the needle tools. This was an excellent fine motor exercise while giving the children the ‘tools’ they needed to create on their own.

Once all three pieces of clay have been joined together the clay was smoothed with wet fingers. Extra clay was also added to the ‘joints’ of the bodies to be sure they would not fall apart once they dried.


Next, children chose the materials they wanted to make their arms, legs, hands and feet.  Many children chose to score and slip clay arms and legs onto their sculptures while others chose sticks.


We all love choices! Part of being creative is being able to choose what materials we want for our creation.


You see steady hands and concentrated minds at work.

Sculptures were left to dry.


Our Final Step was to reexamine the sculptures and to see if there were any more details we could add. Most children were happy with their sculptures as they were while a few decided to add a little pizzazz.  (Adding a little color and fabric to sculptures and then we were done!)


Reflection: We learn by sharing what we know.

“Now I know how to make a sculpture! 
First, you make a ball. Then you make a hole. You put scratches on the clay. Then you take another ball and make a hole and then you make a head. Then you make hair. We put scratches and then we put the water. Then you make a big line to make the hands. We put them (together). I made another line to make another arm and hand. And then I put a little bit long sticks for hair and then I put it inside the brain to make hair. I think we put a scratch to make a happy face. That was easy for me.” -Ishaan

These are our sculptures.

















Reunited and Waiting for Transport

Our Clay Sculptures Are  Now Displayed just outside the Pre-K Hallway and near to the ES Office.


Painted Portraits

Pastel, Liquid Watercolor, Dye

After completing pen and paper drawings of themselves, their first portraits, the children in Pre-K and Kindergarten had the opportunity to use a new medium and to look at faces in a different way. While creating these portraits children were shown how to use the materials properly and taught proportions of our faces. Children were given the freedom to draw, choose the shapes of these facial features, add oil pastel and to paint the color of dyes they wanted to use.

We know that through drawing fine motor and coordination skills increase. Children get a chance to practice holding a pen, pencil, brush, pastel and learn how to color in small closed areas. These are very important steps towards writing.

Children embrace creativity and confidence the more they are exposed to different materials and how to use them. The drawings and expressions through colors are a powerful way for children to communicate their feelings.

Here is the process:

First, children were giving a paper with a line down the middle and a line across. We talked about the vertical line representing the line down the middle of our face. The horizontal line is the line the runs just under our nose.

Next, we started by looking at our facial features. Step by step we drew our noses, lips, chin and eyes. Children were encouraged to add additional details to their drawing if they wished to do so.

Second step, children used pastels to shade and to mark added designs onto their potraits


 The final step was for the children to use the liquid watercolors and dyes to paint their portraits. As the children used the dyes they noticed that the colors changed as the liquid colors met. Yellows and blues became greens. Yellow and red became orange. We could see how the liquid rolled off the oil pastels and learned that oil and water don’t mix.


Here are the results of these beautiful portraits, each similar and yet each unique. Just like US!

Pre-K Portraits

Kindergarten Portraits

I love how proud the students were of their work and how confident they grew in using the materials. Each of their portraits were displayed on bulletin boards in various locations in the Elementary School. How proud students were to show their parents and to share with one another. What a lovely way to celebrate children’s learning.

Marble Painting

Pre-K and Kindergarten students experienced mixing colors with the use of tempera paint, paper, trays and marbles. Fascinating horizontal, vertical and diagonal line patterns were created as each marble took to their own path. In this activity children learned about lines, color mixing and worked their fine motor skills. 

First, children scooped marbles from small cups of tempera paint using their fingers or a spoon and put the marbles onto their paper. This exercised fine motor skills.

With a finger or a spoon children took marbles from different paint cups.

Here a student is dropping a marble into his tray.







Next, trays were moved around in various directions so that the marbles could make their own paths as they mixed with other colors. As the marbles moved the children had to regulate the plastic trays. If the tray was moved too quickly or if too large a movement was made then the marbles would fly off the tray.

Some children worked with a partner and everyone had the opportunity to create several of  their own marble paintings.

In this photo you see two students working together to move the tray in the same direction while keeping the marbles in the tray. There were a few cases of flying marbles. 🙂

In the pictures above you see children adding marbles to their paintings and rotating trays.

Below are samples of some of our marble painting. You can see more paintings displayed on our bulletin board just outside the EY Arts and Music Classroom.

Below is our bulletin board display.

Who We Are – Portraits


Awareness of our characteristics, abilities and interests shapes who we are as learners.

At the beginning of the year, Pre-K and Kindergarten students had a close look at who they were. The children began studying facial features. and made portraits of themselves using pen and paper.

Research tells us that children’s drawings are their earliest attempts at writing and an important phase in their overall development. Children also draw what they know and are aware of. Throughout the year we will see significant growth in the awareness of self, others and their environment through their drawings.

We started by taking a good look at ourselves and others.

(In reference to our faces) How are we the same? How are we different? How do faces tell others about us?

This is a good baseline drawing for future drawings. It’s also an excellent exercise for the children as they begin to communicate through pictures.

After we made our first portraits we read a stories about faces and how we can see faces in everyday objects. The children were inspired to create their own faces as we looked at objects through ‘artist eyes’.

Various objects were carefully set out for the children to use to create faces. This activity gave children choices and they had the opportunity to be creative.

Look at the beautiful faces and how the children used their creative minds, fine and gross motor skills and knowledge of faces to create different emotions.

When children are encouraged to use a variety of materials and to try their own ideas, they are self motivated to learn. They not only ask questions, but also realize their own answers. This is when creativity offers new possibilities.

Exploration of lines and shapes using oil and chalk pastels

The past few weeks we have been exploring lines, and shapes at the art table. During the children’s exploration the children noticed that the lines continue on forever, but a shape stops. At the art table the children made their own lines and shapes using the pastels. Playing with the oil and chalk pastels allowed the children to notice different qualities about the tools. They could make thick and thin lines, fancy lines and squiggly lines. With the chalk pastels the children could make the lines look like they are ‘wiggling’ by smudging the chalk with our fingers. The oil pastels were a bit more sticky and they had to press down hard to create the line.

After the children played around with the pastels creating many different types of designs using lines and shapes, they then used black glue to create permanent lines. They then painted in the spaces/shapes using water-colors. It was interesting to hear the discussion as they thought about what their designs looked like!


What do you think it is?

“It’s colorful mountains and it has a little bit of snow.” Valter
“I think it’s a picture, of oceans with mountains in the background.” Ilyia
“It’s colorful picture, there is purple, green, red and pink.” Liza
“The yellow is the sky and the triangles are the houses, and there are mountains on the bottom with little ants.” Evilina
“I think it’s like an ocean and mountains and some sunshine.” David.
“And the snow is melting.” Valter
“It looks like an eye.” Raisa.

Playing Conductors

As the children were exploring sounds in the music area, one group got into a bit of a disagreement about who was going to be the ‘boss’ and show people what to do on the stage. This particular group of children wanted to all be on the stage at the same time and they couldn’t decide who was going to do what – by that time we had run out of time, so the next day I put our a music stand and a baton. Most of the children had seen a music stand and knew what it was used for. Automatically they moved the stand to the front of the stage and started to direct the people on stage. Some of the children then had the idea that the music stand needed a piece of paper on the stand – “This is to tell people what to do!” cries one child. Another child comments, “but there is nothing on the paper?” I suggested that perhaps they could go to the drawing table and write their ideas down. It was really interesting to see the different ideas that they used. Some children used lines, while others used shapes and another drew a person using the motions.

I also showed them a short video clip from Sesame Street about meeting a real conductor. In the video it showed us how the conductor used his baton to show the tempo of the music and all without saying a word but just by moving his baton.

By adding in these provocations, the children have been rushing into writing their own ‘free notation’ of music. The next few lessons I plan on sharing with them the percussion instruments and do a few ‘conducting’ games with them. The goal being to have the children learn to work together and to try and think about what the music is doing.