Stop-motion animation by Ethan and Sam


First and third graders explored the new Assembly app, thinking about how to use basic geometric shapes to create figures, patterns, and forms.


First graders are studying author and illustrator Lois Elhert. They have been noticing her use of geometric shapes and bright abstract color. To practice her artistic style, students are using a new app called Assembly to create shape animals using bright color and overlapping shapes.

by Tomas
5th graders are finishing a unit based on digital illustrations. We watched a video interview with an artist who creates illustrations for a living, and observed her in action as she used a special kind of tablet and pen to draw designs in a computer program.

Students picked a piece of fiction or informational writing from ELA, and chose three scenes where an illustration could be helpful in providing a visual. They sketched their scenes and decided which colors or textures would best convey the mood or information in the scene.

Next, we discussed how digital illustrators must first pick the type of software that will best fit the desired style of their illustrations. For example, an iPad drawing app might provide a more sketchy style, and a Photoshop drawing could look more realistic.

Students had freedom to pick from a variety of software that could give them the look they wanted. They aimed to make all three illustrations match in style and texture. Students will insert their illustrations into their iBook Author e-books that they have been working on in Digital Communications.

First graders studied a type of textile art called a Mola, which originated from an group of islands off of Panama called the San Blas Islands. The Mola is traditionally made by Kuna women as a way to celebrate the traditions and wildlife of the islands. Thanks to Ms. McCrakin, first graders were able to study a real Mola and notice how it was created through many layers of fabric and stitches to hold it together.
A Mola texture from Panama

To give us a better feel of the art, students took a trip to Panama through Google Earth. We started in Washington, DC and watched as the map took us all the way to Central America. We were able to click on the islands and even look through pictures of what the Kuna people might see, feel, and hear in their everyday lives. This gave us information in what kinds of animals and colors could go in their Molas.

Next, students learned about the digital art words Stroke and Fill, and compared these words to a pie. They observed where on a Mola they may see a "pie crust" and where to use a "pie filling. They practiced turning on the Fill and Stroke on the app InkPad.

Students created their own Molas through the app, making sure to include the stitches, saturated colors, and geometric outlines of the Mola.

View more Molas on our Artsonia gallery.
Fourth grade frame animation: