Welcome to Art with Mrs. French

I've put together this site to showcase some of the wonderful art work my students are creating. Take a look around and enjoy!

We Are Art Smart!

Howard Gardner, Ph.D., professor at Harvard University, first identified seven different kinds of intelligence in his classic book Frames of Mind. His theory has challenged assumptions about intelligence and learning and deeply influenced the path of education in the United States.

Gardner identifies Spatial intelligence as the ability to "think in pictures," to perceive the visual world accurately, and recreate (or alter) it in the mind or on paper. Spatial intelligence is highly developed in artists, architects, designers and sculptors. When we create art, thinking and acting to increase and develop our spatial intelligence, we become Art Smart!

Click here for an interesting article from ARTSEDGE on why being Art Smart is an important 21st century workplace skill.

About me

Julie French

I started my career in advertising as a graphic designer working with some very interesting businesses and non-profits. Click here to see some of that work. After taking time off to start a family, I wanted to combine my two loves — children and art. Click here to see some of my art work. I'm now in my fourth year teaching art and I love it! My students' creativity amazes me every day, they are a joy to work with.

Contact Me

Parents may reach me through our school website, everyone else please email juliefrench@mac.com.

Acknowledgements

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the people and places that have allowed me to make my transition from graphic designer to art teacher. The State of Connecticut’s Alternate Route to Teacher Certification program allowed me to build on my art degree and professional experience to become highly qualified to teach art in Connecticut. My experience as a student teacher at John Lyman and Korn schools in Regional School District 13 was invaluable, the teachers and administrators there are my heroes and role models! Thank you to the staff at Island Avenue school in Madison for showing me the way during the two years I worked there as a paraprofessional, especially super-teacher Carissa Connell. A grateful thanks to the wonderful, caring people at St. Vincent De Paul School for their daily support and friendship during the three years I taught art there. This year I am teaching a diverse group of students from PreK through high school in Wallingford, and learning so much. I'm fortunate to be working with a group of truly dedicated educators!

Entries in 2nd/3rd grades (20)

Thursday
May222014

Flowers from Observation

This was an interesting and fun lesson for our second and third grade class. We began by talking about what a flower looked like, and I quickly drew the most well known version, a circle surrounded by some loops and a line extending down. Next we looked at several real flowers and began to notice that real flowers look only a bit like the flower I drew. Looking very closely we saw there are characteristics most flowers have in common; a center, petals that repeat around the center, a stem and usually leaves. That said, the flowers we had in front of us were also different in many ways. Some petals were big and some were small; some flowers had many petals and some only six or eight. Some flowers were one color and others had many variations of colors within them. After carefully observing their own individual flower, students drew as accurate a version of what they saw as possible. The flowers were drawn in black permanent marker then colored with water based markers. Learning to observe differences and similarities and how to really see what is in front of you was a great learning experience for the children, and a critical part of the drawing process. The results are lovely. Take a look! Click on any image to get to the gallery.

Thursday
Feb062014

Valentine Hearts in the Style of Jim Dine

To celebrate Valentine's Day and learn about warm and cool colors, our 2/3 class took a look at some of the work of the American artist Jim Dine.

Using black crayon, students first drew a heart shape in the middle of their paper, then added lines across the paper going through their heart. The resulting sections were then filled with warm or cool colors and watercolor paint was added if the artist wished. Click on the image below to see more and be sure to have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday
Feb062014

Puffy Snowmen!

Brrr... all this cold, snowy weather has been turning our thoughts to one of our favorite outdoor activities, building snowmen! This week our younger students created their own snowmen in the art room using puffy paint we mixed up ourselves. We used equal amounts of white school glue and dollar store shaving cream, then added paper eyes, noses, scarves and hats. A little silver glitter makes the snow sparkle in the sun. Take a look at the super results! Clicking on any image brings you to the gallery for more creations.

 

Thursday
Dec192013

You're a Funny One, Mr. Grinch

Everyone loves the Grinch, and our 2/3 class had lots of fun creating their own Grinches a few weeks before the holiday break. We don't do a lot of guided drawing in the art room because I prefer imagination to drive art. I do think though, that developing confidence in drawing ability is important, because that confidence lets our artists get down on paper what they are seeing in their minds. This little guided drawing exercise I found on Art Projects for Kids allowed students to get the basics of the Grinch and his sly eyes and impish grin. I love how each child took those basic instructions and gave their Grinch his his own unique personality. Click on any image to see more Grinches.

Friday
Dec062013

Monochromatic Monsters!

Using tempera paint in only one color plus white, our 2/3 students created these monochromatic monsters. It was a good way to learn about hues, tints and shades in art and how artists can mix colors both on a palette and right on their paintings. The added bonus: monsters are FUN to make! Clicking on any image brings you to the monster gallery.

Thursday
Nov142013

Colorful Crayon Resist Leaves

Fall in New England is such a visual delight that it always inspires terrific art projects. Our 2/3 class studied oak, birch and maple leaves, and used them to create these gorgeous pieces. They first drew their favorite leaf on black paper using crayon, carefully following their leaf outline and being sure to add the veins. I asked them to also draw some straight lines out from their leaves to the edge of the paper to break up the background. After adding their choice of colors to the inside of the leaf, they used watercolor paint to fill in the background spaces. The crayon lines "resist" the watercolor. Aren't the results beautiful? Click on any image to see more leaves.

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Thursday
Oct172013

Family Spirals

For this beginning of the year art project, our second and third grade class worked with the concept of spirals. We studied the spiral in nature as well as the environmental art of Robert Smithson and his famous "Spiral Jetty".

 

Spiral Jetty, Robert Smithson, 1970

Students then created their own spirals on 8 inch squares of white sulphite paper. Since families are so important to our little ones, we filled the spaces in our spirals with the names of our families, friends, pets and other loved ones. The spaces between letters were then colored using water color paints. Final art was the glued to colored paper and then black squares to frame the finished pieces. We noted how some of the art resembled medieval stained glass rose windows. Click on any image below to see more of their great work.

Tuesday
Jun252013

Insect Collages

The coming of summer has had us thinking about a favorite subject of many second and third graders - INSECTS! This project had students exploring when a bug is an insect and when it's not. We learned that all insects MUST have the following:

1.  three body parts - a head, thorax, and abdomen

2.  six jointed legs

3.  two antennae to sense the world around them

Rules are rules in this case. For instance, spiders may be bugs, but they are NOT insects because they have eight legs, not six. After viewing lots and lots of insects from all over the world, students used colored paper to collage their own colorful insects. They were encouraged to be creative and dsign their own insect if they choose to; but they had to follow the rules for what makes an insect. I think the results are wonderful, don't you? Click on any image below to see lots more of our favorite bugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 After the project was done students explored recreating their insect in three dimensions using modeling clay.

 

Thursday
Apr112013

Line Fish

A fun one day project for our grade 2/3 class began by drawing one long, continuous line which looped around a page of paper. The students studied some illustrations of fish and we discussed what features all fish have in common; eyes, tails, fins, gills and scales. We then added these details to our loops in various creative ways to produce these unique "line fish" drawings. 




Friday
Feb222013

Shape Murals

One thing I think Art can help develop in children is the ability to work collaboratively. That ability is so important to both a student's performance in the classroom and their future in the 21st-century workplace. I have been so pleased with our 2/3 students these last few weeks! Together they created these fabulous paintings which we call "Shape Murals". Working in groups of three or four, they first painted various shapes onto 22" x 28" paper. The only rules were the shapes had to be outlines and they were not allowed to paint over anyone else's shape. They then connected each shape to another one with black lines, creating more shapes.

The next week each student was given a unique paint color with which to fill in shapes on their own and the rest of the class paintings. They focused on choosing shapes for their color with the design principles of variety and harmony in mind. The last step was to go over the outlines again to make sure the original shapes were still visible. It was wonderful to see the students making great artistic choices while showing respect for their classmates and working so well together! Congratulations, class, here is your beautiful art!