The Art Room!

Last week Pangyo elementary art teacher Marsh Bycraft opened her room to the Phoenix Flyer. I loved popping in to see what each grade level is learning and creating! Ms. Bycraft does a phenomenal job building her students’ art skills and connecting work to their other subjects. Art class begins with whole class time, an introduction to the day’s work, often including a demonstration by Ms. Bycraft. Enjoy a week in the art room!

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This group is experimenting with different materials. At one station students drew with chalk, dipping the chalk in water for a more vibrant color. When Ms. Bycraft held up a small paint stick at another station, a student got excited that it looked like lipstick. The class laughed when Ms. Bycraft pretended to put paint on her face. “We don’t do that!” Ms. Bycraft said. The last station was a chance to make 3D art with shaving cream and watercolor.

Junior Kindergarten

The 100th day of school! To celebrate, the class read Cupcake by Cherise Mericle Harper before decorating their own giant cupcake frostings. Each cupcake frosting needed one hundred sprinkles. Ms. Bycraft and the students talked about the best way to count to one hundred – by tens. Students counted beads, paper sprinkles and gems by tens to decorate three cupcake frostings.


Embroidery! Threading a big needle with yarn, students stitched a picture on a piece of colored burlap, following a marker drawing they did the class before. Most students sewed their name and a favorite animal on the fabric. Ms. Bycraft showed how to add beads or buttons to the design. Eventually these embroidered fabrics will be made into pillows.

Grade 1

First graders are working with clay, perfecting the pinch pot. Two pinch pots put together make a maraca! Before combining the two pinch pots, everyone rolled clay balls wrapped in paper towel. “Why do you think we do that?” Ms. Bycraft asked, holding up a little marble of clay wrapped in towel. One student figured it out immediately. You can’t shake a maraca if the shaking stuff is stuck to the inside. Exactly. First graders will use their maracas at their spring music concert.

Grade 2

Ms. Bycraft is trying something new with this group. Each student is making enough artist trading cards to share with their classmates – plus a few extra to send around the world! Most students have a theme to their cards. One girl is drawing or painting different foods. One boy chose to make each card about pirates. A few students are treating their cards as stories, each little panel telling another part. This is such a fun way to create lots and lots of shareable art.

Grade 3

How fast can you draw a figure? Gesture drawing is about quick, clean lines to show a person’s pose. Students modeled for one another, capturing action poses (dabbing! dancing! at bat! running!) in just thirty seconds. Students used willow charcoal which is soft enough for quick work and strong lines. With the Olympics next month, Ms. Bycraft is moving her students toward drawing athletes.

Grade 4

Last lesson, MIT students guest taught the fourth graders. They learned about the design of our ears and how sound waves work. Now they are working with clay to create smart phone amplifiers using different shapes (rectangle, cylinder, sphere) and techniques (rolling, pinch pot, scratch & attach). To jumpstart her students’ creativity, Ms. Bycraft showed a few examples of clay sound amplifiers.

Grade 5

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Fifth graders are studying surrealist art. Discussing surrealist art, students used terms like metamorphosis or transformation, scale, juxtaposition, positive and negative space, foreground and background – the very terms they must keep in mind as they create their own 2D surrealist art. “The more you look, the more you find!” Ms. Bycraft said. Indeed, students had so much to say about this wild genre. Looking at a Magritte, one student joked about the photobombing dove.

Thank you to the many Pangyo elementary students who talked about their art experience and explained process and materials to me. Looking forward to finished work soon! Text and photos from Sarah Marslender.

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