Augusta Savage


“I have created nothing really beautiful, really lasting, but if I can inspire one of these youngsters to develop the talent I know they possess, then my monument will be in their work.”—T. R. Poston, “Augusta Savage,” Metropolitan Magazine, Jan. 1935, n.p.

Augusta Savage is an African American woman who worked as a sculpture artist during the Harlem Renaissance. She began by digging in the clay and mud on the farm she grew up on in Green Cove Springs, Florida. She would sit in the mud and create animals from the clay. She would leave them dry all over. Her father, who thought they were a waste of time, would smash them. August didn’t let that stop her. She moved to New York and made a name for herself. Students learned about Augusta Savage and her story through the book In Her Hands.

SavageSide note: Please don’t buy books from places like Amazon. Amazon contributes money to the education ‘reform’ movement nationwide. Example: Chicago. Please support your LOCAL bookstore! Indie bookstores are local. In Madison, try Room of One’s Own or Rainbow Bookstore. Here is a website to help you find your local bookstore:

Huegel second and third graders created their own animals inspired by Augusta Savage’s work.

Jim Dine Inspired Hearts

Part of being a student teacher is to slowly take over all of the responsibilities of the cooperating classroom teacher including planning lessons, teaching all of the classes in their schedule, and in this case, the blog!

The first lesson that I taught at Huegel Elementary was inspired by the artwork of American Pop Artist, Jim Dine.

One of the challenges that many art teachers face is not having their own room in which to teach. Instead, they may have their own storage space and will travel from classroom to classroom teaching “art from a cart” or, in the case at Huegel, they may share a room with other academic disciplines and teachers. The main challenge that exists in the shared room at Huegel is that there is no sink in the room. I am extremely fortunate that I am able to experience this type of teaching situation while still student teaching as it allows me the help and guidance of a cooperating teacher, while planning and teaching the lessons in a non-traditional art room. Along with many art teachers who teach off a cart and/or in a shared art room, I was determined to not let that hinder the student’s art experience!

With a few adaptations, such as buckets of water for cleaning and clothesline for drying prints, the students were able to create amazing artworks that incorporated printmaking and mixed media.

As a class, we started off having a discussion about the artwork of Pop Artist Jim Dine, specifically his artwork depicting hearts. We discussed the symbolism, color, pattern, expression, and abstraction in his artwork.

After being inspired by Jim Dine’s “Heartwork”, the students began making their own heart shaped block using styrofoam plates and pencils. Instead of ink, we used black and white tempera paint to make a variety of different heart prints on a variety of colored construction paper. The following week the students cut out their heart prints and included them into their own Jim Dine inspired artwork which included oil pastel and watercolor resist painting.


The results were absolutely stunning!

Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Our wonderful jazz and Romare Bearden experience required me to be at Randall on a day I am normally at Huegel so it was a sub day for Huegel.

Arcimboldo was an Italian painter and he is best known for his portraits made up of fruit and other miscellaneous images. Huegel students have done some work with identity this year so I wanted to build on the portraits they had done to do a silly one.the-librarian(1) vertumnusGiuseppe_Arcimboldo_-_The_Waiter_-_WGA0835 Students cut images from magazines to create a self portrait.

Perspective with Snowmen

IMG_5283Each of my three classes at Huegel are very different from each other and have very different needs. But, as someone who is only there three hours a week, it is hard to differentiate my lessons to meet all of those needs. This is why I liked this lesson so much, all the same materials but meeting different needs and learning around one subject in many different ways.

Let’s start with what each of these three lessons has in common: snowmen, perspective, oil pastels, sharpie and watercolor with salt.

The first group of snowmen is from a second grade class who is able to listen and learn without much behavior difficulty. This class learned about perspective by learning about the horizon line, foreground and background.


IMG_5286 The second group has some difficulty with paying attention for longer periods of time so short lesson on perspective is what was needed. This group drew snowmen from the perspective of laying on the ground.

IMG_5281 IMG_5288 IMG_5289 IMG_5287 The third group is a third grade group and learned about perspective as well as overlapping and drawing off the page.

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Frank Lloyd Wright


Both Huegel second and third graders as well as Randall fourth graders created these beautiful stained glass windows inspired by nature just like Frank Lloyd Wright. We started with observational drawings of items from nature and then abstracted them into geometric shapes to create our symmetrical windows using line symmetry.

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Mandalas: Rotational Symmetry

IMG_5129I saw this lesson many places around the web but I first saw it at the art ed blog Splish Splash Splatter. Huegel third graders were learning about line symmetry in math class. Rotational symmetry comes up next and the second graders were just getting a head of the curve. I always hope that when I teach a concept earlier than their classroom teachers teach it, that when they see it in the classroom it makes more sense to them. We are all a team to support our students’ success! (Sometimes the art teachers are a forgotten part of that team).

Anyway, this was a lesson where every kid felt successful AND a lesson where their math concepts were being reinforced. I call that a win-win!

Some students choose to create one mandala and glue that on their background paper. Some students finished early and decided to create a second, larger mandala to attach to the back of their first smaller mandala with a brad. Their mandalas are now moveable art, they spin!


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Summer School Mandalas

These Mandalas were done by the younger class of kindergarten through fourth graders. This class has been passionate and focused on their art. They take great pride in their work! The other class of older kids, is very different. It’s like pulling teeth to get some of them to work! Why come to a summer school art class if you don’t want to be there? I don’t get it. But I very much enjoy the passion from the younger kids. At what point does most of the population lose that passion and excitement for creating? It’s a very sad moment.

Summer School Clay

From 8-10am, my art class has students going into 4th, 5th and 6th grades. from 10am-12pm, I have students going into 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades. This mix of ages has been interesting. Along with that, sometimes I have both classes do the same project and other times different projects.

For clay, I had the older class pick their project and gave them skills to work off of. For the younger class, I had them all make rattles.

Here is a dragon from a boy going into 4th grade.

And a birdhouse from a girl going into 4th grade.

Sadly, the rest of the clay projects were not finished.

I don’t think our district has ever canceled school because of heat before! But it has truly been unbearable in the classroom and the students have been experiencing many heat related headaches and stomachaches. It is between 95 and 100 degrees in our classrooms! No, we don’t have air conditioning. So I am happy that our school board decided to cancel school for the rest of the week. But, that also means that we missed out on the last two days of class. I get a new group for the second three weeks of summer school starting Monday. So, now I have a group of unpainted clay projects from the older group. I wish I would have pushed them to finish them last week!

Anyway, the younger group only has 3 students who didn’t paint theirs. The rest are finished.

And they all work! (meaning they all make noise)