Lower School (K-5)
K-5 Subject Area Specialists


Sandy Drobny

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  • Art Overview

    In the Lower School, I focus on teaching the foundational principles of art by presenting students with a wide variety of art experiences. Students have the opportunity to work with many different artistic mediums, and the hands-on activities are designed to stretch students’ abilities and to increase their awareness and understanding of art. Students develop critical thinking skills and a sense of craftsmanship through technique, but most importantly, they discover that making art is fun.
    Students set sail on a voyage of self-discovery in my art classes. They learn how to communicate and to express their emotions through art. My classroom offers a positive atmosphere where students are challenged, uniqueness is encouraged, and imagination can soar. The goals I have for my students are the same ones I have for myself as an artist. I want them to experiment with materials, to express themselves creatively, to learn from their mistakes, and to reflect on and appreciate the beauty of their own artwork. I strive to help each student find their own artistic voice and to assist them in developing a lifelong love and appreciation of art.

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  • Artistic Media and Techniques for All Grades

    Academy students in grades K-5 learn to appreciate the visual, historical and cultural aspects of art. In-depth study of museum-worthy artists and their respective techniques, followed by lively classroom discussions, culminates in hands-on art activities based on the featured artist’s work. For each grade level, the lives and artistic styles of 5 to 6 different artists are examined. Chosen artists will vary from year to year, and selection criteria is based, in part, on the exhibition schedule of local art museums. Opportunities for field trips are plentiful, as there are many wonderful art museums in our area.
    The elements of art are highlighted as lessons on line, color, value, form, shape, space and texture are woven throughout the curriculum. Emphasis is placed on projects related to art history and multi-cultural diversity, as well as areas where science and social studies intersect with art. Students experiment with different art styles, both realistic and abstract, encountering a variety of art periods and “isms” along the way. (Pointillism, Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism) Critique and self-reflection play an important role in artistic growth. Students learn to utilize feedback from others, and they navigate working collaboratively with classmates on group projects.
    Lessons on contour drawing, quality of line, proportion and composition build the artistic foundation for students in all grades. Each class studies a grade-appropriate aspect of color theory, Students in grades K-2 explore color relationships, primary colors, warm and cool colors, and effective mixing of secondary colors. More in-depth study of the color wheel, complementary colors, tints, shades, and tones occurs in grades 3-5. Common to all grade levels in Lower School are lessons on landscape, still life, and portraiture. All students work with acrylic paints to create vibrant self-portraits on canvas. Each grade does some form of printmaking, weaving, sewing, assemblage, and occasionally, papiér maché.
  • Curriculum by Grade

    Kindergarten students focus on developing basic artistic skills, hand-eye coordination, and proper use of scissors. Although the majority of art projects, at their level, will revolve around cut-paper, drawing, and painting, Kindergarten art is all about experimentation. Building 3-dimensional art projects, weaving with paper, and working with textiles are also essential parts of the art curriculum. Kindergarten students learn about Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, Georges Seurat, Eric Carle, Georgia O’Keeffe, Roy De Forest, and Jackson Pollock.
    First and second graders have fun exploring new concepts in art as they strengthen their artistic abilities and discover new creative challenges. They draw, paint, construct, collage, print, cut, sew, and weave. They learn about positive and negative space. Featured artists include: Yayoi Kusama, Wassily Kandinsky, Jasper Johns, Vincent van Gogh, William H. Johnson, Alma Thomas, Henri Rousseau, Edgar Degas, Wayne Thiebaud, Keith Haring, Takashi Murakami.
    Building on lessons learned in lower grades, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders gain confidence in drawing more realistically, using shading techniques such as blending, smudging, stippling, and cross-hatching. They train their eyes to see how light hits an object, and they learn about one-point perspective. Our annual “Recycled Materials Art Project” encourages sustainability and reuse in a fun way. Working over several class periods, students use hot glue and duct tape to create sculptural art pieces made with repurposed recycled materials. 

    Examples of featured artists include Frida Kahlo, Marc Chagall, Albrecht Dürer, Henri Matisse, Jacob Lawrence, Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Faith Ringgold, Rosie Lee Tompkins.

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