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Visual Arts


Art at MCCPS is an integral part of the curriculum, and art units and lessons follow the State and Core Standards for Visual Arts. Every grade level has a full 90-minute block of art every week. Students learn the elements and principles of design through the use of a variety of materials and media. Art history is chronological and aligned with the global studies curriculum, beginning with Prehistory in 4th grade, to end up with Art of the 20th Century in 8th grade. Students understand how art reflects society and culture. Over their 5 years of art at MCCPS, students build up their skills and knowledge through carefully planned and scaffolded lessons. Most lessons and units are integrated with other subjects across the curriculum. Integration is a great way to boost learning and makes projects more engaging and relevant.  Please visit the Artsonia page to view your child(ren)’s artwork

Curriculum Overview

4th Grade

In fourth grade, students first learn the elements of art line, color, shape and space. Through integrated projects, students use these elements to create compositions that demonstrate their understanding of principles of design such as contrast, harmony, unity, pattern, and balance.  Students explore techniques associated with a specific medium and combine them in mixed-media 2D and 3D artworks. They also learn how to draw using a variety of methods to enhance their observation skills.

Art history is chronological and aligned with the Global Studies curriculum.

  • 1st Term projects include a cave painting (global studies) and a Pop Art animal portrait (science).
  • 2nd Term projects relate to Ancient Egypt and China. They include decorating a sarcophagus to encase their mummy (Global Studies) and a Chinese Dragon Puppet to celebrate Chinese New Year.
  • 3rd Term. Students explore the art of Ancient Greece and Rome. Projects include paper mosaics and paper Greek vase.

5th Grade

Art in fifth grade has a strong art history component aligned with the Global Studies curriculum, encompassing the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration.

  • 1st Term: Art and architecture of the Middle Ages: In projects, such as Illuminated Covers and Rose Windows, we focus on the elements of art color, shape and space, and the principles of design contrast, unity, balance, emphasis, and pattern.
  • 2nd Term: Students deepen their understanding of color mixing and create space by using linear and atmospheric perspectives in their artwork (Renaissance Self-Portrait).
  • 3rd Term: Students learn about the influence of trade and of the Protestant Reformation on the arts in the 17th century Netherlands with a unit on The Dutch Golden Age. They also learn how to create form and depth  in drawing and painting.

6th Grade

  • 1st Term: Sixth graders dive deep into color mixing and color theory and begin the year with a landscape painting. They build on their previous knowledge of the elements and principles of design with native American-inspired 2D and 3D projects, such as animal spirit clay masks, paper weaving, and paper molas.
  • 2nd Term: In the second term we focus on Optical Art.  Projects have a strong math connection. Students use a variety of methods and techniques, such as cut paper for their Japanese-inspired Notan, drawing for tessellations inspired by the works of M.C. Escher, and relief printmaking for their quilt or Islamic tile design.
  • 3rd Term: New materials, media and techniques are introduced, and projects include soft pastel drawings, art made with recycled material, and fiber art (weaving).

7th Grade

  • 1st Term: Students  review the elements and principles of design. They begin with space, color theory and watercolor techniques with a Koi Pond painting.   They explore the use of value and space with a pen-and-ink illustration for a piece of creative writing, by using linear perspective and line shading techniques. 
  • 2nd Term:  Students refine their painting skills and their use of atmospheric perspective with a landscape of the Oregon Trail, inspired by paintings of the Hudson River School. 
  •  3rd Term: focuses on Impressionism and Post Impressionism, with an impressionist landscape collage project. Students also create a woven paper Kente cloth design.

 8th Grade

Art history is chronological and follows the Global Studies curriculum, encompassing a variety of styles and movements from the early 20th century to the 1960s. Students understand how the radical changes in art reflect the societal and political changes, especially the aftermath of the two world wars.

  • 1st Term starts with a review of Post Impressionism, before moving on to Abstract Art and Cubism, with oil pastel and mixed media works inspired by artists such as Kandinsky, O’Keeffe and Picasso.
  • 2nd Term covers Surrealism, and students deepen their previous knowledge of linear perspective with a Surreal Room project. Students also create a scaled model for their Memorial Project, integrated with math and global studies.
  • 3rd Term focuses on Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and portraiture. Our final project is a series of stenciled portraits in the style of Andy Warhol.