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917 "C" Street
San Rafael, California 94901
(415) 457-4878

Animal Habitats: Making Green

WalkerHeader(By Paris Dowd, intern. This was her first attempt at designing an art lesson for the classrooms. It was a huge success!)

“This week we introduced the TK and kindergarteners at Laurel Dell to oil pastels. The kids worked together in groups, sharing the paper and the materials (including the pastels, baby oil and sponges for blending and sticks for scratching a drawing on the surface of the color). The goal was to color the large pieces of paper covering the tables while learning to blend and experiment using the new medium. Students were given shades of green, yellow, blue and white pastels to work with and asked to create as many new colors as possible.

After working in this way with the pastels, I observed a few of the kids switching to using colored pencils to draw and scribble with overlapping lines in their personal art journals.  It seemed that the kids were excited to continue exploring blending techniques across a range of mediums.”

(Paris is an intern working with the students at Laurel Dell to create process books using the Making Learning Visible (MLV) technique out of Harvard School of Education’s Project Zero. Each week Paris shows students pictures of themselves at work, and asks them to reflect on their art: what they learned, how they helped others, what was challenging, and more. MLV makes reflecting, writing, speaking, and collaborating so easy for even the youngest learners.)


Handmade Gifts and Cards

Handmade Cards and Gifts

Handmade Cards and Gifts

Having trouble finding that perfect unique card or gift?

Our store at 917 C Street has handmade jewelry, glassware, gift items and cards created by youth and adults. Plus we are featuring art by North Bay teaching artists in our YIA Gallery, all available for sale.

Come shop Monday-Friday 10 am-4 pm this week and Monday-Wednesday next week. All purchases support BOTH the artist who created the work AND Youth in Arts programs reaching over 20,000 students each year. Give a gift that your recipient can love and feel great about!

If you’d like to keep it easy and simple, make a gift donation in your friend or family member’s name and we’ll send them a card featuring an image of one of our students at work (“Heart Drawing”) or our “Dream” card featuring a banner created by hundreds of local youth. Click here and be sure to complete all gift recipient information.


Send a “Dream” or “Heart” Gift Card!

Donate by noon on Friday, December 17 to allow a week for delivery before Christmas.

Scroll down for more gift ideas from our store.

Thank you for supporting Youth in Arts. Happy holidays!

Observational Drawing with Transitional K and Kindergarteners

WalkerHeaderLaurel Dell Elementary School is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative Hearts Fund grant. This is providing the youngest members of the Laurel Dell Community with visual arts instruction for most of the school year.

With observational drawing we learn to look closely and notice details. When we observe our own creations or things we love, we see more, and look even more closely. Laurel Dell’s youngest students often practice Observational Drawing: either their own artwork, or toy animals and dinosaurs that inspire more stories and more engaging play. Students also practice making many different kinds of lines, and adding lots of details.


Drawing our PLAYGROUNDS:

And then we PAINTED our drawings:


After playgrounds, we practiced observational drawing (and painting) with ANIMALS and DINOSAURS:


Architecture 101–Kindergarteners Building Playgrounds

We created the paths for our playgrounds, we created our clients, now it’s time to build! Transitional K and kindergarteners are learning to take paper from 2 dimensions to three as they imagine and create beautiful playgrounds using strips of paper, scissors and glue.

We finished the day by combining playgrounds so that students and their tiny friends could play together and share their creations. Students also continued to share their thoughts with Paris, who added them to our process books–Making Learning Visible.




Clay Friends for Playgrounds

We decided that the TK and kindergarteners at Laurel Dell would make better playground designers if they knew who their clients were. So, they made clay people to play on their future playgrounds. This gave students a more concrete way to envision their playgrounds. Who would their little friends play with? How would they play? Students changed their perspective as they made up stories about their new little friends.

We used Sculpy Souffle because of its soft, malleable feel, and its strength after it is baked. Students were able to spend lots of time exploring the material. Looking, squishing, rolling, pinching, cutting, and more. We then talked about bodies: what do we have two of? (eyes, legs, arms, etc.) What can we add for details? (fingers, toes, clothing, hair).

We finished this exercise with Observational Drawing in our sketchbooks. Students looked closely as they carefully drew their own creations. They then imagined a new world, as they added playgrounds, friends, and nature to their drawings.