Washington State Visual Art Standards

Monday, February 15, 2016

Celebrations in Visual Culture: Symbols of the Heart & Lunar New Year

February brings us lots of opportunity to explore the art of celebrations and our visual culture. The celebration of Valentine's Day isn't something I directly design lesson around, however, the idea of "Love" and the heart shape is something that I find can guide our art making. Any student, kindergarten through fifth grade can relate to the notion of "love".


We began our discussions around what we thought "love" is, how do we feel it? What are the things in life we love and how do we show it? I also asked them why the heart shape is representative of love. I had a third grade student even remark that he felt that love should be represented by the brain since that is where the idea of love begins. How interesting!

In kindergarten, we explored how to draw and cut symmetrical hearts with paper, draw/paint hearts, form hearts with clay, and fold paper into sculptural hearts.




In first grade, we learned about color theory with warm and cool colors to create mixed media collages.

In 2nd grade, we created textured heart compositions inspired by the artist Jim Dine. Thank you Painted Paper for the inspiration.


In 3rd grade we composed segmented hearts that expressed all the individual things we loved and are currently constructing a "heart shaped lock" inspired by local artist Diane Hansen. A detailed post about this project is coming soon!


In 4th we studied James Rizzi's "Happy Houses", in creating 3-D buildings using motifs such as hearts. I plan to create a separate post to showcase this art project in detail.

Now....onto Lunar New Year!


The Chinese New Year began on Monday February 8th this year. It is the "Year of the Monkey".

I truly enjoyed introducing North Star students to the visual culture of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Across all grade levels, I presented basic information about the celebration and its significance to our region in the Pacific Northwest. I showed them lots of examples of visual artifacts related to the event such as calligraphy, lanterns, fans, scrolls, zodiac, and the popular dragon symbol.

Kindergarten produced a guided drawing of a dragon and practiced their brush techniques with watercolor.


1st graders produced Chinese paper lanterns inspired by the festival.

2nd grade created paper hand puppets inspired by the Dragon parade.

3rd & 4th grade studied Chinese characters with ink calligraphy in creating their scrolls.

5th graders are working on another paper mache project related to the the Lunar New Year which will also be featured in it's own detailed post. Stay tuned!


Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below!