5th Grade

5th Grade Term 2: Animation and Character Design

Term Description: Term Two in 5th Grade Art focused on building foundational skills with animation and character design. Students learned the basic principles of stop-motion animation as they created several videos. Working with partners, they took many pictures, or “stills”, focusing on small movements of objects, then learned how to use the pictures to create an animation in iMovie. They also learned basic movie making skills, including adding sound-effects, music, text, and importing/exporting. Next, students created original superhero characters and created a unique comic strip. They learned basics of character design and illustration, including layout, storyboarding, line-stylization, facial expressions, and perspectival space.

5th Grade Stop Motion Videos

Fifth Graders are in the middle of a unit on Stop Motion Animation. We have been learning the basic techniques of stop-motion, including taking frame by frame photos using small movements, then importing and editing these clips into videos using iMovie. Students have explored stop-motion using a variety of approaches and materials, from drawing to bringing everyday objects to life.  Enjoy their first round of videos!


(Grace’s video coming soon!)

5th Grade Native Bird Watercolor Paintings

5th Graders are making realistic paintings of a native northwest birds. Through this project, they are practicing shape recognition and building more complex, realistic forms from basic shapes. Additionally, they are working on building an image, with drawing and watercolor, slowly from light to dark to give themselves more flexibility to make adjustments and refine their images. We looked at the work of John James Audubon as an inspiration for this project with a specific focus on how he fills the frame and composes his paintings.

Skill Goals:


  • Drawing basic shapes from observation & practicing proportion
  • Using basic shapes to create a light foundational underdrawing
  • Drawing what you see
  • Filling the frame (composition)
  • Adding specific details and character through contour line
  • Layering watercolor, light to dark
  • Color mixing
  • Control of the medium and precision


Adaptation Bird Masks: Welcome 5th Graders!

The 5th grade artists jumped right in with materials on their first day of school as they worked with partners to create expressive, symbolic bird masks based on the theme of adaptations. They were asked what adaptations they needed to thrive in their new community, both academically and socially, and they created symbolic representations for their masks, such as open beaks to express speaking up more and ears to be better listeners. This was a great bonding experience as they were asked to slather their faces with vaseline and layer plaster on each other’s faces on the first day! After creating a successful armature, they applied features with paper mache, then added color and decoration. Lastly, with their building partner, they presented their masks to their families at the end of the week in the first of many stand and deliver opportunities as SGS. We look forward to all they will accomplish–great job 5th Graders!!!


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Block Printing in Progress

Fifth grade artists are creating block prints!  With enthusiasm, creativity, joy, and care, our students are designing and transferring images, carving a block, and creating an edition of prints.  Project goals include creating a bold design that incorporates a variety of line widths and directions, learning how to properly roll and apply ink, understanding the elements of a successful print, and practicing a professional artist signature for a limited edition of fine art prints.  Ask your fifth grader to describe their design, and see the photos below for a peek into the artistic process.


Artists brainstormed design ideas, then sketched their final ideas on paper.


Once the sketch is complete, artists use graphite paper to transfer the image to the block.


With great care and focus, artists trace over their design with a sharp pencil to transfer the image.


Once the image is transferred onto the block, artists go over the lines with Sharpie for clarity.


This is also a great time to add details or make creative changes to the design, before the carving begins.


Once artists are satisfied with the image, they can begin carving!


Artists are encouraged to consider the direction of each line that they carve.


Artists exclaimed, “This is so satisfying!” and “I love this!” as they began to carve.


Artists also consider both the positive and negative space of their designs, asking themselves, “which parts do I want to be the color of the paper, and which parts do I want to be the color of the ink?”


Each line will become part of the final print, but the outcome is still a mystery during the carving process.


The room was quiet as each artist worked with focus and intention.


Each print will tell a story, capture a moment, or express a passion of its artist.


Next week, artists will begin the inking and printing process!

Creating Characters: Puppets

In partnership with Ms. Lulu in Performance Studies, 5th grade artists have been exploring the art of the puppet.  After viewing examples and discussing the ways puppets have contributed to cultural and social movements, students began to make their own handcrafted paper mâché hand puppets that represent their unique “Super(s)*hero” characters.

The process began by creating base forms of newspaper held together with masking tape, with paper tubes for the puppets’ necks.  At this point, it was difficult to envision how these could transform into beautiful, expressive characters!  Our artists pushed through, using tagboard and newspaper to build up their forms into dynamic sculptural creations with noses, snouts, foreheads, horns, ears, cheeks, mouths, and more!  The next step was applying multiple layers of paper mâché, working to create a smooth, even and durable surface.  Artists then painted their puppets, showing expression, personality, and mood through the eyes, eyebrows, and mouths of their characters.   Moving forward, artists will sew “outfits” for the puppets using salvaged fabric scraps and then attach the two pieces to create a finished puppet.  Come see the completed puppets in our mini culmination on Friday, February 17th!

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