FAQs KT Murphy Art Program

What is the schedule for art classes?

  • Art classes are 40 minutes
  • Ms. Ramsey teaches art Monday through Friday 
  • Mrs. Delmonico teaches art on Tuesdays 
  • Mr. Greco teaches art on Mondays 

What will my child learn in art?

  • About famous artists
  • Art processes like: painting, drawing, printmaking, clay sculpture and collage
  • To make connections between art and other subjects
  • To create original artwork based on a variety of themes
  • To use visual art vocabulary to discuss works of art
  • To use creativity to solve open ended problems
  • To develop an appreciation for different cultures and styles of art

How is my child graded in art?

  • In grades K-2 students receive an N, Y or an MP on their report card
  • In Grades 3-5 students receive a letter grade on their report card A, B, C…
  • In grades 3-5 students receive an effort grade of 1,2,3, or 4.
  • 1 is the lowest degree of effort and a 4 is the highest degree of effort
  • Student artwork is assessed on meeting objectives for each lesson
  • Effort is assessed on class participation

When will my child bring their artwork home?

  • All artwork will be taken home at the end of the school year
  • Some artwork will be sent home before the end of the school year

When will my child’s artwork be displayed?

  • Students will have at least one piece of artwork on display in our school-wide art show in May

How can I contact the art teachers?

How is Twitter being used in art classes?

  • Look for tweets with #ktmartists to see what we have been working on in art!

Testing the Waters in School

The famous Bruce Lee spoke eloquently on life and learning.  Here is one of his most famous quotes on being like water:

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There are several layers to uncover in the meaning of this seemingly simple metaphor.

“Empty your mind.”

We can only clear our minds if we let go of our thoughts, feelings and habits. This is an extremely difficult notion to take on especially at the beginning of a new school year.

“Be formless. Shapeless. Like water.”

In order to be formless we must let go of our preconceived ideas, our emotions and our false perceptions of what is happening. The only way to adapt to anything is to be open to anything and be completely present. Our students need this from us.

“You put water into a cup.  It becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle. It becomes the bottle. You put water into a teapot. It becomes the teapot.”

Our expectations will give a definite form to everything that happens in our classrooms. They will shape how we respond to everything. Most importantly our students. Those who come in excited to be in school to those who are tired, hungry and not ready for our expectations.  We have to set high expectations for all students but remember that they will need to take on many different forms.

“Water can flow or it can crash.” 

Think about the impact we have as teachers on our students. We can help students build a learning environment in school that flows over any obstacles. We can help them break down barriers to their learning with a force as powerful as a wave crashing over a rocky coastline. We can adapt to the many differing needs of our students.

The wise Bruce Lee has a lot to offer as we get ready to begin a new school year. I wonder how being honest with ourselves influences our ability to do what he is proposing. We all know that entering the new school year begins with a period of testing the water.

We feel our way through the first couple of days and our students are doing the same. We are not always going to be able to make a perfect decision to become what our students need us to be every moment of every day.

“Be water, my friend.”   

There are days we might dive in, others when we will float and some when we may race to the finish. We will make mistakes.  We might get stuck in our old habits, freeze and turn to ice.

Even during those moments we have to realize our ability to change. Water takes on many forms but unlike water we choose which one to be and when.  Most importantly we need to teach our students that they have this choice too.

Heres to a happy and healthy new school year!


Art Appreciation = Empathy

There’s no way to know exactly how you will impact your students’ lives or how far your influence will reach. Planning and good intentions can fall short of reaching and engaging students if one important element is missing, and that’s a human connection. There’s nothing more certain to make a personal connection with students than tapping into their desire to feel, understand and be accepted. A teacher who is skilled at showing empathy can help to reach the most disengaged and unmotivated students. Everyone wants to feel they belong, be understood and be part of a supportive community.

Why use art appreciation as a visual media to teach empathy?  What can students gain by discussing and creating works of art that will help them develop their empathy for others? How does art help students understand each other, build a sense of belonging and acceptance of differences?  These questions help me reflect on teaching because learning how my students feel about school through their perspective is the most important factor in determining what has worked or not.

I developed the concept of a  K-5 unit on creating art based on the cultures and artistic styles from seven countries around the world to achieve the learning goal that students will gain a global perspective through art.  The unit culminates in a school art exhibit that features the artwork students created. The assessment of the unit is not standardized and is based on inquiry, not answers.  Students will be asked to develop questions about the artwork and corresponding media related to each display in the QR codes. Their questions will be recorded using a Google form. No answers necessary.

Students’ questions will reveal their thinking and how they wish to learn more about their own and other cultures.  Through the process of recording their questions and seeing questions other students post, they will be thinking about and reflecting on what connects us all and what makes us unique. They will have built a foundation in gaining a global perspective through art by representing the world through another point of view that may be different from their own. I hope seeing their artwork makes them feel that their school is made for and by everyone. This sense of belonging and appreciation for others has to be developed in school if we expect to see it on a global scale.





Teaching Creativity and Failure

Do we really need to teach children how to be creative?  Couldn’t teachers just give their students several options to represent their learning and then say “Go ahead, today you can be CREATIVE!”

If you have tried this approach you are a brave soul.  Students and teachers alike who have ever tried to just “be creative” may have met an unexpected friend in the process.  Failure.  Failure is a friend that tells you like it is.  Failure comes right out and lets you know exactly what you don’t know! Who needs a friend like that?  Everyone.

We have to teach kids that creativity and failure are best friends.  Sometimes they don’t get along and other times they compliment each other to achieve the amazing.

Without failure, there is no creativity and without creativity, there is no failure.

Here are two short stories I made using iMovie and my iPad to use as discussion starters with students on these two best friends.

Super “C” a short story about creativity. 


I in the Sky a short story about failure.


Super “C” A Story About Creativity

What started out as a quick brainstorming session playing with some apps I long ago downloaded to my iPad, turned into a day long quest of writing and illustrating a story. Well actually, right now it’s an iMovie.

  1. I made each page using the drawing pad app
  2. Emailed each image to myself
  3. Downloaded the images onto my computer
  4. Uploaded them into iMovie
  5. Selected a “film strip” theme on iMovie
  6. And then shared the movie and saved it on my desktop

Here it is…Hopefully it is just the first of many more!

Maybe even my first book!

Curating Student Art Shows

This year, like every other year, the to-do list in the spring seems insurmountable.  I’m sure almost every teacher shares a similar feeling that the weight of end of the year tasks can be quite heavy.  For art teachers working with students in elementary schools, there are 400+ students coming to us every week of all ages with unique needs and talents. Add in the traveling some art teachers do from classroom to classroom and you get the picture. We need to take a minute to reflect and applaud ourselves on how skillful and organized we have to be to keep track of our students’ work and progress.  I appreciate you, because I know first hand how it feels to carry this on year in and year out. Keep on fighting the good fight!

Many schools have taken on initiatives to try to build students’ global perspectives and digital citizenship using technology and art. What better way to learn than to use the technology that connects us all together and start looking at the similarities and differences among the art people create around the world? At our school our art team is working on an initiative to curate and display a whole school student art show with the theme “A World of Art”.

Students began by  asking questions about and creating artwork based on the cultures and artistic styles from India, Australia, Kenya, The United States, Mexico, China and Japan.  That’s it you say?  Only seven different countries?  How does this represent the theme “A World of Art”? I’m actually hoping for this response for this reason: To inspire students to continue searching and learning about cultures different from their own, take charge of their learning, truly develop a global perspective and share their own culture with others. 

Interested in how to plan an initiative like this in your own school? Read on.

I teach around 450 students in grades K-5.  Sometimes I teach all six grade levels in one day. In order to design the display and facilitate the planning I assigned a different country to each grade level as follows:

  1. Kindergarten: India
  2. First Grade: China and Japan
  3. Second Grade: Australia
  4. Third Grade: Kenya
  5. Fourth Grade: The United States
  6. Fifth Grade: Mexico

Each grade level is creating works of art that vary from class to class and are inspired by the culture and artistic styles from the country they are representing.

You can see what students are making and some of the resources used in the lessons by accessing my google doc “A World of Art” Resources.

I created this google doc to share what students are working on and the resources I used to introduce the art styles they are representing.  I’m also a big fan of making lists and keeping track of what needs to be done for planning whole school events like this.

Within this document each class is organized and listed with the artwork they will display at the end of the unit along with the interactive art centers that students and their families can participate in when they come to our “World of Art” interactive learning night.

There will be 500+ works of art created by our students and hopefully just as many questions generated about the countries and cultures the artwork represents.

Remember it’s not always how you start that matters most, but how you finish.