An Art Exchange, what’s that?

Have you ever had a pen pal, you know how excited you get when you send out the letter and wait for the return with the answers of all your questions… information about a place far from where you live??   I do, my first pen pal was in elementary school I do not really remember the details but I remember anticipating when that letter would arrive just for me.

Well through the wonders of Twitter, I connected with Erin Eddy, an art teacher at Chatsworth School in New Jersey, who was looking for someone to exchange mandalas.  I responded to her tweet and then she emailed me her plans for the mandalas.

In the meantime, I started working on Mandala designs as a fun unit on radial symmetry in Grade 1/2  and the cultural use of Mandalas in Ms Bonnie’s Grade 4/5 art classes.

After receiving the plans from Erin Eddy, I saw what concepts and designs her students would be using to create their mandalas.  Ours would be a bit different than her students, but they would create a wonderful quilt of color, line and shape when displayed together.




Here is a closer look at some of the sections:


Here are a few Chatsworth School Mandalas:



Here are a few of our Voyager Mandalas:

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Exciting news at Voyager… we have a winner

During the past few months, our learners have been able to learn about growing kalo (a very important local Hawai’ian plant), tending gardens, taking care of the ‘āina (the land/Earth).  Classes have visited Ka Papa Lo’i ‘O Kānewai at University of Hawaii to learn about the importance of the kalo to the local culture.  They have squished leaves into mud, they have walked barefoot in the Lo’i patch, they have pounded poi; so it was fitting that we would work on poster designs for the first annual Kalo Festival Art Contest hosted by Ka Papa Lo’i ‘O Kānewai.

From Kindergarten through grade 5 learners took the time to think about why Mālama Hāloa (Taking Care of the Kalo) is so important to them, to the community and to Hawai’i.

Here are a few entries we delivered

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And just when I was wondering what happened to the contest, an email appeared!

“Aloha mai e Kelli,

I hope you had a nice spring break!  Mahalo for getting all your haumāna to participate in our 1st Annual Mālama Hāloa Keiki Art Contest.  It was a huge success with almost 200 participating students from several schools.  The panel of local artist chose Kaitlyn Tokunaga’s illustration as the art piece that exemplified Mālama Hāloa. They were impressed by her use of color and detailed parts of the kalo plant, as well as the different ways she showed how to care for Hāloa.  A favorite of the panel was #4 how she showed “kalo is also special becuase you can make it again and again and again a lot of time.”  Kaitlyn’s illustration was presented during the festival.  Congratulations Kaitlyn!

Please see the attached flyer and lets organize a good day for us to come and do the ku’i kalo demonstration for Kaitlyn’s class.

Mahalo piha,

Summer & Ka Papa Loʻi ʻO Kānewai Staff”

And here is the winner, congrats to our own Kaitlyn!


Cultural Celebration

During academy specials times, students at Voyager Public Charter School took a trip around the world. Equipped with passports and a set itinerary  classes traveled to different countries, cultures, activities and food stops. They could try an art activity, play games, speak different languages, eat snack, and learn about different parts of the world; all thanks to the help of our wonderful parents!

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Art Contests… Interested?

Sometimes art contests are brought to the attention of the Art Teacher or Art Department of a school… well here are two very different art contests that are open to students:

23rd International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment

Theme: Food Waste

“Save the Planet- Save Food, Wasting Food is Wasting the Planet”


2014 International Aviation ART CONTEST

Theme: “Flying Saves Lives”

If you are interested, let me know and I will help get you more information!


Ms Kelli

Grade 3 Observational Drawing

In the second unit, Grade 3 explored color and scale while creating Observational Drawings.  The learners looked at the artwork of Georgia O’Keefe and decided on the key characteristics in her paintings.  They decided the size was huge- zooming in on the small flowers to draw a part of them, the colors were realistic, and the subject had to fill the entire page.  Experimenting with chalk pastels, Grade 3 created these paintings:



As always supplies are limited and often expensive for art units… Here are some things that would be great additions to the art budget.


  • color sharpies
  • wooden dowels
  • foam boards
  • glue sticks
  • hot glue guns and refill sticks
  • carpet tube rolls
  • toilet paper or paper towel tubes
  • magazines
  • A really big wish list item: Latex Exterior paint- Black, White, Red, Yellow, and Blue.