Amber O'Neill

About the Art Program...

At Cold Spring School, the Art program is under the leadership of Amber O'Neill, the Art teacher. Our teachers work together to create units of study that incorporate fine art into the development of motor skills, cognitive development, math concepts, engineering, language arts, and of course creativity! Our students understand how art fits into every aspect of learning and how it plays a part in world cultures, history, and their future careers. Most importantly, art builds confidence through self-directed problem solving and allows students to express their unique ideas in a fun and encouraging setting. This supportive and enriching environment at CSS allows the students to explore a wide range of media and techniques such as ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber arts, sculpture, and collage. Our little artists create functional ceramic pottery, pull prints off of a press, paint landscapes in the style of Impressionists, carve sculptures like the Romans, and experience their own street painting festival. The students experience field trips to museums and galleries, visits from resident artists, and a school-wide art exhibit that showcases their achievements.

Cold Spring School District Art, Music, and Classroom Teachers Collaborate Around Student Data

Learn how the Cold Spring School Fifth Grade Classroom Teachers, Art Teacher, and Music Teacher are using their student's March formative assessment data to drive instruction and motivate student learning. All teachers firmly believe that all students can master the critical standards because there is shared ownership over student learning outcomes. Every Child, Every Opportunity, Every Day!

Art Project

Volume Boom Box

Boom Box

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Boom Box

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Kinder Art Projects


The Kindergarten students are off to a great start in the art room as they learn the elements of art with an emphasis on color, line and shape. They made their own color wheels and mixed secondary colors using the primary colors. Oil pastel and watercolor resist techniques were explored as we practiced different lines and collages were made using basic shapes and big imaginations. We explored the illustrations of Eric Carle and used his method of paint paper collage to make our own very hungry caterpillars. Our first ceramic sculpture of caterpillars helped us understand the difference between a flat circle and a 3D sphere.

First Grade Art

First Grade

The first grade artists brought their knowledge of owls to the art room as we created acrylic paintings using new brush techniques to show implied texture. The students learned how to mix shades of light blue to make our moon and stars glow. We then explored ways to create actual textures with clay as we sculpted ceramic owls. We also drew botanical illustrations for our garden labels. The illustrators of Giraffes Can't Dance and Mr. Tiger Goes Wild were our inspiration for the directed draw lesson of giraffes and the paint paper collages of tigers.

Second Grade

The second graders have been busy exploring many types of art from drawing to ceramic and wood sculpture. We began the year with a unit on geometric and organic shapes and created a collage inspired by the abstract work of Henri Matisse. We read stories about the art of Mexico and the traditions of Dia De Los Muertos and built wood sculptures called alebrijes. These were a challenge in engineering and a fun way to use bold colors and fun patterns. We hope you enjoyed the ceramic pumpkin lights, the students learned alot about creating a hollow form and carving details, and were thrilled to take them home!

Third Grade Art

Third Grade

Learning about shading, form, and ceramic sculpture are more fun when the subject matter is monsters! The students chose either warm or cool colors for their chalk pastel monsters and carefully blended tones from light to dark to create the illusion of a 3D shape. These creatures were then sculpted with clay using a pinch pot method before adding goulish details. We reviewed the science behind ceramics; how two pieces of clay attach, how water evaporates causing the clay to shrink, and how powdered glass crystallizes in the heat of the kiln. We also studied the whimsical work of Alexander Calder and created wire people. These flexible sculptures helped us practice figure drawing. Foam prints of sugar skulls were made in celebration of El Dia De Los Muertos. Finally we brought our social studies lessons into the art room and created traditional Native American baskets using pottery and weaving techniques. We learned that math is important when weaving, and an odd number of sticks creates perfect radial symmetry!

Fourth Grade Art

Fourth Grade

The fourth graders jumped right into the art curriculum as we drew inspiration from the changing seasons and created paintings of fall leaves using watercolor pencil techniques. We also had the opportunity to paint a still life on canvas using easels. Both of these projects were an exercise in color theory, including tints and shades, and practicing drawing what we see through observation. Our lessons in art history continued with a story about Gustav Klimt, including his intricate gold patterns, and his love for cats. Finally we brought our studies of the California regions into the art room and painted a landscape inside the silhouette of an animal from that region.

Fifth Grade Art

Fifth Grade

The fifth graders brought their love of learning from the homeroom to the art room as we incorporated social studies and math concepts into our art lessons.

Our first clay day was a messy one as we dove into the ancient art of coil pot sculpting and stacked ropes of clay into snake shaped vessels. Native Americans used similar techniques to create vessels that were both functional and beautiful.

Continuing to learn from cultures around the world we created a Notan, which is a Japanese design concept involving the play of dark and light, positive and negative space, and symmetry. Portrait drawing was practiced as we made the covers for our Explorer Reports.

Sixth Grade Art

Sixth Grade

The sixth graders are enthusiastically creating the traditional CSS art projects that they have anticipated for the last six years. They studied the work of American artist Wayne Thiebaud, who is known for his use of thick paint, cool colored shadows and his delicious subject matter of cakes and ice cream cones. We took inspiration from his use of shading while drawing chalk pastel ice cream cones and sculpted creative ceramic cupcake jars. We also reviewed all the artists we have studied over the years and created "Mini Masters" by doing a master study of a painting and a 3D portrait of the artist.