May 1

Leonardo Da Vinci: Genius & Artist

The Mona Lisa

What does it mean to be a genius?  History tells us that Albert Einstein was a scientific genius, Michelangelo was considered an artistic genius for his paintings and sculptures and Thomas Edison was the genius inventor who brought us the light bulb. Imagine being a genius who is world famous in all of these areas of human knowledge?  Such a person did exist way back in the 15th century, his name is Leonardo da Vinci. Not only did he make a robot that worked, invent a very complex type of math called calculus, he also painted the world’s most famous portrait, the Mona Lisa. For all of the things he accomplished in life, why is it that this painting is what he is known for the most? What made this painting so famous, who was Mona Lisa, and why did Leonardo da Vinci paint her?

As an artist, Leonardo da Vinci was paid by rich merchants, Dukes and even Princes to sculpt, paint or build instruments. One day, a rich silk merchant named Giocondo hired da Vinci to paint a picture of his wife, Lisa. Though Leonardo was getting bored with painting, he took the job anyway, maybe it was for the money or maybe the woman’s face appealed to him, nobody knows for sure why he took the job but he did

Although da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa between 1503-1507, it wasn’t quite finished so he worked on it off and on until finishing it just before his death in 1519. He used wooden handled paint brushes made with animal hair to apply many different oil painting styles with names like  Verdaccio, Sfumato,  and Glazing. What is amazing is that he didn’t paint the Mona Lisa on canvas, not even paper, instead he painted her on a piece of wood that came from a Poplar tree!

In the painting, Mona Lisa has a gentle smile and the expression on her face is what makes the painting so famous. She looks as if she is keeping a secret, and her eyes are full of mystery, too. A very fine veil covers her brown curly hair down to her very simple black dress. She doesn’t wear any fancy jewelry and she sits peacefully with her hands gracefully rested crossed, one on top of the other, on her lap. Behind her, a winding road with a bridge leads up to craggy mountains that slowly disappear into the mist.

It’s well known that Leonardo da Vinci is a genius, a scientist and an inventor but what I like the best about him is his art, especially his painting of the Mona Lisa. Even though Leonardo didn’t like painting anymore, he still painted the portrait for the rich silk merchant, but it took him 16 years to do it.  Maybe it took him that long to create such a mysterious look in her eyes, and that look on her face, just like she is keeping a secret. The Mona Lisa is a great example of the Leonardo da Vinci’s genius. Or maybe it’s just like a lot of things he started, history also tells us that he finished very few works of art that he started, so it’s no surprise that it took him so long to paint her.                    

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April 25

Dye Hair, Dye

Classroom magazines image

On January 24, ninth-grader Tim Jenkins walked into his school in Gulfport, Mississippi, with a new look. He had dyed his hair hot pink. Tim was suspended that day for breaking the school district’s dress code. The policy requires students’ hair to be “clean, neat, and a natural-looking color.” Tim wasn’t allowed to return to school until he dyed his hair back to its natural dark brown. I think that schools should not be able to control what you wear or what color you dye your hair because it helps kids express their personality. Also, a lot of adults say it is distracting

It helps kids express their personality. That should be left up to the kids and their parents. At my school, we’re allowed to dye our hair any color we want. We even have a “Crazy Hair Day” during Spirit Week. It’s important to be able to express yourself, so why can’t you express yourself at school?

I don’t think dyed hair is distracting. Most people would look at a kid’s brightly colored hair for a minute and then go back to what they were doing. plus the only reason adults say it is distracting is that they don’t like it.

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March 20

Supersonic Transit System

Not long ago, billionaire Elon Musk had a vision of the future. He dreamed of a supersonic transit system. Soon after, he released a 57-page document on a concept called Hyperloop. Hyperloop is a huge supersonic transit system that travels in between cities filled with traffic. The sponsor of Tesla motors and SpaceX dreamed of a friction-less, low-pressure, vacuum-sealed pod. Powered with energy from solar panels, it should be able to withstand major natural disasters. Elon believed this pod would shorten travel times drastically. For example, the distance from San Francisco to Los Angeles takes 6 hours. This pod could get there in 35 minutes.

Continue reading

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January 29

NASA Makes Pumpkins

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL (via Flickr)

I read a great article on Dogo News about how NASA scientists carved pumpkins. That was the challenge posed to the excellent scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA in 2010 during Halloween. This interesting competition has turned into an annual tradition with partners trying to outdo each other with sky-high hi-tech carvings.

Photo Credit: NASA JPL (via Flickr)

This year’s entries included a Pac-Man pumpkin, a replica of Darth Vader’s meditation chamber, a carousel, a Ninja Starshade, and even a sink hole pumpkin. While the creations are certainly quite strange, what is even more so, is that the engineers-turned-artists had just an hour to complete their masterpieces!

And now, watch this epic video. Continue reading

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March 12

Claude Monet

Claude Monet is very famous for his style of art. He had a very sketchy type of style that people didn’t really like at first but later loved.

Claude was born in 1840, in Paris, France. Later in 1845, he and his family moved to Le Havre. Claude didn’t enjoy school, but he loved sketching it. When Claude Monet was a man he met Eugene Boudin. Eugene was very different compared to other painters at the time. He painted out side. He invited Claude to paint with him and he had decided that he wanted to become a painter.


This is one of Monet’s very famous water lilies. He really concentrated on the light and the way the light appeared in the picture.


Claude didn’t just enjoy painting he also enjoyed his wife in the garden, his son playing on the terrace, and train stations. One time he stopped the trains just so he could paint them.

A few years later. Claude found a village called Giverny. He bought a house there and made a pond with his favorite plant, the water lily. He then became very devoted to painting water lilies.

Monet died in 1926 at the age of 86. He died a well loved artist and many people still remember him and his artwork today.

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October 17

Painting like Piet Mondrian

20141017-093229.jpgLast week in art we made pictures in the style of Piet Mondrian. He was known for his modern style of painting. Piet Mondrian was born on March 7th, 1872 in the Netherlands. During his lifetime he made many pictures in the style of drawing an object and making vertical and horizontal lines and he colored some of them primary colors and left other white. Piet died on February 1, 1944 in New York.

In art we painted in Piet Mondrian style. We each drew a animal. Most of us drew beautiful horses. Others drew mysterious jellyfish. But we all made wonderful pictures in the style of the great artist, Piet Mondrian.

If you are feeling in the mood, YOU can draw your own painting, Piet Mondrian style.








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September 30

My Avatar

This is my avatar.

This is my avatar.

I made this avatar for myself and my class has avatars too as you can see them in other posts. My avatar is holding a book because I like to read. I wear things in my hair a lot so my avatar has a flower in her hair. My 2nd favorite color is pink with my 1st being purple. I like to wear dresses and skirts. Almost every day I go outside I wear sneakers. I have blue eyes and blond hair. I LOVE NECKLACES AND COMPUTERS! I can’t wait to make more avatars!

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September 28

My avatar

My avatarThis is my avatar I will explain how my avatar looks like me. First, the hair my hair is blond like my avatar’s hair. Now to my eyes like my avatars my eyes are green. This nose is the most realistic nose I found so I liked. You could say it looks like my nose but to me I just like it. Now my mouth I know its kind of a normal mouth but it looks like me. Now that was my head now to my body.

First the shirt so I have shirts that look like this one but, I normally wear unusual shirts but they didn’t have any unusual shirts so I picked this one. Now to the dog I’m holding I have two dogs neither of them really look like this one but, one has partly brown on it. I also have I think 8 more pets but I really can’t remember all their names… anyway back to my avatar. Now to my legs and feet.

My legs and feet lets start with legs now I like always wear long pants usually never shorts really. Now my legs are not the same story about my shirts because I usually wear black long pants like my avatar. I STRONGLY dislike shorts. Now to my shoes my Avatar’s shoes are green my shoes now are rainbow but my old shoes are green plus the website doesn’t have rainbow shoes. My favorite color is green too :-). That’s me and my avatar and how we are alike.

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September 26

Sophie’s Avatar


Here is the avatar I designed to look kind of like me.

Hello, my name is Sophie and I am going to tell you how I made my avatar.

First I went to the website  and chose my skin color . Next I chose my face to be a nice smile. Then I chose my eyes to be a brownish color and chose my eyes to be the shape they are. Next, I chose my hair to to be brown and be parted down the middle because that was the closest I could get to my real hair. Then I chose my clothing and shoe color. And there you go that’s how I made my avatar and how you can make yours too.

Have fun creating your avatar!!!!



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June 12

Modern Art Sculptures

You’ll never guess what these sculptures are made from? We created these unique sculptures using wood, a wire coat hanger, a stocking, white liquid glue, and acrylic paint. First we fashioned a shape with the coat hanger, creating lots of twists and turns. We were careful not to limit our creativity and just “went with it”. After that we covered the coat hanger with a regular ladies stocking, pulling the stocking tightly around the wood, and tying it . Once we did this the sculpture really took shape. We then painted a couple of coats of watered down liquid glue and let the sculpture dry over night. Next, we imagined! What would our sculptures be? A fish? A whale’s tail? An octopus? We let our imaginations run wild. Finally, we painted our sculptures to create these one of a kind sculptures. What do you see? Do you see the creature or creation in each sculpture? Want to try this yourself? Then check out these instructions for a Wire-Stocking Sculpture.

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