Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Announced! 

Congratulations to the following MSMS students who have received individual Gold Keys, Silver Keys and Honorable Mentions at the annual Boston Globe Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition.

Art (Photography Club/Camp/Activity Block/Art Class)

  • Zara Ahmed, gr. 8*,  Gold Key, Clean Up! (photography)
  • Navya Garg, gr. 8*, Gold Key, Morning Chores (photography)
  • Michela Giordano, gr. 8*, Gold Key, Nomad (painting)
  • Courtney Magnarelli, gr. 8*, Gold Key, Portrait of Mara (photography)
  • Madison Bairos, gr. 8, Silver Key, Portrait of Jane (photography)
  • Caroline Sciarratta, gr. 8, Silver Key, Window Man (photography)
  • Kathryn Campbell, gr. 8, Honorable Mention, Davis Square Dogs (photography)
  • Navya Garg, gr. 8*, Honorable Mention, Selling Maan Kochu (photography)
  • Courtney Magnarelli, gr. 8*, Honorable Mention, Portrait of an Elder (photography)

*denotes students who created their work as 8th graders but are currently in 9th grade


Grade 7 Awards

Grade 8 Awards


Congratulations to Michela Giordano and Vin Patel for being recognized in this years Stellwagen Bank Marine Contest. Michela received 1st Place in the Middle School Division for her painting of a Common Loon with acrylic on canvas. Vin Patel received an honorable mention for his colored pencil drawing of a Green Sea Turtle.



Michela G.

Hard work and dedication pays off! Michela is an 8th grade student in my photography Activity Block who shared her desire to draw a self portrait. With the help of her classmate Navya, the composition for the drawing was created during photo club. Michela spent almost 4 months working on her drawing during Activity Block, after school, and anytime she could manage during the day, with the goal of finishing her portrait for our annual Open House.

During her busy middles school day, Michela has also completed a painting for the Stellwagen Bank art contest and photographs for our Beautiful Life photography project. Her patience and dedication to detail is evident in her drawing, painting and photography.  Open House visitors commented on the sophistication of Michela’s work, many disbelieving it could be done by a middle school student!





self-portrait details



Acrylic on Canvas for Stellwagen Bank


DSC_0657FF (1)

Beautiful Life Portrait of Jane

The Madness of March is here! This year during March Madness students in art class  selected their favorite Celtic player to paint. The large mural is made up of 5 canvases. Everyday for the next 2 weeks students in all my classes will be  selected to work on the mural. The goal is to complete  the painting during the Month of  March.  Let’s hope the snow does not interfere with this goal!  As you can see we are off to a great start!


Beautiful Life

Yesterday we had an amazing day in Photography Activity Block! Ms. Rogers and I invited Mrs. Devine and 3 of her close friends to help us prepare for a photo project we are  about to undertake  with our photo students. The requirement for the project is simple, you must be 75 years  and older. Mrs. Devine just squeaked by turning 75 today, Happy Birthday. Our guests ranged  in age from 75 to 93. They certainly did not look a day over 65!  Thank you ladies for your time and good spirit!   The photos the students were able to capture in a short time were amazing.

Cannot wait to visit the Burlington Housing Authority next week. More photos to follow.


Excitement has been growing over the past few weeks in New England as the Patriots clinched their Super Bowl berth. Having students design their concepts of a winning logo for the Super Bowl is a great way to demonstrate the importance of creativity and art in all aspects of life. This assignment engages all students regardless of their interest in sports. Students in all grades have come up with some pretty amazing designs! 

Why sneakers?

Diversity is what kept the Spirit of Chuck Taylor sneakers (converse) alive. There is no specific subculture, generation or individual that truly defines Converse All Stars. They do not belong to any particular group or style and thats what makes these sneakers so special and worth drawing. 

The Converse All Star was released in 1917 as a basketball shoe and is still sold today.

Students in 8th Grade worked on creating a composition with the sneakers to draw. They used photoshop to manipulate  the colors they would use in their drawings. Drawings were finished using oil pastels. 


Every year I look forward to having 7th Grade students work on a pencil self portrait. I love the dedication and effort they put forward to ensure they look fantastic in their drawing . Students love to make time lapse videos of this assignment. The video begins with the first pencil mark to the last. Students are  truly amazed at what they have accomplished.



MSMS Photogs Visit Bearskin Neck, Rockport & Davis Square Somerville


American star

We hope everyone enjoyed the Independence Day holiday, which was flanked by our trips to Rockport and Somerville.  Since our return, we’ve had some considerable class time to edit images. Unlike our other urban settings for street photography, Rockport offered more quintessential shots of Americana along with some breathtaking ocean/landscape views.  Somerville’s Davis Square typified a multi-cultural canvass of work-a-day folks who were commuting to their destinations, making deliveries, or hanging out in coffee shops and city parks.  As with any city, students had the opportunity to observe several homeless individuals, some of whom suffered from mental illness.  Ms. Phillips and I used this opportunity to discuss sensitivity and dignity with regard to street photography.  Whereas a single photographer may be able to discreetly capture powerful images, it would NOT be appropriate for our large group to be photographing these subjects.  One of our more experienced photographers understood this and captured her image when alone and away from the pack:

Ashlyn Biundo Walking Man1

More Davis Square:










harley davidson

croswalk dog walk

cute dog

plaid man





Paused Woman 2

Blue Cans


Alexis-BackInTime (1)

ThanyaWeadick17 (1)

The Garden Gate Dayma

Window Washer

Alexis-TwoMen (1)

Alexis-CoffeeBike (1)

black and white chairs


We also introduced the “photo merge” feature of Photo Shop during lab time.  Using shots taken of the Rockport shoreline, students created panoramic images knit from their individual images.  Behold the beauty!

elli pano

Ashlyn Biundo Pano







So, another aspiring batch of photographers has gotten a great start with this summer’s camp.  If any of our friends, family or fans are in the area tomorrow morning, please stop by the Marshall Simonds Middle School Media Center to attend our exhibit.  The students would love to chat with you about what inspired them over the past two weeks (and you can enjoy some light refreshments too!).

Photo Camp Exhibit 2017 (1)

It happens every year: students entering eighth grade start talking about Final Fling and all that 8th grade offers them. The decorations are created in May during Activity Blocks and art classes.  Students vote on their theme and the magic begins. Dancing With The Stars comes to a conclusion and classmates all seem to come together in celebrating moving on to their respective high schools.  This year’s police detail was MSMS alum, Officer Minichiello, who reflected on his Final fling some 30 years ago, commenting that the 2017 version was nothing like he remembered from his 1984 dance!  Ms. Rogers and I have worked together for several years now, providing a photographic memento for students to remember this period of their school lives.

Students worked throughout the day preparing the gym to resemble a tropical paradise. At the end of it all, the gym looked amazing, and all the dance-goers really cleaned-up nicely, as you can see here:


2017 Dancing with the Stars Champions