First Grade sculpts and draws living things

In their homeroom classes, the First Graders have been studying the rights and responsibilities of people and living things — looking at how people have an impact on the environment. In each homeroom, students created three-dimensional dioramas depicting a natural environment as well as the impact of the choices people make on that environment. And so in art class we have learned about sculpting and drawing living things (animals, insect, fish, trees, and plants) so as to contribute, visually, to the diorama and eventually to our hallway outside the classrooms. Currently, the first graders have been practicing drawing animals and insects and are now embarking on the creation of big paper sculptures of their favorite living things.

The following video shows the process the 1st graders — and all ES students — use to become proficient at drawing what they see.  Limited to 10 minutes, the video is a basic overview and does not cover all the finer points of observational drawing. Students who are practicing at home with this 3-step drawing process are encouraged to bring their drawing to Mr. Reed for discussion, suggestions, and “next step” ideas!

how to draw what you see from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

How to attach two pieces of clay together

As the second graders near the completion of their clay “cultural portraits”, they will soon be attaching their creations to a base, to a rectangular slab of clay.  In order to affix the two pieces together securely, they will need to SCORE  and SLIP the clay.  The following video is being used in class to assist the students in understanding this process (one which is used in many types of ceramic work, particularly in the slab construction process).

how to attach two pieces of clay together from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

Kindergarten constructs their self-portrait sculptures

The students have almost all finished their drawings (self-portraits) which represent themselves visually in three stages of their lives: as a baby, as a kindergartener, and as a grown-up.  The students have been drawing, coloring, and cutting out these three head-to-toe self-portraits, depicting themselves (face, clothes, favorites toys and/or other special objects) in these different times of their lives: past, present, and future.  Now they are assembling the pictures along with a chosen painting, as they begin to create a 3-dimensional sculptural piece from these 2-dimensional drawings.

3rd Graders progress with their Letter sculptures

Having finished constructing the letters with stiff paper, tape, and scissors, they have moved on to the next step: enveloping their structures with paper and glue (“papier maché”). This messy but precise process aims to strengthen the sculptures and give a kind of ‘skin’ to their letters.  Each team of three had to practice aspects of the paper mache process and then divide up the tasks according to their strengths.  In the end, all the 3rd graders’ letters will be combined to create a phrase focused on the central idea of their first unit and visually reflective of those images, ideas, thoughts, fantasies, and passions particular to 3rd grade.

Here are some Third Graders at work with paper mache:

3rd graders at work on paper mache from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

2nd Graders continue carving and modeling their clay cultural portrait sculptures


The 2nd graders have continued to create their clay sculptures: original artifacts of each student’s experience in reflecting on a cultural celebration that he/she experiences with family (and/or friends).  Having chosen a particular person whom the student associates with this cultural celebration, the children are now well on their way to finishing their sculptures, having modeled and carved a head, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair, and the related details.  The sculptural heads will each be attached to a clay base, engraved with a name, bisque-fired, glazed in color, and finally glaze-fired.  The artworks will be on display at the Cross Cultural Lunch on Tuesday October 16.



Next the students will attach their sculptures to a base (a slab of clay), using the SCORE & SLIP process:

Keeping your clay projects moist and plastic

Our students create a variety of 3-dimensional projects and sculptures, and sometimes we work with clay.

Clay is a natural material found in the earth.  In order to keep the clay moist (slightly wet) and plastic (soft and pliable for easy modeling and shaping), it is important to take care of the clay.  Clay dries out slightly while we work on it and will dry completely if left exposed to the air for long enough.

In between classes — when the children are not working on their projects — we keep their clay sculptures moist and plastic by storing them in plastic bags.  The following video demonstrates how the children take care of their artwork at the end of each art class and how they should store clay if they use it at home.


how to store your clay to maintain moisture & plasticity from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

How all art students clean up after painting

Our art studio is a shared space where we all work on creative, fun, and sometimes messy artwork.  Each week 230 students come through the studio to learn about and make art; on a single day, as many as 80 students have art class!

The reason that the room and our tables are so clean when you come to art class is that the previous class did such a good job of cleaning up their projects and materials.  If you arrive and the tables are wet or there is glue or papers or pastels all over the tables, then you know the previous students didn’t do a very good clean-up job.

Painting is especially wet and messy, and so all the ES students will be watching the following video (kindergarten and 5th grade have already seen it) which demonstrates how to clean up the art studio at the end of a painting class.

I should note that the kindergarten students and the 5th graders did a fine job of cleaning up after painting this week!


How to clean up after painting from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

2nd Grade continues to construct and model their cultural portraits in clay

Focused in art class on cultural celebrations which are important to each of them and on the important people with whom they celebrate, the 2nd graders have begun sculpting the portrait of a people — each person having chosen a family member or close friend who is very important to him/her.  The following clip is the instructional video which the students watch in class to help them further refine the details of their sculptures.  (See Part One in an earlier 2nd Grade post).


(apologies for the abrupt end of the video; the video is slightly longer than the 10-minute maximum)

how to model a face with clay II from YIS Academics on Vimeo.