After several weeks of focusing on the visual depiction of their favorite things, the second graders have finished the construction of their books as of this week. The objective of this drawing and bookmaking project was to understand that people can communicate visually: the students sought to express a personal passion and to communicate this passion in a book without words, only images.
The students began by sketching as a method of making notes of their thoughts about the things they like and like to do. Through discussion and describing these images, the students determined what pictures best convey what they are passionate about. Having chosen their images, the children drew them realistically (either from memory or via downloaded images from the laptops); then added critical details to their drawings; inked the pictures; cut & glued them into their folded pages; and finally, constructed the front and back covers by carefully wrapping the hardcover boards with a selection of printed Japanese paper.
See our young, passionate bookmakers in progress below…
Here is the video the students watched to learn how to wrap their two covers with the Japanese paper:
Continuing on with the first graders’ homeroom study of how one’s family history provides insight into one’s own personal identity, the students are continuing to move forward with their family portraits — first, by creating a large, life-size, half-body self-portrait painting.
Soon, these self-portraits will become family portraits as the students begin to add images from their memory of family events or from their knowledge of their family history (which they are discussing with Ms. Robidoux and Ms. Saito). In the meantime, the students come to realize that the seemingly simple act of drawing oneself has many complexities and challenges, as does the process of mixing the paint in one’s palette to create the desired tones for skin and hair. They continue to learn about drawing and about how to depict the human face but also about taking risks in doing things differently than before, about inquiring into oneself and one’s family, and about reflecting on one’s and one’s own family’s experiences.
Having completed their Explorer Unit play productions (complete with original props, set design, and costumes) the 3rd graders at long last returned to their group sculpture projects, each based on a letter of the alphabet. At the outset of this project back in September, each team of three students had to practice the various aspects of this sculpture’s process — ideating, drawing, painting, building, measuring — and then divide up the tasks according to each’s strengths. Over time, the students have learned from one another and, for the most part, have all contributed in many ways to the development of their projects. Their challenge has been to transform their letters into objects which display their imagination and represent their interests. In the end, the 3rd graders’ three-dimensional letters will be combined — and all hung from the ceiling — 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 these 3rd graders.
The kindergarten students — having just completed their mid-year self-portrait drawing — have been working on self-portraiture in a different medium: paint. Whereas their previous encounter with paint was very experimental, using a variety of tools to manipulate the paint in terms of lines, shapes, colors, and texture, this art project had the children sit in front of mirror with a palette of paint and some brushes and attempt to create a likeness of themselves — albeit with much creative license! Before sitting down to work, the class observed, reacted to, and discussed a wide variety of portrait paintings by artists or varying styles (Alice Neel, Max Beckmann, Paul Cezanne, Frida Kahlo, Peter Paul Rubens, and Henri Matisse, to name a few).
This project allows for further experimentation with risk-taking, decision-making, color-mixing, independence, and self-evaluation, and it leads us into the next version of their self-portraits (which will incorporate both digital photography and hand-coloring with pastels).
Mr. Reed’s new ESA has begun: the Young Artists Group. The Young Artist Group for trimester 2 consists of Grace, Wonkyung, Meg, Lente, Yein, and Wenyu. These girls will be creating a new outdoor mural which will be painted on the side of the Inge building where the picnic tables are.
The objective is to create a mural which depicts the most common outside-of-class activies among all YIS students: the things students do before school, during recess, break, lunchtime, and after school. The six girls polled numerous students from elementary, middle, and high school so as to determine exactly what it is that our children and teenagers do when not in class. Now the girls are in the process of creating images which represent those most common activities and of learning exactly how to transfer these images into life-size pictures to be painted on the wall.
Having completed their three-dimensional clay sculptural portraits, the 2nd graders have moved on to a different type of construction: the creation of small books. The objective of this project is two-fold: to express a personal passion and to communicate this passion in a book with no words, only images.
The students have used sketching as a method of making notes of their thoughts. Through discussion and describing their images, the students begin to hone their choices as to what pictures best convey what they are passionate about. Once they’ve chosed their images, the children are challenged to draw them so that they are recognizable; in some cases they must add critical details to their drawings in order to make the audience aware of their imagery. Students collaborate and give one another feedback so as to reach a visual clarity in their artwork.
Once the images are drawn in pencil and then traced in black ink, the assembly of the book and covers will begin.
Here’s the video the students watched to help them begin to construct their books:
In their homeroom classes, the first graders are examining how one’s family history provides insight into one’s own personal identity. And so in art class, we have discussed who are family members are and why they are important to us, and then the students began this unit by drawing family portraits from their memories and their knowledge of their families.
Then the students helped one another to trace their bodies onto large mural paper, the first step in creating a large-scale self-portrait, one which will eventually become a visual diary (or journal or record or landscape) of each person’s family history and also a particular view onto the students’ identities, at least as each one perceives it. Along the way, students will not only learn about drawing and about how to depict the human face but also about taking risks in doing things differently than before, about inquiring into oneself and one’s family, and about reflecting on one’s and one’s own family’s experiences.
The kindergarten students have been learning how to construct three-dimensional forms using two-dimensional shapes. They have done it with cardboard shapes — primarily squares, rectangles, and triangles, in addition to some interesting shapes of their own design — and have also become accomplished at utilizing hot-glue guns to assemble these elements.
The students observed and commented on images of commercial construction, of the different tools people use to build things, and of abstract sculptures made by artists. The students impressively became adept at using certain tools and in creating very compelling forms, which — as the children noted — look like all sorts of interesting things. After adding additional materials to their sculptures (cotton balls, wooden toothpicks, macaroni pasta, and metal wire) as each student saw fit, they completed their sculptural creations by painting with various mixed and unmixed colors.
Having completed their projects (wearable patterned garments) for their Ainu unit and performances, the 4th graders used the final weeks of Semester 1 to focus on their tessellations, the project they began at the beginning of the year. Before creating their Ainu garments, the students examined patterns and tessellations, specifically the artwork of M.C. Escher, a Dutch artist who was inspired in his cross-European travels to Southern (Moorish) Spain.
Now they are returning to this tessellation project, in which they have created individual motifs (shapes) and repeated them to create interlocking, puzzle-like patterns across the entire surface of their papers. The creative aspect of the project comes with each student having to decide how to transform these repeated shapes into something visually interesting and/or recognizable, something reflecting the interest of each student.
Having brainstormed ideas for their drama performances — by pondering the questions: What do you need to plan a performance? and Visually, what best communicates your story to the audience? — the students worked in small groups for several weeks to discuss, plan, and build the most important props, costumes, and set designs. The ideas and the execution of their plans were theirs alone, as they took complete responsibility for their artwork and their performances.
The plays were presented in December before the Winter Break, to great acclaim and applause. Congratulations, third graders, on your excellent collaborative work, on your risk-taking in creating objects you had never made before, and on your reflective and open-minded approach to your planning and your construction.