Grade 3 students complete their environmentally-aware comic strips

The Grade 3 students recently completed their comic strips which follow along with their unit on recycling, reusing, and waste — the central idea of which is that the choices people make as they buy and consume things can lead to the creation of waste. Each student’s personalized comic strip reflects some aspect of their understanding or belief about the effects of consumption, recycling, littering, or creating waste.

The students wrote and sketched as methods of brainstorming ideas, developed simple story lines, created rough sketches in pencil, and have now completed their final versions in pencil, ink, and colored pencil. The students are primarily focused on line, color, and balance in the development of their comic strip creations — aiming to make their images and words clear so that their audience understands their intent.

In this unit, these young artists used appropriate terminology to discuss artwork, and they created artwork for a specific audience. Here are some photos of the finished comic strips and the students in action:

Grade 1 explores Life Cycles in three dimensions

In their homeroom classes the Grade 1 students focused on the central idea that all living things go through a process of change. The students studied a variety of living things, and then each child chose a particular one to focus on for his or her art project. After some discussion and review of a ‘life cycle’ in art class and then practicing drawing the chosen creature (either butterfly, turtle, or bird), the students began to think about how they could communicate the concept of a life cycle — not only visually but also in three dimensions.

In this unit the students created artwork in response to a variety of stimuli, and they identified, planned, and made specific choices of materials, tools, and processes. Below, see the students at work on their sculptures and dioramas and see some of their finished projects.

The children worked diligently to create multiple sculptures from plasticine so as to represent the beginning, middle, and end of their creatures’ life cycles. Once their sculptures were completed — after being pushed to develop further their modeling and painting skills — the students then constructed three-dimensional dioramas from paper, pencil, pastels, markers (and words/labels), creating environments for their artwork in which to present their new knowledge and skills. With the sculptures installed in the dioramas, the students were ready to present their projects to the other students, to teachers, and to parents at their Friday assembly performance.

Grade 5 Exhibition: The many ways people express themselves

The Grade 5 students worked diligently over several weeks in preparation for their culminating PYP unit, the Exhibition. Each student (having identified and chosen a particular interest or passion) worked to research, develop, express, and present some aspect of his/her interest to the school community.

In art class, the focus was on exploring the many different ways that human beings express themselves. After brainstorming over 40 different ideas, the students broke their long list into categories of “two-dimensional”, “three-dimensional”, and “other”. And so from the various two- and three-dimensional ideas, students began to think about appropriate, interesting, and eye-catching ways of visually displaying their knowledge at the exhibition.

In this unit, the Grade 5 students reflected on the factors that influence personal reactions to artwork and became increasingly independent in the realization of the creative process as they selected, researched, and developed an idea or theme for an artwork.

Grade 4 graphic designers complete their campaign posters

The 4th graders have completed their campaign posters, from a collaborative unit which focused on the central idea that the media can influence thinking and behavior. The students worked in small groups to develop their own media campaign on a subject of their choosing. In art class, the students learned about Contrast, Unity, and Balance as principles of design, and they used these guidelines to help them create a visual display (e.g. a campaign poster) to communicate their goal for their campaign.

The students made much progress in learning how to communicate visually using Contrast, Unity, and Balance to create a simple, clear message with text and images. Here are the results, the campaign posters created by these young graphic designers as well as photos of the students at work:

Students had the choice to create their posters either digitally on their laptops or “traditionally” by hand (pencils, rulers, paper, colored pencils, and/or markers). Students who completed their posters with time to spare also had the opportunity to create a toy or token as another aspect to their campaigns. These objects were designed digitally with an online software program called TinkerCad and then printed on the school’s 3D printer.

Ultimately, the goals for the Grade 4 art students were for them to provide constructive criticism when responding to an artwork, to recognize that different audiences respond in different ways to artwork, and to show an awareness of the affective power of the visual arts. More details about the project can be found here.

Grade 3’s learning styles and 3D letter sculptures

After completing their Explorer Unit play productions earlier in the year the Grade 3 students at long last returned to their group sculpture projects, each based on a letter of the alphabet.  At the outset of this project, 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, Grade 3’s three-dimensional letters have been combined — and all hung from the ceiling in the upstairs K-1 building hallway — to create a phrase focused on the central idea of their first unit (WHO WE ARE IN GRADE 3) and visually reflective of those images, ideas, thoughts, fantasies, and passions particular to these 3rd graders. Throughout the unit, the overarching learning outcome has been for students to identify the stages of their own and others’ creative process.

Grade 2 student illustrate and bind their personal storybooks

The Second Graders worked in their homeroom classes on creating storybooks — written, illustrated, and published by each student individually — based on the central idea that stories can be constructed, retold, and interpreted in different ways.

In art class, the students focused on how to communicate their stories visually through the illustrations which accompany the text on each page. By examining and reading a number of different storybooks, the students observed and discussed that there is a relationship between the pictures and words on a single page.  They also observed and came to understand that the illustrations can be greatly varied yet need enough detail to show the action, the important events of the story.

In this unit of study, the Second Grade art students focused on sharpening their powers of observation and on considering their audience when creating artwork. They began the visual aspect of their books by planning: creating storyboards with thumbnail sketches to show the basic progression of images.  And after many weeks of work writing & editing their stories (in their homeroom classes) and illustrating & hand-binding (in art class), the students published their books and held their book launch for parents on Friday April 25.

If you were not able to attend the Breakfast Book Launch, ask a Grade 2 student to see his or her storybook. They are fantastic: very personal and unlike any stories you’ve read before!


1st Graders’ Family Portraits

In their homeroom classes the 1st graders studied how one’s family history provides insight into one’s own personal identity, and in art class the students drew and then painted their self-/family-portraits. Each student developed the background of his/her picture by adding imagery from the memory of family events or from knowledge of his/her family’s history.

Created in response to a range of stimuli (photos, storybooks, conversations, sharing of personal experiences), students made personal connections to their artworks as they developed. The task proved challenging as the students had to determine how to represent, visually, what they envision in their minds and what they can discuss verbally.

See the students at work, below, shortly before the completion of these family portraits. Each student used his/her portrait as a talking point during the Student Led Conferences to discuss his/her personal family history.