Welcome to Art Class 2015-16

AReed profile pic

Hello students and parents,

It’s Mr. Reed here, getting ready to begin learning and working and creating with the Kindergarten and Grade 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 students in Art Class!

I wish you a warm welcome back to school for those of you who are returning, and for those of you new to Y.I.S. and/or to Japan, I hope you are finding your way around well (please don’t hesitate to ask questions).

We’re soon to begin our ES art classes, to reacquaint ourselves with one another, to welcome our new classmates, and to dive right into our first art projects. As you know, the ES art classes follow the Primary Years Program (PYP) and are well integrated into the work the children are doing across their various classes and subjects. It’s an exciting place to learn and grow and push new boundaries.

I look forward to meeting you at the upcoming Back To School Night on Wednesday, September 9. Please do feel free to drop into my classroom — room E-203, upper floor, K-1 building — at anytime to ask questions or simply to say ‘hello’.

Best to you all in 2015-16,

Aaron Reed

Grade 5’s journey into Aesthetics

The Grade 5 students spent nearly 2 months focusing on AESTHETICS and the central idea that aesthetic expression can be influenced by a culture’s history and values.

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Looking at how traditions are related across genres and over time and at how local traditions are similar and different to one’s home culture, the students focused initially on Japan. Concepts such as “wabi-sabi” (beauty in imperfection, hidden beauty) and “ma” (space, such as the space in between sounds) were focal points, as were various Japanese arts which students were able to explore and research according to their interests.

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

In art class, the unit began and ended with each student defining the word “beauty” for him/herself. In the intervening weeks, students engaged in a variety of activities:

  • Two engaging visits from the artists Shoichi & Colleen Sakurai, who (1) introduced the students to the concept of “wabi sabi” and kicked-off their Wabi Sabi Project — creating wearable art from found and discarded materials — and (2) returned to witness the students’ Wabi Sabi Fashion Show several weeks later.
  • Experimented with specific Media, Tools, and Processes in art class, to be used in the creation of their Wabi Sabi Art.
  • Explored an interactive PowerPoint experience (“Japanese Arts & Aesthetic Exploration”) to pursue the traditional Japanese arts they wanted to learn more about: calligraphy, ceramics, flower arranging/ikebana, tea ceremony, architecture, dolls, paper folding/origami, painting, gardens, sculpture, printmaking/ukiyo-e.
  • An Art+Music collaboration: students connected the experience of listening to music (various woodwinds, Japanese/non-Japanese) to the act of visual creation (painting, sculpture). The art was created in art class, then discussed and critiqued in music class with their koto teacher (see more about the Japanese koto here).
  • A visit from some Grade 9 art students, who presented their own research and learning about ‘aesthetics’, ‘wabi-sabi’, Shoichi Sakurai, and Japanese arts. These students also presented their art research workbooks so as to display their working process to the Grade 5 students.
  • The creation of ceramic vessels: after exploring some Japanese “living national treasures” (see this online resource for traditional clay artwork), the students created their own clay vessels based on the various forms and designs/colors found in these traditional Japanese ceramics. The idea was for the students to become part of a historical tradition, using an ancient, natural, local material — clay — to create a basic object which has a long tradition in Japan (ceramic vessels, like teacups, bowls, vases).
  • And all-day visit to Sankeien Gardens field trip, as the culminating event of the unit. This visit included a presentation and exhibition by the photographer Everett Kennedy Brown, the opportunity to use photography to capture elements of beauty through the eyes and lens of the students, and the creation of a haiku poem using the surrounding environment as an influence.
Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

This arts-driven unit of study was a new unit on which nearly all the Grade 5 teachers (homeroom, arts, and Japanese) collaborated. It has been a very enlightening and engaging experience for students and teachers alike. With both students and teachers having provided one another with constructive feedback, we look forward to developing the unit in more depth next year.

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Grade 5 presents transformed landscapes

In the Kirin Building (2nd floor) there is a display of the 5th graders creations from their second art unit:  an original landscape drawing, in pencil, combining the observational drawing of an existing landscape (from a photograph) and their own imaginative/fantasy/invented scene. The overarching central idea for this unit was “Changes in the world affect how artists create art.”

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Focused on the key concept of ‘change’, the students first focused on a change in the world in the 19th century: the scientific and technology revolution which was the invention of the camera and how that affected the artists (the Impressionists) of the time and thereafter. One line of inquiry was “How discoveries have impacted society and the arts”; students had various opinions as to how photography might have affected artists both positively and negatively. Students also used this discussion of Impressionism as a jumping off point to learning to sketch a landscape and to experiment with colors, coloring mixing (painting), and related terminology.

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Next, following the line of inquiry “The transformation of ideas into art, factors involved”, students used an actual landscape (a found photographic image found via the internet, i.e. new technology) to help create a drawn reproduction (pencil, eraser, paper, i.e. old/traditional technology) of the scene. Then, with the concept of ‘change’ in mind — and having seen some imaginative landscapes by working artists — students mined their own imaginations and interests to transform the existing, actual landscape into something fantastical, changing areas of the image to incorporate their imaginative visions.

The 2015 YAMATE ART EXHIBITION

The annual Yamate Art Exhibition has begun!

The exhibition runs from Saturday February 14 to Monday February 23 at Bluff No. 115-3, The British House — link here — across the street from Y.I.S. (横浜市中区山手町115-3) from 9:30-17:00 daily, 9:30-12:00 on Feb 23.

This art show is part of the Yokohama Yamate Art Festival and includes the artwork of students from several schools in the Yamate area, each exhibited at a different residence on The Bluff.

There are 114 elementary school artists in this year’s show, so do come visit the Y.I.S. student gallery and see the energy, efforts, and two- & three-dimensional creativity of our Kindergarten through Grade 5 students!

 

Grade 5 instructions for new project (Unit 2)

Hello Grade 5 students!

We discussed some of the changes that occurred in science & technology around the time of the Impressionists, specifically the advent of photography.

You had some interesting opinions about how the camera might have affected the artists of that time. Suffice to say there was a big CHANGE in the art world as the 19th century became the 20th century.

old camera

Today in art class you will begin creating your own landscape picture, one which will also focus on the concept of CHANGE. You will need to use your powers of observation!

Please follow these instructions for Part One of the project — read & observe the images you see here:

If you have finished drawing your landscape, check with Mr. Reed for the next step and instructions (your imagination will now come into play).

Have fun!

Grade 5 self-portraits about conflict via drawing, color, and abstraction

In their homeroom classes and in drama class, the 5th graders have been addressing the central idea that “differences in beliefs and values are factors leading to conflict” by looking at how each student manages situations of conflict and interpersonal problems. And so in art class, we were taking this opportunity to create self-portraits that communicate each person’s experience with or feelings about this theme.

These young artists initially identified a personal situation of conflict (during a drama class lesson) and used this event as a catalyst for their art project. These young artists have spent time discussing and reflecting on these conflicts, learning different approaches to drawing realistic facial features, and exploring and practicing geometric and organic abstraction in paint. Now they are in the final stages of putting their new learning together to create their final self-portrait — attempting to convey their ideas both in a realistic and in an abstract manner. These self-portraits are each made up of:

  • in the foreground: a pencil and ink image of themselves — drawn from life using a mirror, showing a facial expression indicating the feelings aroused by this situation of conflict
  • a background: an abstract painting — either geometric, organic, or both — utilizing specific colors as symbols of the student’s feelings about this situation of conflict

Soon after completion, the students will evaluate their ideas and the execution of their work:

  • How did you communicate in both realistic and abstract manners?
  • What did you learn during this project which was new to you?
  • What could you have done better? What would you do differently if you made this self-portrait again?

The finished self-portraits will be displayed here on this blog upon completion. Come back and look for them!

Students begin their first art units of 2014-15

The elementary students are a few weeks into their art classes now and beginning their first unit projects. Students are learning — little by little — about themselves as creators, about how to communicate and take risks and reflect on their work, and about how to be independent, responsible art students.

Kindergarten  –  We’ve started by looking at how personal journeys show the way that people change and can lead to new opportunities. These young artists have observed and discussed a variety of other artists’ self-portraits, then drawn their own self-portraits from observation (black ink on paper) and also experimented with watercolor paints as they developed their faces in whichever manner they chose. At the same time, the students are becoming familiar with the elementary school art studio, learning what and where our materials and tools are and practicing being responsible, cooperative classmates in storing their artwork properly and cleaning up their workspaces.

Grade 1  –  Living creatures (animals, fish, birds, insects, and the like) are our focus at the moment. The young students are practicing how to draw living things realistically, both by observation — using photographs of the creatures — and with a step-by-step drawing process — from simple shapes and lines to more complex details. We will soon be discussing how people have an impact on the environment and will look at how the places where living things exist can be affected by the actions of humans. Later, the young artists will create large sculptures of their chosen creatures as a way to communicate their feelings about these issues.

Grade 2 – These young artists are focusing on how people can be enriched by their own cultures and the cultures they connect with throughout their lives. In art class, they have been practicing various modeling techniques with play dough in creating realistic human heads — using their hands and a variety of tools. Soon, the students will focus on a particular person in each of their lives, someone with whom each student celebrates a certain, significant cultural event. And the students will later create original sculptures of these people using clay and colored glazes.

Grade 3 – Three-dimensional sculpture is the current focus for these students, along with the overarching notion that exploring different learning styles helps individuals understand each other better. Thus far the young artists have made 7 practice sculptures, experimenting with different methods of manipulating paper. Soon they will be working collaboratively in small groups to create large sculptures, in a variety of media, which reveal something about themselves and their interests, individual strengths, and desires.

Grade 4 – Currently focused on the idea that organisms rely on one another, these students are also beginning to realize how the natural world is a rich source for imaginative artistic creation. We have looked at many artists and their artworks who use nature as inspiration for imagery. These young artists are now practicing drawing nature from observation and are also attempting to transform these realistic sketches into very imaginative pictures of whatever fantasies their minds create. Soon the students will create a final version of these nature-inspired drawings of fantasy.

Grade 5 – In their homeroom classes, the students have been focusing on the idea of conflict and how conflict affects lives. In art class at the moment, we have been looking at, discussing, and practicing how to create self-portraits. The students are also learning that portraits can be either realistic or abstract, that faces need not look “perfect” to represent someone or their feelings or personality. Soon the students will reflect on a situation of conflict in their own lives and attempt to communicate it through a self-portrait, and they will have elements in their portraits which are both realistic and abstract.

Welcome to art class 2014-15 !

AReed profile pic

Hello students and parents,

It’s Mr. Reed here, getting ready to begin learning and working and playing with the K-5 students in Art Class!

I wish you a warm welcome back to school for those of you who are returning, and for those of you new to Y.I.S. and/or to Japan, I hope you are finding your way around well (please don’t hesitate to ask questions).

We’re soon to begin our ES art classes, to reacquaint ourselves with one another, to welcome our new classmates, and to dive right into our first art projects. As you know, the ES art classes follow the Primary Years Program (PYP) and are well integrated into the work the children are doing across their various classes and subjects. It’s an exciting place to learn and grow and push new boundaries.

I look forward to meeting you at the upcoming Back To School Night on Wednesday, September 10. Please do feel free to drop into my classroom — room E-203, upper floor, K-1 building — at anytime to ask questions or simply to say ‘hello’.

Best to you all in 2014-15,

Aaron Reed