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

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 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.

The 2014 YAMATE ART EXHIBITION

The annual Yamate Art Exhibition has begun!

The exhibition runs from Friday February 14 to Monday February 24 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 24.

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 86 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!

3rd Grade creates play props

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 a few short weeks to discuss, plan, and build the primary (most important) props for their plays. 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.

Some images of the students at work here… with more to come!

Typhoon 18 & Art

Hi boys & girls,

Because of the typhoon, some of you (1S, KB, 3L, 5B, 4N, plus the Young Artists Group ESA students) will be missing your art class today. I’m certainly sorry about that!

If you’re interested in doing some art today, check the Online Art Resources up at the top of this page — let me know which ones you like or don’t like.

Stay inside and safe today, but don’t forget to look out the window too and see how the environment around you — the sky, trees, land, plants — looks different during a big storm such as this. And listen to the sounds! Did you ever try to draw a sound? An artist named Arthur Dove tried to paint sounds! Look at his painting below and try to guess what sound this is (you can write a comment below if you have an answer):

This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

See you soon,

Mr. Reed

First week of Art Class in 2013-14

The beginning week of school is behind us, and most of the ES students have come to the art studio for the first time. Kindergarten and Grade 1 will have their first class starting in Week 2, although some of the kindergarten students were kind enough to come upstairs to meet Mr. Reed and to see their new art studio.

Grades 2 – 5 enjoyed the incredible picture book ‘Chalk’ (see it in the YIS Library!) and then each had a warm-up art activity to get their brains and eyes and hands ready for the upcoming Unit 1 projects. Grade 2 worked with plasticine (playdough) in anticipation of their ‘Where We Are In Place And Time’ clay portrait project. Grade 3 were challenged to create paper sculptures as they prepare for their ‘Who We Are’ 3-D sculptural project. Grade 4 played with abstract designs in creating patterns as they look forward to their ‘Where We Are In Place And Time’ wearable fabric project. And Grade 5 drew two self-portraits (one with a mirror and one without) in preparation for their ‘Sharing The Planet’ project on conflict resolution.

You can see some of the children at work here over the past several days:

Drawing during vacation?!?!

I know that some students love drawing. Some of you love drawing after school, over the weekends, and on vacations. If you plan to do some drawing during the summer and want to practice your observational drawing (meaning that you want to learn to draw real things more realistically), then watch the following two videos.

This short instructional video reviews the basic steps to drawing realistically from observation (this mean: by looking closely at the thing you’re trying to draw):
1. FIRST, DRAW THE SIMPLE SHAPES AND LINES
2. THEN, REFINE YOUR SHAPES AND LINES
3. FINALLY, ADD DETAILS LAST
*And always draw very LIGHTLY at first, so you can erase those lines easily later on.

The second video is a bit longer, reviews the same ideas, but goes into a bit more depth:

The key thing is to look closely at the different types of lines and shapes you see on the thing you’re drawing.
Remember: lines can be STRAIGHT, CURVED, BENT, ZIG-ZAG, CURLY, WAVY, THIN, THICK, SHORT, LONG, DOTTED, DASHED, and more.
Remember: shapes can be CIRCLES, OVALS, SQUARES, RECTANGLES, TRIANGLES, OBLONG, THIN, WIDE, ORGANIC, GEOMETRIC, DIAMONDS, PENTAGONS, HEXAGONS, OCTAGONS, STARS, and more.

Don’t forget to have your eraser by your side. Erasing is important! It means that you’ve noticed something about your drawing that you can do better! So just erase your first effort and try again.

“If you are not making mistakes, you’re not taking enough risks.” – Debbie Millman, artist & designer

 

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Third Graders verbally critique their latest projects

As you may have read and seen in a recent blog post (click here if you missed it), the 3rd graders have just finished constructing their latest sculptures. This week the students are spending time in art class critiquing — describing, analyzing, interpreting, and judging — their artworks.

Check the Twitter feed in the righthand column of this blog (where it says “THE LATEST TWEETS!”) and click next to any Third Grade student’s name: you’ll automatically be taken to a new window where you can see the child’s sculpture and — by clicking the PLAY button — hear each young artist critique their work.

Congratulations to the students on a project well done and well critiqued!