Kindergarten’s artistic journey has begun

photo: A. Reed

In our first unit of inquiry, the Kindergarten students have been looking at the concept of Change and how personal journeys show the way that people change and can lead to new opportunities. We are looking at how our artwork changes and grows over time, from ELC last year, to Kindergarten this year, and on to Grade 1 next year.

In the artistic journey that these young artists have begun, they have

  • drawn & painted their own self-portraits from observation
  • observed and discussed different artists’ self-portraits
  • experimented with a variety of lines, shapes, colors, tools, materials, and processes in creating personal 3-D crowns
  • begun making choices about artworks based on personal preferences and interests.

We aim to enjoy experiencing artworks, to show curiosity and ask questions about them, and to realize that our artwork has meaning.

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 artwork properly and cleaning up our workspaces.

Grade 3: Can Comic Strips Save The Environment?

In their homeroom classes, Grade 3 students focused on the environment in Unit 4, learning about some critical global & local issues by focusing on the central idea that the choices people make as they buy and consume things can lead to the creation of waste. And so in art class, we extended that idea into the visual world, looking at how artists combine images and text to convey understandings and beliefs about important societal issues through the key concept of responsibility.

photo © by A.Reed

photo © by A.Reed

Having examined the comic strips and graphic novels of a variety of artists, the students began by sketching characters and drawing styles which are appealing to them. Later they identified a theme or aspect of the unit — waste, litter, recycling, reusing, and so on — which each student found important from his or her work in the homeroom class. From there, students created a simple plot, original characters, and decided what genre of comic strip they would try to create: humor, adventure, mystery, scary, science fiction, or romance.

photo © by A.Reed

photo © by A.Reed

After making rough drafts, students moved on to the final draft, incorporating the drawing process (1. simple shapes & lines, 2. refine the shapes, 3. add the details), text (with speech-bubbles and thought-bubbles), black ink, and color, along with the concept of balance. Lastly, each young artist created a name for his/her new comic strip, labeling it at the top of their creations in whatever font or style they choose.

The students’ finished comic strips are now being exhibited in the stairwell of the K-1 building, along with their original notes of their plans. Throughout the unit, students focused on using appropriate terminology to discuss artwork and on creating an artwork for a specific audience, all while looking at the role of the artist as a contributing member of society.

photo © by A.Reed

photo © by A.Reed

Grade 4 graphic designers create campaign posters

The Grade 4 students 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.

Have a look at the students at work:

This year our Grade 4 graphic designers relied on both traditional tools (pencil & paper) and contemporary tools (laptops & digital apps) to help them to create their posters. Student had the choice of using their own drawings, photos they took themselves, and/or photos found with Creative Commons or other appropriate search tools. Creating and combining text & imagery with Google Drawing, the students were able to work collaboratively to achieve varied levels of successful visual communication through good contrast, unity, balance, and interesting imagery.

Both the students’ rough draft designs and their final version were shared with their peers globally on the website Creatubbles, where students both at YIS and in other schools worldwide could view and comments on their graphic design work. Our Grade 4 students used some of the constructive feedback to help them improve their visual communication. See the students’ work in these two galleries (you’ll need to join Creatubbles first, but it’s easy and free to do so): Gr.4 Rough Draft Posters and Gr.4 Final Posters.

The students’ final posters have been printed in color and being exhibited in the stairwell display area in the K-1 building. 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.

Grade 4 graphic designers create 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.

Have a look at the students at work:

Students did not rely on digital tools to help them to create their final posters. Instead the boys & girls made their posters in a more “traditional” manner: by hand, using pencils, rulers, paper, colored pencils, and/or markers. Both the students’ rough draft designs and their final version were shared with their peers globally on the website Creatubbles, where students both at YIS and in other schools worldwide could view and comments on their graphic design work. Our Grade 4 students used some of the constructive feedback to help them improve their visual communication. See the students’ work in the Grade 4 Art+Media Gallery (you’ll need to join Creatubbles first, but it’s easy and free to do so).

You may also view the results here — the campaign posters created by these young graphic designers:

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.

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 4 artists use organisms to spur their imaginations

In their homeroom classes, the Grade 4 students have been studying organisms and cultivating their garden. They have been focused on the central idea that “organisms rely on one another” while in art class we’ve been engaged in the visual art inquiry into how “the natural world is a rich source for imaginative artistic creation”.

Photo: A. Reed

Photo: A. Reed

Students began their two-part drawing project by, first, focusing on organisms (in this case, plants) and on the realistic depiction of them through close observation. We looked at how we focus first on the simple shapes and lines found in the plants’ leaves and stems; then, how we refine the shapes and lines into something more closely approaching the actual plants; and finally, how we add the many small details which brings the image to its realistic conclusion.

Photo: A. Reed

Photo: A. Reed

Then the students moved on to the second stage of the project. Having left areas of their paper blank, these young artists then had to tap into their imagination — considering the plant drawing they’d just finished in color — and continue the drawing by depicting some imaginary, fantastical imagery. We discussed how artists do this: sometimes by thinking of their own interests and drawing those (animals, movie characters, patterns, particular colors); sometimes by closing their eyes and letting their minds wander; sometimes by looking around and noticing pictures or words in their immediate environment, one of which might spur a memory or thought or other image. We made available an “imagination box” just in case — a small box with printed words inside of it (“space”, “machine”, “food”, “cartoon”) that might help students tap into their own imaginations.

Photo: A. Reed

Photo: A. Reed

In the end, the Grade 4 artists had the opportunity to practice different approaches to drawing — via observation and imagination — in the creation of original artworks begun in the natural world and ended in the world of their own imaginations.

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!

 

Grade 2: How to bind your storybook

Grade 2 students who have completed their storybook illustrations and attached their text are ready for the final step: BOOKBINDING

These videos, below, will instruct you how to bind your books. There are 3 sections:
1. Prepare: how to prepare your pages to be bound properly.
2. Holes: how to make the holes in the spine of the book so that you can thread the holes.
3. Thread: this video is actually two video, Part 1 and Part 2
Part 1: how to thread your needle and begin the binding process
Part 2: how to complete the binding process and add glue for extra strength

***Always work slowly and carefully. The awl and the needle are sharp and should be treated with care. Always keep the needle in an eraser so that you don’t lose it. And keep all materials in their bag or box for safekeeping.

***Always tell your teacher when you begin to do your binding. At some steps you will need your teacher’s help.

***Stop the video whenever you are unsure of the next step. Ask your teacher for help if you are confused.

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3, Part 1

Video 3, Part 2

2nd Graders near completion of their illustrated storybooks

After many weeks of work writing and editing their stories in their homeroom classes and illustrating in art class, the Second Graders near completion of their personal 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 have been focusing 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 observe and discuss that there is a relationship between the pictures and words on a single page. They also observe and come to understand that the illustrations can be greatly varied yet need enough detail to show the action, the important events of the story. Many students are now binding their books: some with staples, some with glue, others with needle and thread.

Here are some images of these young author-illustrators at work: