Grade 1’s living creature sculptures NOW ON DISPLAY!

In their homeroom classes, the Grade 1 students are studies the rights and responsibilities of people and living things — looking at how people have an impact on the environment. And the students finished their large 3-dimensional sculptures of each student’s favorite creature — using pencils, paper, paint, staples, foam, toothpicks, buttons, pipe cleaners and various other media — in art class. Over these weeks the young Grade 1 artists have been learning to express their opinions about art and to engage with and to enjoy a variety of visual art experiences.

Now that all the sculptures are complete and the students have had a chance to reflect upon their work, the 1st grade hallway has been turned into our imaginary natural environment, filled with these “treasures”: animals, fish, bird, and insects. The students hope you will come visit their 3D art exhibition soon!

Grade 3 plans, constructs, and creates a performance

Grade 3 students (and their teachers) have been collaborating intensively for several weeks with a focus on the central idea that performance engages an audience and invites a response.

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 and as a whole class to discuss, plan, and build the primary props, set pieces, and backdrop imagery 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, as well as for planning how to get their materials to the auditorium for the day of the play.

Two plays — one by 3L and another by 3M — were presented in December before the Winter Break, to great acclaim and applause. Congratulations, Grade 3 artists and designers, 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!

Grade 1 students create environmental treasures

In their homeroom classes, the Grade 1 students are studying the rights and responsibilities of people and living things — looking at how people have an impact on the environment. With Ms. Zoe and Ms. Saito the students are discussing and considering our natural environment as well as the impact of the choices people make on that environment. And so in art class we have learned about sculpting and drawing living things (animals, insects, fish, birds, and so on) so as to transform to our downstairs hallway outside their Grade 1 classrooms. The students began by drawing various living creatures from observation (photographs) and of late have been constructing large, three-dimensional paper sculptures of their favorite living creatures. It is these sculptures — these treasures — which will fill the hallway.

The following video shows the process the 1st graders — and all ES students — use to become proficient at drawing what they see.  Limited to 10 minutes, the video is a basic overview and does not cover all the finer points of observational drawing. Students can use this video to practice drawing at home.

how to draw what you see from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

We’ve also read the book The Butterfly’s Treasure (by Schim Schimmel), observing the realistic illustrations and following the old monarch butterfly’s journey around the world as he discovers a particular treasure that exists here on earth. The students have had a variety of reactions to what the butterfly saw on his flight to different parts of the earth. We also had an opportunity to look at photographs of various living things and of the environments that they live in. The students thus had the chance to observe and comment on how human beings can affect the natural environment and why they do so.

The Butterfly’s Treasure storybook cover by this blogger Aaron Reed – you are free to copy, distribute, transmit, and adapt the work

Currently, the students are in the process of finishing their large 3-dimensional sculptures of each student’s favorite creature — using pencils, paper, paint, staples, foam, toothpicks, buttons, pipe cleaners and various other media. Over these weeks the young Grade 1 artists have been learning to express their opinions about art and to engage with and to enjoy a variety of visual art experiences.

Once all the sculptures are complete and the students have had a chance to reflect upon their work, we will turn the 1st grade hallway into our imaginary natural environment, filled with “treasures”: animals, fish, bird, and insects. The students hope you will come visit.

The kindergarten artists identify themselves visually

The kindergarten art students have begun the year with a focus on themselves — as learners and as creators! It is part of their current unit in which they focus on the central idea that “personal journeys show the way that people change and can lead to new opportunities.”

Falling under the transdisciplinary theme Where We Are In Place And Time, the kindergarteners begin by constructing self-portraits in the form — not of faces but — of crowns. We’ve discussed what kind of creative work the children did last year in ELC and about the new artwork they will create this year in kindergarten. Students are being challenged to turn a long piece of white paper into a 3-dimensional crown and to transform it into something that represents themselves, their interests, their abilities. At the same time, the crown is a physical space on and with which the children can explore and experiment. Additionally, learning about this new art studio environment — the many different materials and tools, where they are stored, how we work together to make and to clean up our projects — is a big part of this early part of the new school year.

Kindergarten crowns in-progress

The learning objectives of the unit have the children strive to enjoy experiencing artworks, to show curiosity and ask questions about artworks, and to realize that their artwork has meaning. As young artists, we are focused on the notion that artistic development reflects people’s personal histories and is a dynamic creative process. Much of our time thus far has been spent talking about the children’s own experiences thus far in creating artwork and projects (at home, in ELC, with Ms. Brown or Ms. May), reading and discussing storybooks and illustrations, and exploring a wide variety of skills, processes, materials, and tools.

Already, the similarities, differences, preferences, strengths, and unique qualities of the kindergarten students are becoming evident in this first visual art project of 2014-15.

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 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.

Kindergarten artists explore materials, processes, and passions

Our initial central idea in kindergarten this year is that “personal journeys show the way that people change and can lead to new opportunities.” Another of our central ideas is that “materials can be manipulated to suit a purpose”. In art class over the past few weeks, we have been addressing both of these notions as the children have expressed their desires in how to progress with their work.

So, in art class, we’re addressing both ideas across a few different projects: paper crowns, plasticine sculptures, and masks.

We’re taking the time to:

1. to look at, question, enjoy experiencing, discuss the various types of three-dimensional works made by other artists (looking at pictures, watching videos, and examining others’ artworks);

2. to identify the materials and processes other artists use in the creation of their artworks;

3. to realize that our artwork has meaning;

4. to experiment with some different materials that can be used to create artwork (recently, we looked at, touched with our hands, and then used: paper, felt, burlap, paper straws, ribbon, wire, pipe cleaners, foam, string, uncooked pasta, scissors, glue, tape, staplers, hole punches, colored pencils, watercolor paints, markers, and pastels.

5. to explore the various processes that artists can employ with these materials and tools to create what they envision and to discover new ideas.

Through this exploration and by making decisions for themselves, the young students are creating original 3-D artworks — crowns of widely different designs, sculptures of people, animals, fictional characters, and various objects of interest to the children, and masks (an idea thought up by Ms. Zoe’s class with a very specific purpose, but don’t tell Ms. Zoe because it’s a surprise).

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!

Third Grade confronts limitations and glue guns

The 3rd graders began the school year in art class by working in three-dimensions, learning to manipulate two-dimensional pieces of paper to create 3D sculptures independently and, next, working collaboratively to construct new sculptures — developed from a detailed plan, larger, made of a variety of materials, and containing personal symbolism to represent themselves and the Third Grade as a whole.

After a long break to work two dimensionally on developing original comic strips (see earlier Grade 3 post), the Third Graders are back working in three dimensions. But this time, rather than create a plan first and then deciding on the materials after, this time the students were presented with a limited type and amount of materials (primarily scrap wood pieces but also including — if they wished also to incorporate some or all — wire, string, fabric, paper, and paint). And in working with and playing with — and sometimes building, breaking apart, and reconstructing — these materials, the students created original sculptures in a different manner than previously. Some students chose to create realistic things (a restaurant, a boat, a video game), others made abstract sculptures, and some built highly imaginary, partly realistic, partly abstract creations.

See the young artists at work (below) and hear their critiques of their artworks on the Twitter feed to the right (look for the artists’ first names):