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 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.

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!

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.

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!

Young Artists Group ESA progresses with the new YIS mural

Last year, the ten young artists who participated in the Young Artists Group ESA completed a mural (a wall painting) on the side of the Inge Building, 2012-13’s effort to increase the on-campus art here at YIS. The goal of our group continues to be to use and showcase our creativity, skills, and knowledge to make Yokohama International School OUR school by adding something of ourselves to it — and to make everyone’s day here on campus a bit more interesting and enjoyable. YIS is not just a place where we come to learn; it’s also where we spend so much time with our friends, playing and talking and having fun. We want our murals to represent both ourselves as students and Japan, the country we all live in.

Our new mural is on the wall at the bottom of the outdoor stairway leading from the ES level up to the main building and library. There was already a mural there, and it used to look like this:

stairway wall mural original  - photo by A.Reed

stairway wall mural original – photo by A.Reed

It was made some years back by YIS students (a number of whom are still here at school!). The existing artwork had some simple colors — early green and brown with a light blue sky above — painted on the concrete wall by the YIS caretakers, as well as many colorful ceramic sculptures adhered to the wall to evoke a landscape. These clay sculptures were created by kindergarten students (many of whom are now in Grade 6!).

In our ESA, the young artists decided to incorporate these clay sculptures into their new landscape idea, and so the ceramic pieces have been left intact. But it was decided that a better background picture could be created — something more interesting and representative of Japan. And so last year part of our Session 3 ESA time was spent preparing the wall by painting it with a permanent white paint, being careful not to cover the existing sculptures. The other part of our ESA time together was spent addressing the big challenge before us: What new image will we paint on the wall?

new mural illustration - photo by A.Reed

new mural illustration – photo by A.Reed

Realizing that the wall is part of our entire school and is for the enjoyment of the entire school community (students, teachers, parents, staff, and our visitors) the young artists had many discussions about what would be appropriate to represent. We focused the mural as a landscape with Japan as a theme, including incorporating a traditional Japanese pattern, and then — after much brainstorming and back and forth — finally voted for the five most important ideas to represent in the mural: Mt. Fuji, sakura, shinkansen, ocean waves, and cats.

Last year’s artists produced two proposed illustrations of what the mural might look like (see this blog post for details) and submitted their ideas via videos to some of the YIS administrators. By the end of last year, the Young Artists Group had their feedback and completed the illustrated design for the new mural.

Now this year’s new Young Artists Group has drawn the illustration onto the wall (using a laborious but accurate grid system) and has begun painting the colors.  Stay tuned for more updates!

5th Graders communicate ideas about peace & conflict

Earlier in their homeroom classes, the 5th graders addressed the central idea that “conflict affects lives” 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 express each person’s understanding or belief about this theme.

Students chose two of three possible approaches — drawing, painting, collage — to communicating their particular belief or understanding about peace and conflict resolution. The students were also required to use text (words or sentences) in addition to imagery in their picture. Early on, students were instructed in ways of observing themselves in mirrors and depicting their faces by drawing, although the amount and type of drawing in this project is entirely up to each student (some chose to represent themselves realistically, others in an abstract manner, and others as a cartoon).

After completing their artworks, the students reflected on their ideas, their process, and their finished self-portraits, addressing the following prompts:

  • What are you communicating about peace and/or conflict in your drawing?
  • What are your symbols? What do they mean?
  • What did you learn by doing this project?
  • What could you have done better? What would you do differently if you could?

Grade 1 students create an environmental treasure

In their homeroom classes, the First Graders are studying the rights and responsibilities of people and living things — looking at how people have an impact on the environment. With Ms. Robidoux 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 upstairs hallway outside the classrooms. The first grade students are now embarking on the creation of large, three-dimensional paper sculptures of their favorite living creatures, and 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 who are practicing at home with this 3-step drawing process are encouraged to bring their drawing to Mr. Reed for discussion, suggestions, and “next step” ideas!

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, and the students 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 turning their large 2-dimensional drawings into 3-dimensional sculptures of each student’s favorite creature — using pencils, paper, paint, newspaper, and staples. 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. Soon, 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 then come visit and see these treasures.

Grade 5 students begin self-portraits

In their homeroom classes, the 5th graders have been addressing the central idea that “there are many ways to create peaceful solutions to conflict” by looking at: personal experiences with conflict and how each student manages situations of conflict and interpersonal problems. And so in art class, we are taking this opportunity to create self-portraits that express either each person’s experience with conflict or a his/her belief about some other conflict in the world.

At the beginning investigation stage, students were instructed in different ways of observing themselves in mirrors and depicting their faces by drawing, with a focus on observing and looking more at the subject (i.e. their faces) than at their paper/drawing.

Students then brainstormed some ideas by writing down thoughts and words and by sketching the images that come to mind when they think about ‘conflict’ and ‘peace’ and ‘solving problems’.

 

As they move to the planning stage, students each decide exactly what his/her goal is, what it is he/she wants to communicate about conflict or peace. Then they begin to consider the composition of their self-portrait: where will the different elements (such as their own face) be places on their paper? Where and what kind of other images, colors, and words be created?

Students will incorporate both drawing (pencil) and collage (magazines primarily) to represent their own faces and to communicate their particular belief or understanding about peace and conflict resolution. And they will have to incorporate some type(s) of symbols — images, colors, facial expression, lines, for example — to help communicate their ideas. The students are also required to use text (words or sentences) in addition to imagery in their picture.

Currently, students are finishing up their plans and beginning to draw, paint, and collage their final version of their self-portraits.

Young Artists Group ESA propose a new mural for Y.I.S.

After finishing their first mural (check it out here), the ten young artists who participate in the Young Artists Group ESA began preparing for their next visual adventure, another effort to increase the on-campus art here at YIS.  The chosen space is the wall at the bottom of the outdoor stairway leading from the ES level up to the main building and library.

It should be noted that there has been an existing mural on the wall which was made some years back by YIS students (a number of whom are still here at school!). The existing artwork had some simple colors — early green and brown with a light blue sky above — painted on the concrete wall, as well as many colorful ceramic sculptures adhered to the wall to evoke a landscape.

The young artists decided to incorporate these clay sculptures into their new landscape idea, and so the ceramic pieces have been left intact. But what was needed was to start fresh with a so-called clean slate (or at least, a white concrete wall). And so part of our Session 3 ESA time was spend painting the wall with a permanent white paint, being careful not to cover the existing sculptures. The other part of our ESA time together was spent addressing the big challenge before us: What new image will we paint on the wall?

Realizing that the wall is part of our entire school and is for the enjoyment of the entire school community (students, teachers, parents, staff, and our visitors) the young artists had many discussions about what would be appropriate to represent. We focused the mural as a landscape with Japan as a theme, including incorporating a traditional Japanese pattern, and then — after much brainstorming and back and forth — finally voted for the five most important ideas to represent in the mural: Mt. Fuji, sakura, shinkansen, ocean waves, and cats & kittens.

The artists split themselves into two groups, and each produced a proposed illustration of what the mural might look like. Each group then created their own presentation, rehearsed it, and filmed it. The presentations and illustrations have been submitted to our director, Mr. MacDonald, along with all the principals and head administrators, and we are now awaiting their feedback.

You will have to wait until next year to see the outcome and watch the mural develop. In the meantime, above are some pictures of the young artists at work along with each group’s proposed illustration and their video presentations (see above).