Saturday, March 10, 2018

Architecture Collagraphs

This year my Grade 1 PYP classes had the opportunity to investigate the wonderful world of architecture during our How The World Works unit. For our tuning in activity, we started out by investigating and comparing different architectural designs, asking each other: What makes one design more interesting or original than another? They loved learning about the inspiring designs by famous architects like Gaudi, Hadid, and Pei. 

Grade 1 students then set off creating some building designs of their own in their sketchbooks. The crazier the design, the better! They picked their favorite building after a few sketches and developed their idea into a larger drawing. We then stretched our creativity even further by investigating printmaking! Grade 1 students experimented with a variety of materials to see what kinds of marks each material made when printed. Here are some sketchbook examples below:

Grade 1 students then chose which materials they thought made the most interesting marks and set off creating a collagraph of their favorite building design on cardboard. This process took a few lessons to complete, and the students loved gathering, cutting, and gluing their own materials independently. 

Once their architecture collagraph was complete, we began the printing process! Here are some of their imaginative building prints after they have been printed and colored. 

Relocation Collages

This collage unit was linked to Grade 2 students homeroom UOI under the theme of Where We Are In Place and Time. The students were investigating personal migrations or relocations based on the reasons why people migrate and the challenges, benefits, and feelings those types of reasons may cause.

In art classes, Grade 2 students learned about the artist Jacob Lawrence and his Great Migration Series. We discussed the artist's use of color and shape and how those choices can create a specific mood or feeling. The students then used their personal migration story to develop a design for a future art work while planning out their shapes and colors. Teaching at an international school where students come from many different countries lead to some interesting student discussions involving their personal journeys!

After the students had planned out their design from their story, they created their own painted paper through a variety of mark making techniques to use for these beautiful final collages.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Special Object Paintings

Check out our Visual Arts UOI Board! This helps us to remember and refer back to our current unit of inquiry and what we are focusing on throughout our learning journey.

Grade 3 students just finished their first art unit of the year and here is an example of their section of the board:

Transdisciplinary Theme: Who We Are

Central Idea:  Developing painting skills and understanding color allows us to create 3D forms.

Lines of Inquiry: How composition can effect an art work. How to create tints, tones, and shades. How to use a paintbrush to develop different painting techniques. How to develop an artwork.

Key Concepts: Form, Connection

Focus Artists: Jessica Brilli & Wayne Thiebaud

During the first part of the unit, Grade 3 students discovered contemporary artists Jessica Brilli and Wayne Theibaud. They compared their use of color, shadow, and discussed the special objects they like to paint.

The students then brainstormed personal personal objects that are special to them and brought one item from their list to class during the next art lesson.

They then photographed their special object with their choice of background color while incorporating shadows.

Grade 3 students also did a practice still life drawing of their special object in their sketchbooks while they waited for their photos to be printed!


Once their photographs were ready, the students set off on a painting journey! They worked very hard drawing large, mixing colors in order to create value, and adding details to give their special object form. Grade 3 students were extra careful to use a variety of brush sizes while practicing different painting techniques along the way. The final results of their finished canvases are absolutely stunning.

Elements of Art

Wow, it has been quite awhile since I have shared all the fun things we have been inquiring into during PYP art classes! I just finished up an absolutely wonderful unit with my Grade 1 students, and thought it would be the perfect way to start posting again! Here is what they have been learning about....

Transdisciplinary Theme: How We Express Ourselves

Central Idea: The elements of art are used to make artworks and allow artists to express themselves in different ways.

Lines of Inquiry: The elements of art are combined to create artworks. How artists use the elements of art to express themselves. 

Key Concepts: Form, Connection

Grade 1 students investigated each element of art individually through a variety of activities and art techniques including: painting color wheels and value scales, going on scavenger hunts, searching for texture rubbings, and creating line and form sculptures. Students also loved learning through related story books and fun videos while recording their findings in their sketchbooks along the way.

After they had experienced all seven elements, Grade 1 students observed and discussed kinetic sculptures called mobiles by artist Alexander Calder. They discovered that Calder's mobiles include all the art elements we had been discussing!

 The students then set out to design their own standing or hanging mobile with their choice of materials. They planned out how they would use all the art elements while designing in their sketchbooks.

 Through creative problem solving, students constructed their mobiles by carefully choosing materials that reflected their design plan. Every student ended up with a unique masterpiece that demonstrated an excellent understanding of the seven art elements!

As a PYP art educator, a goal I am working towards is opening up my units to allow for more student choice. I want my students to take ownership of their learning in an effort to make their art work more meaningful and authentic. Myself and my students loved this unit, we had a blast learning together through this creative process! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Large Scale Collaborative Backdrop

I am so proud of these students for tackling such an enormous project! We had a blast working on this (giant!) backdrop for the annual whole school music performance as part of our after school art club. 

The theme for this year's music performance was based on the book The Kapok Tree by Abigail Thomas. The students used the book for inspiration in order to start their design. They each chose which animals, plants, and rain forest flowers they would like to draw and set to work drawing and planning out their ideas. 

Each drawing was individually scanned and uploaded to PhotoShop so we could piece together the final image as a whole. (This was a very similar process to how another group of students took part in the Library Mural from a previous post) The students decided on the final scene below after copying, pasting, and rearranging their drawings on PhotoShop.  

Once the final scene was complete the image was projected onto large rolled canvas that I had previously cut and hung in the gym. The students then traced their original drawings on a larger scale. When the tracing was complete we laid out the canvas and started by painting the tree and background first. Details in the plants and animals were added last. 

This small group of students worked so hard, they even dedicated their lunch recess to come in to paint! Their enthusiasm, creativity, and effort was appreciated by all!