(This post contains a link to a Student Seesaw Post and a Youtube Video. In order to listen to/watch the post, it may be better to view from a PC or Laptop)

For the second time this year, Fourth Grade are involved in a Transdisciplinary Unit. This means that in art we are addressing the same theme and concept, which they have previously, in class. The PYP Unit of Inquiry was, and is in Art now, ‘Who We Are’. The PYP Transdisciplinary Theme of ‘Who We Are’ addresses questions about culture, beliefs and values. Following on from their home classroom UOI, students are continuing to develop an understanding of the Central Idea: Beliefs and Values contribute to identity and an understanding of diversity, with the key concept of Perspective (What are the points of view? Different ways of looking, interpretation and understanding).

In art class, we are approaching our own Line of Inquiry: People of all cultures use creativity to tell stories about their beliefs and values. 

Tuning in to a Mask Making Unit

(Image borrowed from mapio.net)

There is nothing better than a primary source to spur curiosity and generate questions. Students have tuned into the central idea, concepts and line of inquiry by observing two masks originating from the island of Bali, Indonesia, and using a secondary source (Youtube) to gain a sense of the masks in action, and the sounds of Gamelan and environment surrounding them. With much excitement, many questions arose, around who they are, where they are from, what are they for, how were they made? Students have been exposed to the story of Barong and Rangda at a very basic level (as to some they may appear frightening!), concluding that they portray the Hindu belief/value in balance. With the knowledge that one character is good, and one evil, students practiced their Thinking Skills by observing and describing the visual characteristics of the mask, paying close attention to the craftsmanship, and point of view as an artist: “how did the artist use the elements of art and principles of design to express the character of these mythical characters?” In addition to this, they have been exposed to images of masks from a variety of other cultures for critique and analysis. Selecting one by choice, students should have uploaded their thoughts to Seesaw. Please click on the link below for examples by Emily 4MA and Laura 4BE.

Ivan 4MS Analysis of Indonesian Mask Rangda

Laura 4BE Analysis of Venetian Mask

The Creative Process – Developing Skills & Create

Usually, we would spend time, planning for a mask of our own (designing), and one which may express our own values/beliefs. However, as this was a focus of our last unit (many lessons were spent generating ideas for a painting) this trimester we have skipped directly to developing skills and creating, as we do need the extra time for ‘making’. So, this time, students are diving in! This is  spontaneous creativity! Most have ideas in their minds, but have not been required to share this yet (Reflection/Evaluation to come later). During this part of the process, students are developing skills by changing the shape and building on a basic form by use of cut out cardboard pieces, and the creation of 2D and 3D shapes, to add to the original form using a variety of attachment techniques (This is not easy). Good organisational skills have also been the key to success.

Having created a strong foundation, they have been learning to use paper and paste to form one piece. Again, very challenging for many, and a lot of  fun, for all. The focus so far, has been on the art elements of shape and form. Watch this space for the introduction of color.