Grades 1-5 Art

Category: Art Element: Color (Page 1 of 2)

Third Grade: HWEO Exploring Culture Through Art

(Note: YouTube Video/Audio may be more accessible via PC or Laptop)

Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context: Relate: Relate artistic ideas with Societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding. (National Core Art Standards) PYP Phase 2 Responding: Investigate the purposes of artwork from different times, places and a range of cultures including their own

Both in their home room class, and art, Third Grade have begun the transdisciplinary unit of Inquiry: How We Express Ourselves. This means we address the same Key Concepts of Connection and Perspective, through the Central idea that ‘Through examining the arts, people gain insight into culture’. 

Considering questions such as “What is culture? How is culture expressed through the arts? What are some expressions of culture? And how does art help us understand the lives of people of different times, places and cultures (National Core Art Standards), and in addition to exposure to a variety of cultural reflections through the arts in their homeroom, art students have begun to specifically observe Australian Aboriginal Dot Paintings. Discussions around the meaning of ‘The Dreamtime’ lead to some wonderful and respectful listening to, and speaking about, various third grade multicultural theories/perspectives, about the beginning of time and creation.

To assist immediate engagement, students have been provided the opportunity to simply practise the very enjoyable activity of creating dot marks, while observing details in some Australian Aboriginal art works. While doing so, students have been exposed to music of the Didgeridoo, and listened to Dreamtime Stories such as Ka-ro-ra (an Aboriginal Creation Myth) The Rainbow Serpent, Tiddalik the Frog, How the Kangaroos Got their Tails, and How the Birds got their Colors.

As we move into the next stage of the unit, students are beginning to notice a common thread of symbols within the works and questions are starting to emerge regards their meaning, and ways in which they might help us to understand stories, beliefs and/or lifestyles.

For now, I leave you with a video of our first two lessons, and examples of some beautiful exploratory work happening in the art room. Enjoy!


Fourth Grade: How We Express Ourselves

(Note; The Youtube video in this post may be more accessible via laptop or PC)

Fourth Grade artists have been working through a six week unit in art which is integrated with their classroom’s Unit of Inquiry. This means that the students focus on the same Central Idea, as they have in class, but through the lens of an artist. The art form, this semester has been painting. Students have applied critical, creative and procedural thinking (Learner Profile Thinker) to investigate and apply rules of composition which are specifically incorporated to draw attention of the viewer, and influence thinking/communicate an idea: Specifically in this case, to create a feeling or emotion through use subject matter, and art elements/principles of emphasis and color.

A large focus of this unit is the importance of gathering feedback for the purpose of reflection/evaluation and identification of ‘next steps’.  Students have shared ideas and gathered feedback as a means to continue to self evaluate their effectiveness as a communicator through art. In the new year, at Student Led Conferences, we will have an ‘Exhibition of Moods’ in the South Cafeteria where all student work is shown. Here, the students would like to invite the school community to guess the mood/feeling of their work. The results of this will help them to evaluate their effectiveness as a communicator. It was fun to see students trying to remain true to their ‘secret’ during Parent Conferences last week. The secret being the mood/feeling they are working on communicating. For those of you who already know, please help to keep the secret!

On Friday, some Fourth Grade students will present at assembly to explain their learning journey to their Fifth and Fourth Grade audience. The video below has been created for the assembly. Below, also a small gallery of some art works by Fourth Grade artists (please note that some still need further work).



Second Grade: The Language of Art & Self Talk

Note: Videos and Audio in this post maybe be more easily accessed via laptop or PC

Thank you for signing up to our Grades 1-5 Art Blog. We hope that the first few weeks have run smoothly for you and that you are feeling settled. The first couple of weeks for students, is all about establishing routines and finding our comfort level in the art room. With this in place, we have begun our first unit of the year which focuses on the PYP Transdisciplinary Theme of ‘How We Express Ourselves’ and the Central Idea “Artists use their creativity in many different ways to express feelings and ideas”, and more specifically, the Line of Inquiry ‘Artistic inspiration and creativity are connected to personal experiences’. 

This year’s blog starts with a short video clip, giving you a sneak peak into a Second Grade Art Class. Art Class can be loud at times, and for this reason, I am often pleased that we are situated away from other classrooms. There will be times devoted to creative thinking, where silence is required and there are other times when noise is encouraged, in a productive way of course. Young children naturally self talk as they play and work through tasks. We have started the year with clearly pointing out the importance of making use of art specific vocabulary whilst talking about our work. We are slowly building word lists, which students will be increasingly encouraged to apply both in writing and speaking, during critique, analysis, reflection and evaluation. Self talk helps us to internalise the process we are experiencing, and solve ‘problems’ both independently, and together. It is also normal at the start of the year to hear comments such as “Mine’s bad” or “Yours is better than mine” and we are working towards helping students to make use of positive self talk as a means of developing a growth mindset.

Some of the vocabulary introduced may seem advanced. However, in general second graders are perfectly capable of learning and using them, even if they cannot spell them! Art words introduced in the last couple of weeks: Hundertwasser, Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Analogous colors, Line, Shape, Space, Repetition, variety and brush stroke. Color words also include blue-violet, red-violet for example.

(Images borrowed from: and Pixabay)

Second Grade have been observing the work of Austrian artists Friedensreich Hundertwasser (Slides) and discussing his use of art elements in both his architectural designs and paintings. Through this, and specific (whole class) analysis of his work ‘Lollipop Trees’, students have been practising the skill of controlling their brush and paint while mixing primary colors to make secondary and a variety of tertiary. Eg. Red + Yellow = Orange. Yellow + Orange = Yellow Orange, while independently mimicking the style of Hundertwasser’s lollipop trees. This knowledge, and these skills have been further applied to a group work, incorporating some inspiration gained from observing Van Gogh’s Starry Night, noting his thick brush strokes and use of line and movement in particular, to create a forest themed landscape as a final work. 

(Image borrowed from

Art lessons to date have focused on use of vocabulary, positive self talk, color mixing with paint and appropriate use of materials and tools (investigation, exploration, skills). The creative element of the art process shall be our next step as students think on a more independent level, and plan out a relief work in the medium of clay.  Please enjoy these photos from the last couple of weeks.

First Grade: Finished Product, Eric Carle Painted Paper Collages

Please see previous posts to understand how we arrived here! Our final product; Painted Paper Collage Gallery


Third Grade: Drawing: Generation of ideas and Create

It has been a while since the last Third Grade blog post. In fact Third Grade students completed their art time a week before the holiday, so at last an update! The unit which took place August to October focused on building awareness of the elements of art and principles of design, in particular use of color. New to most Third Grade students, were the terms ‘analogous and complementary colors’. Also new to many, was the opportunity to explore and learn to control the medium of soft pastel, which can be a very messy business. Classroom and self clean up was as much a part of the lesson, as the artwork itself, and a reminder to consider not wearing our absolute best attire on art day.

Another major focus of this unit has been to critique and analyse art works. Students were involved in specifically viewing the work of Surrealist artist Marc Chagall, who was particularly known for his vibrant use of color, and also personal connection to his art work. Through this, surreal (and dreamlike) characteristics in his artwork were identified. To list a few: Strange landscapes or skies, floating or flying, and sometimes disproportionate, objects, people, or animals, and unexpected use of color.

Students were asked to ‘Think Creatively’ and plan various possible ideas for a ‘dreamlike’ artwork. Picture prompts, and observing the work of their peers, assisted with generation of ideas. For some, it was a challenge to step away from the idea of cartooning, and grasp a clearer understanding of the importance of compositional arrangement. Some also needed reminders of the visual characteristics of surrealism before arriving at a final realisation. The process of coming to a final conclusion by gathering feedback from others, changing the mind, and trying new things accordingly, is as important (if not more important at this stage) as the final product.

To end, students had 2-3 lessons to create their dreamlike art work according to their plan, inclusive of knowledgeable application of color theory. Unfortunately time ran out for some and they were unable to complete their work to it’s full extent. We shall possibly return to it in December. Some students also lost sight of their original plan, due to the sheer thrill of soft pastel freedom! What has been most important has been the students contribution to critique, analysis, and interpretation,  his/her ability to stay focused on intentional exploration of color and soft pastel, and his/her ability to apply new knowledge to his/her work.

We look forward to welcoming Grade Three back to the art room in early December.


Third Grade: The Language of Art

Since our last blog post, students have been involved in a number of explorative learning experiences which emphasise the artist’s knowledge and intentional application of the Elements of Art, Principles of Design and the language/words associated with these. The video (previous post) Kingdom of Colors, allowed students to tune into the idea that specific choice of color combinations can create a greater aesthetic. Students began by working on an exploration of combining colors with use of soft pastel. Which colors blend nicely? Which do not? And discovered that some, placed side by side, create greater contrast. A color wheel was introduced and students began to identify analogous and complementary color groups.

With this, each student began and individual paper collage with set criteria, that when placed together, the work as a whole would create a sense of unity. All students were to apply the elements and principles of analogous color combinations, straight (as opposed to curved/wavy) lines, and geometric (as opposed to organic) shapes. Students could then bring individual style through choosing to incorporate repetition, balance, contrast, texture and the technique of layering. As a ‘start of school year’ activity, this allowed students to recognise the wide range of creativity among us. Same task, different outcomes.

Further color study

Motivated by discussions of unity and color application found in Van Gogh’s sunflowers, students have used color wheels, when trying some exploratory learning experiences in blending analogous colors with crayon, and applying complementary colors to create contrast.

Observing the work of other artists

With new language increasingly acquired, this week students have started practising skills in critique and analysis through observing the work of artists who are known for their use of color, and specifically Marc Chagall. Upon observation as a whole class, some students made immediate personal connections with it’s content, and called upon new language to explain/describe composition. This is a big leap for Third Grade. As students begin to understand the process of critiquing (Describe, interpret, analyse, evaluate), they have simply started by looking. Through games, students are currently answering the simple questions “what can you see?” and “what more can you see?” quickly learning the difference between ‘seeing’ and ‘interpretation’, and coming to the realisation that interpretation can be unique to the individual observer. All of the above investigations will now lead to a final studio work, which will require a little imagination, with thoughtful application of basic compositional knowledge.

(Image borrowed from:


Second Grade: Painting – Lollipop Trees

The Second Grade Painting ‘Lollipop Trees’ is complete and ready for viewing near to the Elementary Office. All students have contributed to this work by adding their personal touch to the Van Gogh & Hundertwasser inspired background: artists who found innovative ways to express ideas through line, shape, color and repetition in particular. All students individually created the circular section of a lollipop tree, though not all have completed this work. We hope to find some time for ‘catch up’. To create this work students have used only primary colors to create their own gradations of secondary colors. This work focused on color theory and skills practise only. Students are now working on making more personal connections through creativity, in the medium of clay.

Third Grade: Welcome back to school!

It is now September! Hopefully it is not too late to say, welcome back to school! We hope you had a great holiday and are excited to be working with you this new school year, 2017-18. Please take a moment to subscribe to the Third Grade Art Blog, in order to receive email notifications of class updates. Simply enter your email in the box provided, to the right of this page. Also for details regards the nature of our program, please click on the tab above, named ‘Visual Arts Curriculum’

Third Grade have spent the first few lessons settling into art room routines and working through a number of learning experiences which highlight the artist’s use of The Elements of Art, and Principles of design. Becoming familiar with the use of art vocabulary has been key, with a specific focus on color theory. More detailed news will soon follow. For now, please enjoy this mesmerising video clip which has been used to help students ‘tune in’ to the subject of aesthetics and color theory. (Thomas Blanchard and Olihack)



Second Grade: Painting

(Images borrowed from: and Pixabay)

Second Grade students have been busy bees in the art room. They have begun by observing the vibrant work of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser (Slides) and discussing his use of the art (and design) elements, line, color, shape, repetition and pattern in both his architectural designs and paintings. Through this, and specific analysis of his ‘lollipop trees’, students have practised basic mixing of primary colors to create secondary (ie. Red + Yellow = Orange) and focusing more so, on varying ratios of color, in order to create tertiary colors (ranges of yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, yellow-green and blue-green). Students have worked independently, practising the skills of color mixing and brush control while mimicking the style of Hundertwasser lollipop trees and further applied these to a large group work – a basic forest landscape with Van Gogh inspired skies (currently still in progress) Art lessons to date have involved investigation, exploration and skills practise only. The creative element of the art process shall be our next step through drawing and possibly a relief work in medium of clay. Please enjoy these photos from the last couple of weeks.

Fourth Grade – End of Year

The majority of students have completed their work and will bring it home soon. Please take a moment to discuss the work with your child. It is important that the work is valued beyond the aesthetic. Through this work, your child has demonstrated commitment, perseverance and patience over a number of weeks. Ask your child to explain the entire process to you. From the moment, he/she first began to notice the shape of the negative space within a simple houseplant, to creating his/her own view finder to zoom in on one area. To the moment he/she was required to use skills from mathematics to ‘grid up’ and enlarge the image. It is likely that your child will find greatest enthusiasm in discussing his/her use of the color wheel with you. Ask him/her about the warm versus cool colors. Students have observed that the warmer colors create an impression of coming forward, whereas cooler ones tend to stand back, therefore giving a sense of depth and space. Ask “what special effect do the cooler colors have, against the warmer ones?” Ask him/her, how long did it take? How did you blend the analogous colors? How did you know where to place the cooler colors (complementary and contrasting colors) Ask him/her to evaluate “Are you pleased with your work? Why? What is good about it? What did not work so well?” Ask your child about challenges met, and the solutions he/she found. Remind him/her of the outdoor learning experience in the forest, when he/she identified lines, shapes and spaces in the trees, and ask, what is the connection with this final work?” Have your child take pride in his/her work. Take a photo and send it to Grandparents. Place it in a prominent place in your home. And throughout the summer, provide your child continued exposure to the arts and creativity. Expose him/her to the work of others through galleries and museums. Connection is the key. We are now ready and excited for Fifth Grade. Enjoy your summer with family and friends, and safe travels to all.

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