Grades 1-5 Art

Category: Art Element: Form

Third Grade: Sharing the Planet 1

(Note: You Tube Videos with Sound may be more accessible via laptop or PC)

During Third Grade’s last art rotation of the year, students worked on an Interdisciplinary Unit ‘Sharing the Planet’ with the Central Idea: The consumption of Earth’s resources impacts the environment and requires innovative solutions for sustainability, and with the Key Concept of Responsibility and the Related `Concept of Causation. In Art, our Line of Inquiry was: Interpreting and analysing art enables people to understand artist intent and composition’.

Students tuned in to the notion of creating meaningful art with recycled materials through viewing and discussing the content of the following video.

They also made close studies from images of art created with recycled materials, through drawing and making observations of ways in which artists used materials to create new forms.

(Images borrowed from

The original plan was for students to have the opportunity to be creative with recycled junk materials. Thank you to the families who collected various junk for this work. However, not enough was collected for an entire grade level (we have saved it for future years!). Our unit therefore, changed direction, regarding the final outcome.

Keeping in mind, that we wanted to use recycled materials as best possible, and find ways to create art with limited materials, we moved towards observing the work of a Japanese artist known on Twitter as Setsu and the art form known as chigiri-e, or torn paper collage.

(images borrowed from SBS Australia)

As a preliminary exercise students practised seeing magazine images for their color only, and creating some torn paper collage of their own.

Thinking about our precious planet and the beautiful creatures upon/within it, students moved on to thinking about their favorite animals as a subject for their final work. Having already considered the art element of color, they were now to focus on shape and form. Using images found on the internet students observed basic shapes/forms within the body of a creature of their choice. With newsprint paper and masking tape only, they worked in groups to create and join various forms.

Here a video of artists in action. Some chose to work independently, others collaboratively.

More to follow in next blog post.






Fourth Grade: Who We Are and Mask Making

(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

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.


First Grade: Ceramics Gallery, Reflection and Evaluation

In the next few days, the First Grade ceramic work will be coming home. The majority of students are feeling proud of their work. Regardless of overall final quality, your child has been involved in a long process of generating ideas, developing skills and creating. We have not had time to officially reflect/evaluate, and this is something that would be very worth while for you to engage in with your child.  When your child presents it to you, initiate questions and a conversation regards how the work was created. Where did your ideas come from? What other ideas did you have? Are you pleased with the work? Why? What worked and what did not? How did you make the shape/form? How did you join the pieces? What changes did the clay go through? What was easy for you? What was difficult? Which strategies did you find to overcome the challenges? The use of art vocabulary when evaluating and reflecting upon one’s achievements is as important as the making itself. Art specific vocabulary, practised during this unit, includes: pinch pot, the ‘four S’s’ (Score, Slip, Squish, Smooth), clay, ceramic, fire, fired, firing, kiln, glaze, shape, form, joining. Please enjoy the following gallery of completed work.

First Grade: Collaboration, Composition, Creative and Procedural Thinking

Congratulations to Class 1AO, who presented beautifully, during assembly last week, explaining one aspect of the PYP learner profile ‘balanced’. With this, students spoke of the variety of art forms they have engaged in this year. Drawing, painting, printmaking, paper collage and ceramic work.

Believe it or not, First Grade has only two art lessons left to come, this school year! The First Grade Art blog posted 14 May described the content of our most recent investigations into the style of Eric Carle Illustrations. Students are currently completing this work, as they finalise their own imaginative paper collage creation with use of their own painted papers. A gallery of these to come in the next two weeks.

For now, a quick catch up on two learning engagements: Matisse Paper Collage, and Ceramic pinch pot art works.

Matisse Paper Collage

Content: Composition & Aesthetics

Knowledge: Matisse and Art Vocabulary

Skills: Cutting & Pasting

Impacts/Learner Profile: Social Intelligence, Knowledgeable, Caring, Thinker

Students worked in groups of six, and then individually. Having gained some knowledge of the artist, his resilience, and the nature of his paper cut out works, students worked together to create a huge paper collage, specifically considering aesthetics. Vocabulary was revised or introduced, as students cut and pasted papers. Composition and collaboration was a key factor. Students were required to consider aesthetics very carefully. Selecting, and arranging papers with any of the following design elements:

  • Variety: in color, texture, patten, shape, line
  • Color: contrasting and dark versus light
  • Balance: In overall placement of color, line, shape, pattern, texture
  • Movement and repetition: through use of line or shape
  • Shape: Geometric versus Organic
  • Contrast: Large versus small, Rough (texture) versus smooth

One of the greatest challenges for this age group was the ‘sharing’ of the work and to respect the contribution and personal space (within the work) of all group members. Nearly all students rose to the challenge of acceptance, regards ‘our work’ over ‘my work’. Of course along with this were the skills of cutting and pasting. As the collaborative work came to a close, students gracefully accepted that the large work would be cut, to allow all a piece each. With this, independent work on a single section, followed. This allowed individuals to further demonstrate their own growing understanding of composition, with purposeful application of some art and design elements/principles. This resulted in some successful and aesthetically pleasing results. (Post re ceramic work, follows this gallery. Enjoy!

Ceramic Work

Content: Clay Media and Ceramics

Knowledge: The process of ceramic production from idea generation, to firing

Skills: Safe and proper use of tools and materials, inclusive of shape formation, joining and glazing

Impacts/Learner Profile: Thinking Skills (Creative and Procedural Thinking), Thinker

Students have engaged in creative thinking, by generating several ideas for a ‘pinch pot animal’. Procedural thinking and use of art vocabulary has been a requirement as they work through techniques and skills in creating form with the medium of clay, and in particular the safe and proper use of tools and materials, while joining pieces, using a method, described to students as ‘The Four S’s’: Score, Squish, Slip, Smooth. Students have understood that the clay needs to be fired, both before, and after glazing. This year, we used an underglaze which results in a matt finish. Perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing as a glossy glaze would have been. Students are currently very excited and patiently waiting to see the competed fired work from the kiln.

Second Grade: How We Express Ourselves & Learner Profile: Knowledgeable

Continuing from our observational work (previous post) regards movement in the human body, Second Grade students have been considering what further knowledge is necessary for artists to represent the human form. It was first necessary to be able to follow procedural instructions to recreate a ‘stick figure’ in wire. This in itself was not easy for many and required several attempts.

Images borrowed from:

At that same time, art class may have been mistaken for aerobics, as students could be seen lifting their foot to their forearm, or stretching hands to the floor, in a quest to discover new facts about human body proportions. New and prior knowledge has been applied as they are encouraged to regularly evaluate the proportions and later, the muscle formation within their work. It may be interesting for parents to ask their child of any knowledge he/she has, about measurements within the body. As they build on their work, the wire has been referred to as ‘the skeleton’ and the yarn referred to as ‘the muscles’.

Line and shape have been a focus, and the skill of wrapping yarn tight, tying knots, and knowing exactly where to increase the amount of yarn in order to create the form of muscles, whilst still allowing for movement of joints. The initial lessons were challenging for most students, and yet it has been great to see, as individuals gain confidence, their willingness to share their knowledge/understanding with peers, and assist each other with difficult stages of the process.

Here, a student compares her work to a mannequin, as she considers next steps, to further build the formation of muscles.

Next Steps: Creativity, Reflection & Evaluation

As students complete their basic structure, the real fun begins with creativity. Students will bring individual ideas to the work in the way of clothes, hair and accessories. A final reflection/evaluation of the work will take place, with the help of peers in the last week. Watch this space for our gallery of completed ‘little people’


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