Grades 1-5 Art

Category: Printmaking (Page 1 of 2)

First to Fourth Grade: Skill Builders, Printmaking & Reflection/Evaluation

A choice based system most certainly does not mean full time free choice. Of course there must be room for specific skill building and learning of new techniques, which students can then apply to their choice based art later.

Since the start of the new year, Grades 1-4 have been involved in some ‘have to’ lessons (otherwise known as Skill Builders), through the introduction of our Printmaking Station. Emphasis has been placed on organisation of workspace, the actual process of various printmaking techniques, and self evaluation and reflection. Printmaking techniques have been planned to allow progression throughout the grade levels.

First Grade: Fingerprinting, Sponge Dot Printing (after observation and critique of pointillism and work of George Seurat), and Printmaking with Found Objects

Second Grade: Styrofoam Prints with washable markers

Third Grade: Styrofoam Prints with washable markers, and basic reduction print with ink (single color/layer)

Fourth Grade: Mono prints, and reduction prints with ink – two colors/layers

Students are encouraged to keep ALL pieces, no matter how ‘bad’ they may turn out. Bad prints are good! Not only will students be able to demonstrate the progression of their skill, they can also use these to discuss their evaluation of the quality of the print, reflect on problems which may be occuring and seek solutions to these, or strategies for improvement.

Ongoing reflection and evaluation should take place through self talk and discussions with peers and the teacher. Thus students are becoming increasingly familiar with discussing their process, inclusive of art specific vocabulary.

Due to lack of time, students are not required to write or record reflections/evaluations on Seesaw daily. Simply uploading a photo of stages of the work, at the end of the lesson is enough to gain a habit of documenting.

In a few weeks students will complete a ‘W.O.W’ piece of art (as a reminder please click on the following link)

First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Grade: W.O.W 

which was posted on 21st November 2019. This will require a more indepth, written or spoken reflection on Seesaw.

Speak to your child about his/her printmaking experience. We hope they can freely discuss their process inclusive of art vocabulary such as ‘found objects, printing plate, printing ink, brayer, sponge, styrofoam…’ according to grade level.

Please enjoy some photos below taken during Printmaking Classes, Grades 1-4.

First Grade: Who We Are & 3 Way Conferences

As First Grade attend art only once a week, it takes time to follow through the inquiry cycle. Our artist’s are almost finished and ready to start something new.

In the past few weeks students have become more focused in their printmaking skills (Develop Skills). Exploring new tools, patterns and textures, inclusive of layering, they have been working to create prints with improved quality. Discussion has focused on ‘what makes a good print?’ ‘What are we looking for?’ ‘What is working, and what is not?’ and ‘What do I need to do, to improve it?’ Applying less paint, moving the tools slowly, and not pressing so hard, are some solutions discovered.

Having completed their printmaking skills, we returned to the Key Concept of ‘Function’ and the function of pattern/motif design from a variety of cultures. With their knowledge of motif patterns, students have been asked to use their creativity to create one of their own, with a specific item to be ‘decorated’ in mind (a fan, a fabric, a plate). Students have been asked to plan carefully (Generate Ideas/Plan), considering the tools they wish to use, the colors they will apply, and the style of motif (nature, organic or geometric shapes/patterns), and apply to a newly created print (Create).


To finalise, students present their work on Seesaw and to parents. If it is convenient for you to visit the art room during 3 way conferences, students can show their Process Journal and discuss the various stages of investigation, challenges met with printmaking skills, idea generation, their ability to follow their plan, or choices/reasons to change it, and engage in an overall reflection and evaluation with parents. If there is no time for you to visit the art room, a photo will be available in their classroom, of their work, or of them working, which can act as a springboard for discussion.





First Grade: Who We Are

Note: Video and Audio may be accessed more easily if viewing from a laptop or PC.

Parents will be aware that First Grade students are currently working on the Unit of Inquiry ‘Who We Are’, which is ‘an inquiry into the nature of the self, with a focus on culture. This is a transdisciplinary unit, which means that Specialist Subject teachers, as well as classroom teachers, have carefully planned lessons together, around the Central Idea ‘Exploring culture allows people to develop their sense of identity and make connections’. In art we are working along the Line of Inquiry ‘Motif designs in fabrics and everyday objects come in identifiable forms’ and that ‘Culture is connected to identity’. With the Key Concept of Connection, we also focus on the Related Concepts of Identity, Culture and Diversity. 

During the first few art classes students have been working through the investigational/finding out stage of the inquiry cycle by observing motifs, repetition and pattern in various cultural designs. Through observational drawing, students are exposed to a number of designs, specific to various cultures, and have been encouraged to notice the style and its use of nature, geometric and organic shape. Students have been asked to open their eyes to designs they may find in their home, beit in curtains, carpets, clothes, plates, cups, and question the origin of the design with parents. Some indeed, have made strong connections.

Introducing new media, developing skills, and creative thinking.

For the last three weeks, working on a rotation, students have had the opportunity to explore the use of ink stamps, Indian wood blocks with paint, and paper cut outs, while they experiment with creating their own motifs, pattern and repetition. They have been required to use the materials appropriately, and carefully consider arrangements of shape and color. Watch this space for following information in upcoming weeks, as students continue to practise printmaking and become designers themselves.


Third Grade: Presenting: Interpreting and sharing artistic work.

Select/Share: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation

Third Grade Students are currently completing their work by preparing it for presentation on Seesaw. In the next few days, you should receive notice of their final work for this years art class. The photographs in the gallery below have been created by students themselves. Through this, they have been carefully considering aesthetics, selecting a section of the work, which is most pleasing to the eye, and seeking out good examples of texture, movement, contrast, repetition and so on.

Through class discussion, it has been pleasing to hear so many students remembering the content specific knowledge about the artist and her connection to our unit ‘Sharing the Planet’ Some have written or spoken about this in Seesaw. With this they are also required to document their thoughts about the process of creating a collagraph print, the challenges met, and how they over came these. They have been encouraged to apply art specific vocabulary. Some students have written or spoken in reasonable depth. Some, simply ran out of time. They should have at least, uploaded their photo.

As always, it has been such a pleasure to work creatively with AAS Students. I look forward to seeing them again in Fourth Grade. Enjoy our final gallery of the year.

Third Grade: Sharing the Planet

You Tube Videos in this blog, may viewed more easily from a laptop or PC.

For Third Grade Parents, this will be a long blog post! However, it will help you to understand the content and depth of our current art unit. The next and final Third Grade art blog for this year, will contain a gallery only, of the student’s final products.

In the past three weeks, students have been introduced to a Transdisciplinary Unit. This means that we address the same Central Idea and Concepts as their classroom Unit of Inquiry ‘Sharing the Planet’, but from an artist’s perspective.

Central Idea: Consumption of resources has an impact on the environment.

Key Concepts: Responsibility & Connection

Related Concepts: Consumption, Impact, Consequences

Tuning into the art form studied: The focused art form, this time, is Printmaking. Therefore, before delving into to questions regards how artists respond to the central idea, it was important that students understood the basic process of printmaking (collagraphy in particular). To start, students had two lessons to explore the process of making prints with textured plates, and in evaluating. Ie. What makes a good print and why? What specific criteria are we looking for? What strategies do we need to apply in order to create a clear print? What are the names of the tools and materials, and how can we use them safely, and apply correct procedure?

Tuning In to the Central Idea: The timing of our third art rotation was perfect, as this meant students were already ‘tuned in’ to the ideas and concepts. They arrived with prior knowledge and therefore were able to quickly connect. It took approximately thirty seconds of viewing the following video, for curious student comments to evolve from “Ooohhhh! Scuba Diving! Oooh! I’ve been there on holiday! Wow look all all the jellyfish! Wait, what IS that? Oh no, that’s plastic! Ooh that’s bad! Oh, that’s disgusting! Where’s all the fish?!” The connection to their class Unit of Inquiry ‘Sharing the Planet’ was made immediately.

Researching & Finding Out

Thanks to their class inquiry, content regards the consequences of consumption, does not need to be discussed in great detail. Rather, in art, Research & Finding Out, involves one artist’s perspective and response to the issue. Students have been exposed in particular to a UK artist named Jo Atherton. Links to her websites can be found by clicking here, and here.

In brief, Jo’s work involves, weaving and printmaking in particular with use of flotsam or general plastics found washed up, or left on the beach. She not only finds fascination in their narrative, a but also considers the visual resemblance in her print designs, to that of microscopic marine life.

“Like the pottery archaeologists use to define human cultures of the past, a layer of plastic will signify our own throwaway society. What will these discarded fragments say about us?” (Jo Atherton), and “Millions of years ago, fuelled by sunlight, marine plankton flourished and then settled on the ocean floor, slowly transforming into oil. This same oil is used to quickly produce the endless plastic objects that dominate the everyday. When inked and printed, plastic flotsam fragments bear a stark resemblance to the rich diversity of microscopic marine life – a worrying and ironic connection to a beautiful natural process” (Jo Atherton)

Such content may well go over the head of a Third Grader, but they can make the connection at their own level. As one commented “wow, that’s deep!”

From an art and design perspective, students have investigated Jo’s application of the elements of art and principles of design when creating compositions for prints.

Whilst working on these observational drawings of Jo’s work, and to assist in the connection with the artwork versus the beauty of microscopic marine life, students were provided short clips (not all) from The Secret Life of Plankton‘ If you have a spare five minutes, you will most likely enjoy this mesmerising video, and beautiful accompanying music, composed by J. Ralph & Anohni. The song was released as the lead soundtrack to the 2015 documentary “The Race to Extinction’ and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 88th Academy Awards.  

So where are we now? We have two weeks left to create, reflect and evaluate. With this prior knowledge of content and some understanding of the printmaking process and composition design, students are currently creating their own printmaking plates, with spare ‘junk’. Composition is now the key in creation. Students are required to carefully consider composition by using their knowledge of the elements or art and principles of design. The junk pieces are applied with shape, line, and space in particular, arranged through repetition, variety, contrast, and movement and balance.

Please watch this space in a few weeks time, for our final print products.

3 Way Conferences and First Grade Update

Today’s post contains a You Tube slideshow with music.  If you are viewing from a smartphone or tablet, please go directly to the AAS blog site by clicking here, in order appreciate the full version.

It was wonderful to see so many students eager to share their work today. It was particularly interesting for me to listen to First Grade student’s recollection of a unit which they finished nearly three weeks ago. With some prompting, some were able to pinpoint different parts of the process, and it was great to see them beginning to make the connection between their investigation, plan and final product. For some parents, it’s possible, with out prior knowledge of the content of the unit, that the discussion may have seemed quite abstract! However, I’m sure parents would agree that the most valuable aspect of three way conferences, is to see students actively, and enthusiastically, engaging in discussion about their learning experiences. To assist you with greater understanding of learning experiences during the ‘Who We Are’ unit, I have created a slideshow via You Tube for you (below). Enjoy!

First Grade: Gallery

After a long process, many first grade final artworks are coming along nicely. A quick gallery update and news to follow soon.

First Grade: Reflection/Evaluation, and Generation of Ideas

In the past few weeks students have become more focused in their printmaking skills. Exploring new tools, patterns and textures, inclusive of layering, they have been working to create prints with improved quality. Discussion has focused on ‘what makes a good print?’ ‘What are we looking for?’ ‘What is working, and what is not?’ and ‘What do I need to do, to improve it?’ Applying less paint, moving the tools slowly, and not pressing so hard, are some solutions discovered.

Now in the final stages of the creative process, students have returned to questions over the function of motifs and patterns in everyday objects, noting function as decorative and often inspired by personal experience and therefore connection with, cultural identity. Students are currently working on organising their thoughts for a design of their own to apply to an everyday object. They are required to consider color, shape, pattern, repetition and texture in generating ideas for a background which can be applied with their own, unique motif design.

First Grade: Identity through Cultural Design

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 this First 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’

We start the year with a Transdisciplinary Unit. This means that class teachers and I are working closely in planning the current Unit of Inquiry – Who We Are. The PYP Central Idea, being addressed in both class and art class is as follows ‘Exploring culture allows people to develop a sense of self and make connections with others’. Such integration allows for students to make powerful connections in multiple subject areas.

During the next few weeks, First Grade artists will be involved in an inquiry into cultural identity through design. We will be looking at motifs and pattern in particular. Parents can help by drawing awareness to cultural patterns/motifs/designs which may be found at home or any familiar environment, helping students to develop an awareness and appreciation of the visual characteristics found in design from their own culture or that of others. We shall be using art vocabulary to describe motifs and patterns – whether they consist of images of nature (animals, birds or plants) or decorative shapes (geometric, or organic). Specific art vocabulary to note: Motif, pattern, line, geometric shape, organic shape, color, and repetition.

Students have already begun to draw from observation and this week, will begin some basic printmaking with use of traditional Indian woodblocks, and regular stamps, with which they can create a variety of patterns on paper.

Thank you for your attention and please stay tuned!

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