Grades 1-5 Art

Category: PYP Key Concept: Responsibility

All Grades: End Semester

We are now in our last six day cycle of 2019. Students (except Third Grade) are busy finishing up their W.O.W (please see previous posts for explanation). As they finish they are presenting their final art work on Seesaw and we soon hope to have an enormous gallery of amazing, individual, personalised art in the hallways of AAS! During the last week, students are recording, or writing their ‘Artist Statement’. The depth of the statement varies according to Grade Level of course. All should be intentionally making use of art vocabulary when speaking or writing about their work.

It has been a successful semester. Students are very excited to come to art! Many students are arriving with preconceived ideas and a plan! Students are increasingly, independently responsible for their workspace, respectful towards each other and their learning environment. Such joy in learning! Please see the informative Youtube video below, which demonstrates a choice based program in full flow.

Parents of Third Grade, please watch this space for an update. They are currently working on a Transdisciplinary Unit the Central Idea “Though examining the arts, people can gain insights into culture”. A Third Grade blog post shall come soon!

Second to Fifth Grade: Responsibility for Workspace and Gaining Independence

You may have noticed increased activity on Seesaw lately. Items posted by students are likely to consist of:

  • my planning document
  • my workspace
  • today’s achievement

Over the last two cycles, there has been a strong emphasis on organisation of workspace and an introduction to documentation. No longer do students enter a room with tables nicely set/arranged. It is entirely their responsibility to consider which tools/materials they will need and to arrange these for themselves, in an organised and safe manner. Small considerations such as placing the water cup at the top, so as not to knock it over, are of high importance! Or showing that we know to lay a brush down rather than stand it in the cup. Likewise, students are entirely responsible for tidying the room and returning all to its correct home. For fun, we have been referring to the tables as ‘Five million dollar’ tables and students have been eager to create the most perfectly clean tidy work space! Such enthusiasm in cleaning up is great to see!

Students are now in the routine of completing a planning document which helps them to decide their activity and select appropriate tools and materials. Presently, only 2D choices are available (painting or drawing). They are selecting their choice of activity by identifying with characters named ‘HOMies’. These are based on the Studio Habits of Mind. The Storyteller creates an artwork which has personal meaning to him/her. He/She is a ‘Communicator‘. Detective Dot is the observer: students who chose to observe from real life objects, pictures, or books. He/She is an ‘Inquirer‘. The Explorer asks “What if…?” as he/she experiments, plays, and investigates through various materials and tools. He/she is a ‘Risk Taker‘.

And Finally…

Students are currently being introduced to the notion of independently documenting their process and progress. At this stage, no written or verbal reflection has been required of them. The point is to begin to develop the habit, without being instructed to do so by an adult. A few students have already started, by simply uploading a photo of a stage of the work, or a more complete image, presented as an arrangement, which demonstrates achievements during that lesson. Work may be complete, or not. Taking the responsibility to independently document, is the goal for now.

Watch this space for further developments in our Choice Based approach to art.



All Grades: Choice Based Art & Teaching for Artistic Behaviours

Welcome back to all, and our new subscribers this year! Thank you for signing up. Also many thanks for those of you who have recently donated to our collection of ‘junk’, such as toilet rolls and small boxes, which will be used in future for construction activities, and small items which may be of interest to students for observational drawing, ie. small objects with interesting texture, shape, form, colour (eg cheap junk jewellery, dried flowers/fruit, shiny objects etc).  Please continue to donate – the more the better! Collection boxes can be found outside the art room 3006.

I’d like to start this year by sharing a video, which has been shown to many (not all) students in the last few weeks.

We are now moving into our fourth, six day cycle. This means students have attended art three or four times. A great energy is arising as students are becoming familiar with our new ‘choice based’ approach to teaching art at AAS. This blog post should help you to understand the thinking behind our approach and intentions for student learning.

In previous years, students have engaged in Guided Inquiry Units which have allowed students to experience the creative process, individually and as part of a whole group. Please see previous years’ blog posts for detailed information. This has prepared our students well, for our next step into 21st century learning. Choice Based Art and Teaching for Artistic Behaviours (TAB) places the student at the centre of everything, allowing for greater agency and personalised learning. Through a choice based approach, and continuing to apply the mantra “You are the artist, and this is your studio”, we believe all students will be more invested, engaged and inspired, as this will appeal even more so, to their natural curiosity and personal interests. Through allowing choice, and providing more of a ‘workshop’ environment, students can work at their own pace, and with increased independence, whilst still meeting curricular objectives. 

Throughout the year, we shall focus on the understanding, or Central Idea, that ‘Artists practise a series of behaviours, which lead them through a process, resulting in an art work which conveys personal meaning to them’. We will continue to ask ourselves “What do artists do?” and “Where do ideas come from?”

In recent weeks, we have been focusing on exploration, and the setting up/cleaning up of workspace.  Students are entirely responsible for thoughtfully planning for, and selecting materials and tools in order to initiate exploration/experimentation, observational and/or imaginative work.

Emphasis is also being placed on the documentation of exploration and experimentation. All pieces should be kept, as they provide opportunity for reflection, and are valuable evidence of process.

As we work through the transition to a full choice based program, students are beginning to become familiar with the Studio Habits of Mind ( which can be directly linked to the National Core Art Standards, PYP learning outcomes and Attributes. These are early days, and the depth of exposure and understanding, is dependent on the Grade level. The Studio Habits of Mind can be found at the foot of this blog post.

Thank you for your attention to long blog post! We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming Learning Goal Setting Day.

                                      Studio Habits of Mind & PYP Attributes

Develop Craft: Learning to use tools, materials, artistic conventions, and learning to care for tools, materials and space (PYP Caring and Knowledgeable)

Envision: Learning to picture mentally, what cannot be directly observed, and imagine possible next steps in making a piece (PYP Inquirer)

Express: Learning to create works that convey an idea, a feeling, or a personal meaning (PYP Communicator)

Stretch & Explore: Learning to reach beyond one’s capacities, to explore playfully without a preconceived plan, and to embrace the opportunity to learn from mistakes (PYP Risk Taker)

Observe: Learning to attend to visual contexts more closely than ordinary ‘looking’ requires, and thereby to see things that otherwise might not be seen (PYP Inquirer)

Reflect: Learning to think and talk with others about an aspect of one’s work or working process, and learning to judge one’s own work and working process, and the work of others (PYP Reflective)

Engage & Persist: Learning to embrace problems of relevance within the art world/or of personal importance, to develop focus conducive to working and persevering at tasks (PYP Open Minded)

Understand (Arts) Community: Learning to interact as an artist with other artists (i.e. in classrooms, in local arts organizations, and across the art field)













Third Grade: Sharing the Planet 2

Continued from the previous Third Grade blog post.

Reflection and evaluation is an important part of the process where students can verbalise their procedures, challenges and strategies to overcome them. All students constantly reflected throughout, and used feedback to make decisions on their next steps. At the end of the unit, students were required to upload a spoken or written reflection to Seesaw, including information regarding the connection they made to the original central idea.

David’s (3CK) reflection, part way through his process, identifies procedures and ways in which his group researched, and he has used Seesaw tools to demonstrate they way in which they broke down the shapes to form their hammerhead shark. David’s reflection can be found here.

Dayun (3IC) incorporates all that was required to be included in her reflection.

“This is my 3D paper & paste art work of a cat. I worked on this project by myself. It is finished and it was actually really fun to make this. I wished that I made the ears more smaller because I think they are too big. I made this by scrunching up the newspaper, and taped it with masking tape to keep the shape. After I made the cat I ripped magazine paper and glued it on with special glue. It was hard when I couldn’t find the right colors but some of the teachers helped me to find it. This connects to the unit on Sharing the Planet because we used recycled newspaper and magazine”. (Dayun, Seesaw Reflection 30 April 2019)

Students were also asked to carefully consider the composition of the final photo of their work, inclusive of background colors, emphasis and good use of space.

This was a successful unit. Students made clear connections to the key concept and learning taking place in their home room class. The very tactile nature of the construction/paper & paste art form, and opportunity to work with friends, led to high levels of motivation. I have been quite astounded by the quality of the art work. Much of the work is very well formed with (mostly) reasonably lifelike proportions. Truly amazing! The work can be found in the ES Lobby area for one more week before being returned to students. Please see our gallery below. We also have a display mounted on the wall, which explains the inquiry/creative cycle. This will remain on show throughout the summer.

Please enjoy the gallery below.




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.






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