AAS Elementary Art

Grades 1-5 Art

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All Grades, and specifically Fifth Grade: Artist Statements

During their final lesson this semester students have been reflecting on our original questions of “What do artists do?” and “Where do ideas come from?” Using teacher questions as guidance, students have written their Artist Statements to share with their audience, their understanding of art form, subject matter, and identify the origin of their ideas. Herewith, a few excellent examples by Fifth Grade Students. Please do visit our W.O.W Gallery in the ES Lobby Area and around the Art Room Area.

Michael 5BL

Hi, I’m Michael and this is my art piece of a forest and a deer lost in the woods. I got this Idea from a memory in the summer when my cousin and I were riding in the woods on our bikes when we saw a deer. I used pencils paint brushes and acrylic paint on a canvas. the hardest part was drawing the deer because I am not good at drawing animal legs, but I kept going because I knew this was one of the main things in my painting. So I knew I had to draw the deer. I feel really proud of my work and I hope you are too.

Rosalie 5PL

This is my abstract art piece. The art piece represents my love of fall. I used all different kinds of colors to represent the fall. I used acrylic paint on a canvas. I also used the technique of blending because I have all these colors and if I had no blending it would look like random colors on a canvas. the hard part was to know which colors I had to use because my plan disappeared so I had to use different kinds of colors. I did not give up because my best friend Eva said that it was all right and it did not matter. I am really happy with my work because I worked on it for a long time and it turned our really nice.

Laura 5PL

This is a painting with a girl that has water wings flying. I got the idea from one of my favorite TV shows, Steven Universe. When I saw a character that has water wings, it gave me an idea for this painting. To make the water wings, I blended white and blue together. To make the sunset, I used orange and yellow and blended them together. To make the clouds, I patted a paint brush with white paint on the canvas. Finally, to make the birds, I stroked black into their shape. The hardest part was to make the mountains because they turned see through really easily. I ended up putting a lot of black paint onto it. I am really proud of my artwork though.

Aran 5FS

This is a painting of a fish as an island. I got this idea from a photo book . When I saw the photo I thought it was so creative because islands are a place where people and fish live side by side . I used acrylic paint on canvas and a variety of brushes. I used the technique of blending colors . The hard part was making the clouds because it was difficult to make them as I imagined them in my head. I am very happy with this work.



Third Grade: Artists Observe

For the past three lessons, Third Grade students have been involved in investigations to kick start the Transdisciplinary Unit ‘How We Express Ourselves‘, which involves connecting with the same Central Idea, currently, or soon to be, the focus of their Classroom Unit of Inquiry: “Through examining the arts, people can gain insights into culture“. In art, we follow the Line of Inquiry “Art is representation of time, place and culture, and understanding symbolism helps us gain a sense of the artist’s perspective

Both in class and in the art studio, emphasis is placed on the concepts of Perspective, Communication and Connection, and the ‘Approach to Learning‘: Research.

The past three lessons could be seen as ‘small tasters’ of culture through art. Students have been exposed to a variety of art, by which an interpretation of symbols, can inform us of the location of the artist, climate, environment, values and beliefs. They have been ‘Responding‘ to art works through discussion of what we already know, personal interpretation, artist and viewer’s perspective.

Students have been exposed to Cave art, Australian Aboriginal Dot Painting, Huichol Yarn Painting, Ancient Egyptian Wall Painting, and Maori Design. For now, we simply observe. Which elements of art and principles of design are found in these works? Where do we find repetition, and of what? What could this mean, or communicate about the life of these artists? These are simply questions for now, as AAS artists investigate/research, through observation. AAS artists have had choices in the media they work with, and to focus on the style of art which interests them most. Whilst working, they have watched music and dance videos, and located the art on a world map.

In the new year, students will choose a culture of personal interest, to research in their classroom. They will be allowed to use the art studio to plan and create art of their choice, to support their classroom Unit of Inquiry. For those who do not choose to use the art studio to directly connect with their class work, there will be more of a guided inquiry into symbolism in art.


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!

All Grades: Parent Conference 28 November 2019

Parent Conference: Thursday 28 November 2019

Unless specifically requested, appointments are not made beforehand. The large studio (3006) will be open for students who choose to show their parents the room and their portfolio. If students choose to bring parents to the art room, they are expected to discuss, as well as show their work. They should be speaking to you about topics along the lines of – from where I found my inspiration, new discoveries, and the process of creating it, reflections on successes, lessons learned from mistakes, the current stage of their work, and how they envision it when finished.

If you specifically would like to meet with me, please email me before 8 am Thursday. Alternatively, write your name on the waiting list which will be posted in the room (3006). It shall be a matter of first come first served. Please be respectful that others may be waiting, and therefore keep to a ten minute meeting approx. All parents/students are welcome to enter the room, even if there appears to be a parent conference taking place at the time. For any more confidential discussions, we have the small room next door, available to us.

W.O.W – Stage Two

Below are some photos of First (1DE) and Fourth Graders (4SC) working on the second stage of their W.O.W artwork (see previous blog post), thinking about quality, gathering feedback, and working on ways improve and perfect a work to completion. Also, with the aim of meeting a deadline – the end of our next art lesson. Demonstrating stamina to engage and persist when challenges are met, are being practised by all.


AAS 70th Anniversary Artwork

You may have noticed three large paintings (1.5m square, each), recently hung near to the ES Office. Sofiya Shiyan (Class of 2020) led Grade 4-5 students, and some Grade 9 student assistants, in creating this artwork to mark the 70th Anniversary of AAS.

The three colors represent our three divisions – Elementary, Middle, and High School. The variety of shades/tints and shapes represent the 60+ nationalities of students, who attend AAS. Please enjoy the photos below, of student involvement in this permanent artwork.

AAS Moscow, October 2019

Respect – Integrity – Courage – Curiosity – Care

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

Grades 1,2,4 and 5 have started work on their W.O.W artwork. AAS Artists will tell you, that W.O.W, stands for Wonderful Original Work of Art.

After weeks of practising studio navigation, setting up their work space, exploration of various media, ways to research and generate ideas, artists are ready to demonstrate what they know and can do, by creating a final piece which they would feel proud to display in a public space. 

The criteria for the W.O.W piece, is as follows:

  • I have thought about it for a while and made a plan
  • I spent at least three lessons on it
  • I have fixed, improved, perfected it
  • It looks ready to hang on the wall
  • It might have been frustrating to create but I stuck with it!
  • I have shown it to others for feedback
  • It has enough personal meaning for me to write about it in an artist statement
  • It came from my heart
  • I found satisfaction and interest in creating it
  • It happened through experimentation in the studio

The above criteria is expected to be fully met by Grades 4 and 5, and lower grades are specifically working on the ability to engage and persist with an idea, and work to refine a piece, to a point of completion, over a number of lessons.

We have three full lessons before the December break, so the timing is perfect. A wide variety of artworks are emerging as students make choices about subject matter, format, and art form. (Current options are painting, drawing, and collage only)

Watch this space!


The Beauty of Choice Based Art

A choice based program allows students to home into specific personal interests, and take control of their own learning. This in turn, is a great motivator and generally there is 100% engagement happening in ‘Our Studio’. As students are becoming familiar with ways in which they can navigate the environment, many are arriving with preconceived ideas regarding how they wish to spend their time. The teacher can then guide and facilitate this, expose them to possibilities, new art vocabulary, and further assist students in making personal connections to the art world.

Example: For weeks on end Jaden’s choice as been to draw buildings. Every week they look the same. Noticing this repeated behaviour, it was suggested that he try something new. “But I LOVE drawing buildings” says Jaden. He explains his personal connection to a specific city, which is well known for it’s stunning architecture and we began to find images to take a closer look at details. Jaden learned that artists can create ‘cityscapes’.

We then embarked on some brief research into the artist Stephen Wiltshire

Artist traits such as closely observing, engaging, and perseverance was discussed and with this Jaden has discovered a greater determination for detail, working up until the last minute of art class. I’m personally hoping this personal connection may spur Jaden’s interest in finding new art forms in which to express his ideas, as the school year continues. We currently have Drawing, Painting and Collage stations open now. Slowly construction and printmaking shall emerge in the second semester.  

Please enjoy this short video about the fascinating story for Stephen Wiltshire. Many, more lengthy documentaries, can be found on Youtube.


Grades Two to Four: Organisational Skills and Present

One of the National Core Art Standards which will be reported upon at some point this school year, falls under the title of ‘Present’. It involves students gaining and understanding of preparing works for preservation and exhibition.

This week, students in Grades 2-4, have taken a moment to stop, and consider their work to date. Provided with a new folder for ‘My BEST finished work’, students have been relying on peer feedback to consider what it means for a work to be complete, and making decisions on how works might be improved or refined. With this, they have been ‘finishing up’ personally selected pieces, to store for a future exhibit.

Once works are complete and selected, students have continued to work at their own rate, choosing colored paper on which to single or double (or in some cases, triple) mount their work. Color combinations have been considered, and some have been inspired to take their work a step further by presenting in new creative ways, including making use of their own exploration work, as a background to another.

When the work is finally displayed for an audience, you shall be able to view entirely student centred work, inclusive of presentation. It shall therefore appear more child like than work previously seen in school art displays (ie. in some cases, not quite as tidy!), inclusive of developing stages of cutting skills! Artist statements shall also follow.

Pieces that are not selected for this folder are still considered valuable experience which led to final products, and kept in the student’s ‘Process Folder’. Please enjoy some photos of artists independently developing their own visual art portfolio.

All Grades: Documentation: Developing the Habit

Seesaw activity continues to grow and students are becoming more independent in documenting their process. At present, no written reflection/evaluation is being required of students. We have simply been continuing to explore ways in which we can record our process or final products. Every lesson, students are required to upload their chosen plan for the day, and at least one photo which shows achievement, as a means of developing the habit of ongoing documentation.

There is also a new enthusiasm amongst some students to take this further by working on time lapse videos to demonstrate activity, specifically inspired by the work Nathan 3CB. Well done Nathan.

The following videos (with sound) would most likely be best viewed from a laptop or PC.

Nathan’s Video

Zahra’s Video

Anthony’s Video

Silvijn’s Video

Zain’s Video

We have now had approximately eight art classes. It is wonderful to see the variety of exploratory work ,and motivation which comes with our choice based art program. Students are now very familiar with choices within the Drawing and Painting Station and ways in which to navigate and be in control of their learning and environment. After the October break we shall begin to delve into the question of ‘Where do artists get ideas’? through some brainstorming and critique/analysis work. Students will then work on idea generation, leading towards a W.O.W (Wonderful Original Work of Art), hopefully in time for December break.

These are exciting times. Wishing you a restful holiday and safe travels.

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.



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