AAS Elementary Art

Grades 1-5 Art

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All Grades: Seeking items for Observational Drawing

Thank you for your donations and please keep them coming! Here is a photo of the objects which are drawing greatest attention at the moment. We seek small items which are interesting in shape, color, or texture. Students are fascinated by nature, and also small toys, plastic jewellery, and replica treasures from ancient civilisations.  Many thanks for your continued donations!

All Grades: Student Goal Setting: Friday 20 September 2019

It will be a pleasure to meet families on Friday, as students welcome them into their art studio to decide on an art goal for the year. We shall start by asking the child if he/she already has a goal in mind. It is likely that their idea for a personal goal will link to one of the bigger ideas presented on paper, on the tables. If so, we shall help him/her to make that connection. I plan to sit with as many families as possible to assist students in coming to a decision. The goal categories are presented as ‘big ideas’ and have been created in a way to provide students ways of incorporating their art goal into everyday life, as opposed to during art class alone.

  • Love Learning
  • Respect
  • Contribute
  • Discovering Art
  • Creativity
  • Reading and Art
  • Follow my Dreams

During these meetings students will be encouraged to think about how they can achieve these goals. What is specifically needed in order to work towards this ongoing goal? Example, those who say they would like to learn to draw animals: Suggestions would include, finding ‘how to draw’ books in the library, watching (with parental consent) Youtube Tutorials (eg. How to draw tigers), and better still, drawing from real life (draw pets in your living room, or a family visit to the zoo), or begin a photo album and sketch book around the topic of animals, or cut out magazine pictures also. The point is to have students understand that there are a variety of sources from where they can find and gather information and find inspiration, and that they can be independently responsible for their personal learning journey.

In previous years, I have found these discussions to be very insightful. They have provided me an opportunity to hear about the individual’s specific interests, their enthusiasm, and it is also fantastic to hear some students explaining their goals to their parents, with great use of art vocabulary!

If the room is crowded, please feel free to sit at one of the tables with your child, initiate goals discussions, present the options on the table, and help him/her to complete a goals paper. Please make sure your child writes his/her name and class on the paper so that we may keep it in his/her portfolio. If, for any reason, you miss an opportunity to speak with me, and would like to, please feel free to email me, to make another appointment time.

Below are the suggestions which will be provided, and an example of the ‘Goals Sheet’. These will be placed inside their portfolio next week. We look forward to seeing you Friday.



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 (http://www.pz.harvard.edu/projects/the-studio-thinking-project) 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)













Open House: 19 August 2019

Welcome back to school! I shall be your child’s art teacher for this school year. Returning students already know me as ‘Miss Helen’. Please be sure to subscribe to the ES Art Blog today. By doing so you will receive a notification via email approximately once a month, of posts which are intended to provide you a deeper understanding of our program, and in turn will allow you more meaningful conversations with your child about his/her learning. Feel free to visit the art room today, to say hello! For now, I provide you with some basic ‘need to know’ information. Wishing you a great school year ahead!

IB PYP Visual Arts Statement

Visual art is integral to the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP). It is a powerful mode of communication through which students explore and construct a sense of self and develop an understanding of the world around them. Elementary art classes provide students with a wide range of opportunities and means to respond to their experiences and engage with historical, social and cultural perspectives. The students are stimulated to think and to articulate their thoughts in new ways, focusing their attention on the creative process rather than the final product. (IBO)

The ES Visual Arts Program at AAS is created through the (US) National Core Arts Standards, and within the IB PYP Framework.

Scheduling & Reporting

Grades 1-5 come to art once every six day schedule, for one hour. 

School reports are issued in January and June. In Art we follow the (US) National Core Art Standards. These are

  • Create
  • Responding
  • Connecting
  • Presenting

Details of this curriculum can be found at https://www.nationalartsstandards.org

In the January report you may find that only one or two of these Standards have been assessed and reported on. By the end of the school year, you will have received a report on all four Standards.

Being Prepared

“To be creative you actually have to do something.” (Ken Robinson)

There is so much more to art than ‘making’. Two Standards in our art curriculum are Responding: Understanding and evaluating how the arts convey meaning

Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. The best preparation for art is the experience of REAL LIFE! We are so lucky in Moscow to have access to an abundance of art exhibitions. Please expose your child to as much possible. In addition to this, the more exposure to cultural events, travel, places of interest, every day play and exploration, strong relationships and the outdoors (just a few examples), the greater the pool of inspiration. There are also plenty of art books, stories about art, stories about artists – all great to include in your home reading, many of which you can find in our school library. If possible, provide a safe space in your home which may spur creativity, complete with scissors, markers, paper, glue, play doh, etc. Model your own interest in art and creativity. It is likely your child will follow. Artists need inspiration and the greatest inspiration comes from real life experience!

Student artwork and Seesaw

Most artwork is stored at school the entire year. It does not come home on a regular basis. The various reasons for this include:

  • It is needed for assessment purposes.
  • It is needed for exhibitions which might happen later in the year
  • It is needed for bulletin boards to not only celebrate student learning, but also inform our community of our learning process.
  • It may be needed for parent/teacher meetings
  • It allows students time to refine unfinished work at a later date

And finally, a portfolio of work which comes home at the end of the year, encourages more meaningful conversation and reflection between student and parent, than when pieces come home sporadically.

If you would like to view your child’s art work at any point in the year, in the art room, you are very welcome to do so. The student may share it with you at any time in the classroom. If you need a specific appointment with me, please email to arrange a convenient time.

Please also note that our approach to art/creativity focusses highly on process over product. It is unlikely that you will see a high number of refined, completed artworks.

SeeSaw: All students will be expected to bring their iPad to art. Seesaw will be used for students to document and present their work. Parents are encouraged to comment in a constructive, positive way to support student learning. Your child’s homeroom teacher will provide more detailed information regards Seesaw

All about me: I am from the UK, and have enjoyed over 20 years international school experience, teaching in Indonesia, Thailand, The Philippines, Germany, England and now Russia. The majority of my work has been with Elementary School students, in addition to my eight years working in Middle and High School. It’s a small world and I love the strong connections we all make through our multicultural classroom, growing together with deeper understanding, openness and respect for individual and collective qualities within our fabulous international community. Moscow is also such a delight. As I begin my fourth year here, I continue to view the city, it’s art galleries, theatre, concert halls, open air shows, architecture and parks with awe. This is an exciting and beautiful place to be!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions at helen.arnold@aas.ru

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 www.illuzone.net)

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.






Fifth Grade Felt Making

Note: You Tube Videos with sound, may be more accessible via laptop or PC.

After their hard work with their PYP Exhibition, students are now involved in a less intense creative activity during the last art rotation of Elementary School. Students are loving the opportunity to try their hand at Felt Making. Still, it is necessary to follow through the same creative process, of developing skills, generating ideas, and seeking feedback, before embarking on the creation of a final work. This blog post shall remain brief, as I allow the video to demonstrate the procedures taking place. Enjoy!

Fourth Grade: Composition & Photography

As we enjoy our last few lessons of the year, Fourth Grade have been taking advantage of the gorgeous weather by working on some photography in the courtyard. Addressing the Central Idea ‘Artists use personal experiences to represent time, place (and culture) that connects an audience’ and focusing on a Line of Inquiry involving the connection between personal experience and creating art, students have selected themes, to create a ‘photographic collection’ of their own (presented as a slideshow in Seesaw). Themes such as texture, color, pattern, emphasis (overall knowledge/ understanding of composition) and the concept of perspective have been taken into consideration. With this, students have had great fun, using their iPads to edit photos. Exploring and discovering possibilities, they have cropped, adjusted color, light/dark, saturation, and so on. Please enjoy this gallery of work from our amazing Fourth Grade Photographers.

Fifth Grade: PYP Exhibition 2019

Transdisciplinary Theme: How We Express Ourselves, PYP Key Concept: Perspective

Central Idea: Collaborative Inquiry is a journey which empowers students to demonstrate life-long skills and dispositions which lead to action.

Line of Inquiry: Artists work together use creativity to raise awareness of matters that are important to them.

CONGRATULATIONS to Fifth Grade students as they reach the final stages of their exhibition work. The PYPX Art Station has been buzzing with collaborative artistic activity as many have chosen various art forms to help express ideas and findings. We look forward to hearing about your learning journey and future action steps on matters which have become important to you.

Feel free to take a selfie at our Yayoi Kusama work. Good luck with your presentation! (More photos of students at work to be posted on Seesaw)





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