Visual Arts Stand Alone Unit: Self-Portraits

In visual arts, students have been inquiring into self-portraits and creating their own. Their central idea is: self-portraits convey a message about who the artist is or who the artists wants to be. Students are looking at the form, function and change of self-portraits. They are being assessed on the visual arts learning outcomes: responding (phase 3.7) recognize that different audiences respond in different ways to artworks and creating (phase 4.6) develop an awareness of their personal preferences.

After learning about and discussing several famous self-portraits, students began creating their own. They have learned and practiced three different self-portrait techniques.

First, students learned about facial symmetry. A photograph was taken of them. They cut the photo in half and completed the other side using pencil and charcoal.

Next, students learned about facial proportions by placing a transparent sheet overtop of a picture of them and drawing their features. These sheets were copied onto white paper and students added details on top using art materials of their choice. The details they added and colors they used described who they are or who they ant to be.

Today, students created blind-contour drawings of each other and of themselves. They improved their observational skills and tried to look at the face as a whole. They poked a hole in a paper plate, which prevented them from seeing what they were drawing beneath, and draw their partner. Then, they used a mirror and drew themselves.

Next, students will draw a self-portrait while looking into a mirror. Next week, students will chose one or many of these techniques to create a final self-portrait.

Visual Arts: Perspective

This unit in visual arts class, students have been inquiring into perspective in visual arts, which is a key concept in the unit they are working on in their homeroom.

They will be assessed on the PYP visual arts learning outcomes responding (3.4): Reflect on their own and other’s creative processes to inform their thinking and creating (phase 2 ): identify, plan and make specific choices of materials, tools, and processes.

Students began by learning about drawing 3-D buildings and 3-D letters using a variety of YouTube videos and tutorials from Mr. Luis. Then, they inquired into one-point perspective, looked at examples of artwork with one-point perspective, and explored in their process portfolios. Finally, students attempted two-point perspective, which was very challenging and difficult to visually comprehend.

Currently, students are using one or more of the perspective techniques they learned to create a final artwork. They are using the design cycle to investigate perspective, plan their perspective drawing, evaluate by getting feedback, and finally create. Students will use their choice of materials to create their perspective artwork.

Visual Arts Update: Stand Alone Color Theory

This unit in visual arts class, students are inquiring into color theory with the central idea: colors are used and interpreted in a variety of ways around us. They are inquiring into the form, function, and perspective (key concepts) of color theory. They are being assessed on the visual arts learning outcome: responding (phase 4) explain the cultural and historical perspectives of artwork.

Take a look at some in-process photos of this unit:

Visual Arts: Stand Alone Color Theory

This unit in visual arts class, students are inquiring into color theory with the central idea: colors are used and interpreted in a variety of ways around us. They are inquiring into the form, function, and perspective (key concepts) of color theory. They are being assessed on the visual arts learning outcome: responding (phase 4) explain the cultural and historical perspectives of artwork.

Students learned about the artist Mark Rothko and the abstract artwork he made using block of colors. These paintings, with titles such as Red, Yellow, and Orange, were revolutionary because artists before Rothko typically created more realistic artworks.

As part of a color theory progression, in y5 PYP visual arts, students learn about the following color combinations:

After studying Rothko’s artworks and thinking about emotions we feel when we look at them, students found that everyone’s perspective of colors is different.

Students created an emotions pie chart of the emotions they were feeling that day. Their pie charts included a color key so that each emotion was associated with (a) color(s).

Students picked their top three emotions using their pie charts and used this color as the base color of the background for their artworks. They planned by creating abstract sketches of each emotion using the base color and other colors. After evaluating and receiving peer feedback, students began their three backgrounds based on their sketches.

Next, they will be using these background and posing in front of the background showing the emotion that their artwork represents. They will learn composition photography tips and use these tips to take images of each other. Eventually, they will edit these images and use them as part of a 3-D collage.

Going Further

This week we have been applying our understanding of how to raise awareness by making thought provoking artworks. We created 4 draft ideas before receiving feedback and choosing the most thought provoking idea to focus on for our assessment. We have also been developing our writing skills by revising, editing and giving feedback on our narrative about deforestation.

We have been learning how to solve open ended maths challenges and have been focussing on articulating our reasons for using a particular strategy. For example, using manipulatives and drawing out the problem. We have also started exploring the concept of VALUE in maths.

How to help at home:

Look for examples of numbers at home that have value. Parents can guide with questions like: What is the value of the number? What does the value represent? (shoe size, oven, freezer, dashboard, scales)
Ask your child to talk you through the learning process guided by the images below. Ask your child to reflect on their chosen art medium and the process of creating their art piece/performance.
Help extend your child’s inquiry by finding out more about their chosen art form and about other artists.


Athletics Day 10:10 – Thursday the 21st of September

Peace Parade 14:00 – Friday the 22nd of September

Visual Arts: Keith Haring

In visual arts class this unit, students are inquiring into the same central idea as in their homeroom class: the arts play a vital role in provoking thought and raising awareness. Students are being assessed on the visual arts learning outcomes: phase 3 (responding) use a personal interest, belief, or value as the starting point to create a piece of artwork.

Students are learning about Keith Haring and his thought provoking artwork artwork that raised awareness about social, political, and environmental issues. Last week, students played the game role a Keith Haring. They learned how to draw like Keith Haring by posing for each other, drawing stick figures using pencil, using marker to outline the figures, and then erasing the inside.



This week, students are sketching about deforestation in the style of Keith Haring. Next week, students will complete an acrylic paint study. They will choose their best sketch, add color using acrylic paint, and outline using permanent marker.