LowK Explores the shapes that make our human body!

Students have studied our beloved wooden figure statue "George" and noticing how shapes are put together to draw pretty much anything that an artist wants to convey on paper- including the human form.

The realization that a person can be drawn by only adding squares, rectangles, ovals and circles together was an amazing discovery!

After a few days of reviewing, students were able to draw shapeswithout having to even look at "George" for guidance and confidently turn those same shapes intopeople!

Now we are applying the same concepts of putting shapes together to make animals. Our new unit, "2D to 3D" will entail designing a pet that lives in our pockets. We will start with a drawing and end up with a little sculpture.

Kindergarten Art Travels Update

Kindergarteners are traveling all over the world and through time itself, and discovering all that the the New York artists of the 20th century have to offer.

Having finished their trip to Europe, where they learned how to "catch lines" and the difference between 2D and 3D, the students are currently finishing their study of DYNAMIC CUBISM with Jacob Lawrence. They are going to paint with Mark Rothko and Georgia O'Keiffe nextbefore moving on to our next country!

With these artists, we are focusing on primary colors and how we can change organic shapes into geometric ones without losing the meaning of what we are trying to visually describe. Students are having a blast and I am impressed at how many good questions come from our art history discussions!

Birds of a Feather - Musical Conversations

Central Idea: We communicate with each other by listening, watching, and responding through sound and movement.

Beginning Recorders - we begin not with "oops you're playing the wrong note" but rather, "Oh wow!  you sound like a real bird!"  

Here is an excerpt of a Rainforest Dawn Chorus of Birds - 3rd graders fly to their own perches in the Music Rainforest, and with lights off, communicate with each other through their own bird calls.  Video is Black - only audio.  ("Birds of a Feather" composed by Sofia Lopez Ibor)

3 recorder rules: Chin Rest when not playing, Left hand on top (prepares for future woodwinds), and Warm Air.  


Kindergarten: Mirroring Movements and Rhythms

Kindergarten is just now finishing up our Working Together unit.  We had a lot of fun experiencing new and more complex elements of music and movement together!

 Here are just a couple of pictures from our mirror exercise where one child was the leader and shared their creative ideas before switching places and giving their partner a chance to create and show. I apologize that these photos are from a couple of weeks ago. 

First Grade Explores Symbols and Textures By Body Mapping

First grade worked tirelessly on their body maps these past two months. They explored making symbols for themselves with the help of a questionnaire.

Students also studied how maps themselves are symbols for an expansive amount of land that, looked from up above, takes on interesting shapes.They have brainstormed about "body memories" (ex. broken arm), important emotions (ex. Getting a pet dog for a birthday), and their favorite places in the whole world (the beach was very popular). The questionnaire helped them to shape what would be communicated in their maps.  Many kids included cities with people's names that are important to them. Some even made sanctuaries for their favorite animals, real or imagined.

Students also explored with texture as they applied different painting techniques to their oceans and lands and added elements of collage to suggest sands, oceans, grasslands, lava, or metropolises.

This has been the first year in which students showed themselves so focused and invested in this project. The result is a multi-layered, neat andimaginative work of art. Good job, everyone!

3rd Grade Art: Artistic Cultural Traditions

     Third grade students have finished our first project in our Unity of Inquiry, Art from Many Cultures.  To celebrate Dia de los Muertos, people come together to remember friends and family members who have died through making artwork, cooking, decorating/cleaning graves, playing music, dancing and having a party in their honor. The Ofrenda celebrates the life of family member, a friend or a pet who has died. Our students have made some very powerful works of art that illustrate symbols of memories with nearly every object they drew. 

Student Sketchbooks with brainstorming notes and practice drawings. Also, Final Ofrendas in process.

     We also reviewed the concept of Pattern by creating a patterned border around their 3-D Ofrenda. We practiced several spatial skills in drawing and also worked to make their artwork stand out or have Emphasis by outlining and layering colors evenly. Students practiced using a ruler, creating accurate folds and finally cutting and taping to create a 3-D Form to use as the Ofrenda box.

Ofrenda Sculptures created with Model Magic in process. (This is quite popular air dry clay! FYI: It can be purchased at many craft stores including Jo-Ann Fabrics.)

Next, students will sculpt their person or animal using model magic (air dry clay).  They will also draw the bones of their skeletons after creating Observational drawings in their sketchbooks. 

Sorting Group Activity done with table groups - Helping students to notice the many differences and the few similarities between Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos.  

4th Grade Art: Art is Human Nature!

The fourth graders have completed their artwork for our “Art is Human Nature” Unit of Inquiry.  We were inspired by the Paleolithic cave paintings created by early humans. Students had an excellent time learning about Carnivores, Herbivores, the Bering Land Bridge and theories for the extinction of the many awesome Mega Fauna that roamed our Planet thousands of years ago! Did you know that Saber Tooth Tigers, Camels, Giant Sloths, Mastodons and Dire Wolves all used to inhabit North America?

We studied the natural materials and tools that Homo sapiens used to create works of art. The students also developed their own theories to try and answer WHY and HOW cave paintings were created. Students also analyzed contemporary art that takes inspiration from Cave Art.

Here is a link to an interesting website that took us on a virtual 3-D tour of the Lascaux caves in France.  http://www.lascaux.culture.fr/index.php?lng=en#/fr/00.xml

If you have your own Pinterest account, you can also view more of the teaching resources for this unit by clicking the following link: https://www.pinterest.com/harpole_s/art-is-human-nature/

Some teaching resources on Sarah's Cave Art Board via Pinterest

Some teaching resources on Sarah's Cave Art Board via Pinterest

Students work together to assemble a huge Megaloceros “Irish Elk” puzzle that was painted by to class of 2015.

Students work together to assemble a huge Megaloceros “Irish Elk” puzzle that was painted by to class of 2015.

Up Next, we’ll begin our Fiber Arts Unit creating woven tapestries and plush creatures.


2nd Grade Art: Artistic Observations Unit

2nd Grade - painting Textures!

To prepare for their Sky watercolor paintings, the second graders have explored 15 different watercolor techniques! We experimented with dry brush, wet on wet, wet on dry, graded washes, straw blowing, sgraffito, plastic wrap, salt, glue texture and lift (to name a few).  

The students also reviewed vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines adding tape in different configurations on their watercolor paper.  They have been proud to learn these techniques and have also been quite amazed by the great number of ways we can manipulate watercolor paints to create a variety of textures! 

One student tries out painting techniques and another is painting a sky by observing details from real life photographs. 

One student tries out painting techniques and another is painting a sky by observing details from real life photographs. 

A student selects their sky photo from a binder full of diverse, beautiful skies. We have also learned about different types of clouds during this unit. 

A student selects their sky photo from a binder full of diverse, beautiful skies. We have also learned about different types of clouds during this unit. 

2nd Grade - Musical Legos!

2nd graders have been focusing on working together to show, play, step, sing, and clap a steady beat together.. using circle games, shoelaces, jump rope, drums and xylophones.  

We have been playing musical stories, like "The House that Drac Built" where certain repeating  words and phrases turn into musical rhythms and sound effects.  

It's a little bit like musical Legos - where at first we put together a set from instructions and end up with a perfectly good truck or spaceship, but then three days later those cool wings get repurposed for an even better spaceship, made up of parts from other sets.  In 2nd grade music we are learning to take a whole melody, and break it into a few different parts - to be put back together on different types of instruments!  

Each melody might have some repeated notes, or some stepping notes that go up or down - right now it's a melody with 4 pitches, "No One in the House.  When we divide it into instrument groups, the children sing along with the words, and wait to play their assigned part within the whole song.  The combined effect of 4 different melodic and rhythmic groups is like putting a musical puzzle together in real time - the whole class becomes a small orchestra!

Here's an example, enjoy!

4th Grade - Blending in, and Standing out

4th graders have been practicing Blending in to the group energy and sound, while also Standing out in a musical way.  As soon as musicians begin Standing out, it seems that the rest of the group starts Blending with the outstanding work.  We have practiced this through many different activities - Vocal warm-ups, Folk dance, Creative movement, Clapping games.  

These activities provide a foundation for our study of African games and songs this year: We started the year with a Zimbabwean game song, "Bo Tendere" which translates to "let's show the elders what we can do!"  We also have a three-part song in a Congolese language, "Si Si Si (Banaha)" that we have begun breaking into a round or canon for 3 part vocal harmony.  Amazing.  

We have practiced counting off our vocal warm-up in different languages, and for a partner clapping/counting game from Ghana, "Practical Numbers" we have begun counting in different languages while others improvise melodies on bass xylophones.  

We are now beginning to orchestrate music for a landscape poem - "Blue is the Sea," (music composed my Sofia Lopez Ibor) which will soon be collaboratively re-written by students - they will compose a landscape poem in their track languages.  Using only colored paper as a score, the first day we sang this poem together one student exclaimed, "That was awesome."   - and that was BEFORE we added recorders to the mix.  

Capoeira - guest artist Dec5-Dec15

5th graders will have the opportunity to learn about Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art.  My friend Dilaho, a Capoeira Mestre will be visiting 5th grade music classes from Dec 5-Dec15.  Each ABCD group will have two lessons on this conversational music and movement art form with a rich history. 

In preparation we learned clapped, and danced a couple Brazilian songs, one adapted from capoeira, "O Ba Ba," and another Brazilian song "Baiao" and we watched and discussed this wonderful video about capoeira:  



Strings Dec 6, 2016- 1st & 2nd Grade Music Field Trip

On Tuesday December 6, First and Second graders will be taking two charter buses to Woodstock Elementary for a Kinderkonzert by members of the Oregon Symphony String section, entitled: 

Strings: "Classical Capers - Opposites" - December 6

A sunny day after weeks of rain, making noise after being quiet, or a restful night after an action-packed day… opposites are what make life interesting and fun. Join our string players as they explore musical opposites and see how they work together to create an exciting spectrum of sound. This will give our students experience hearing many of the instruments in the String family of the Symphony Orchestra.

Please have the children wear their Blue TIS t-shirt, and dress appropriately for the weather - could be cold or rainy while loading and unloading the buses.

Cello & Drums

The music room has a couple of new instruments this year, thanks to your generous contributions to Run for the Arts.  

We now have a 3/4 size cello!  Students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th will have an opportunity to play the cello as a harmonic accompaniment - beginning with pizzicato on open strings C & G.  

Last year we returned a drum set to a TIS family that had lent it to the music program for years - and we were able to replace it!  Thanks for your support of the Arts at TIS.


Third graders have met their recorder!  Each student has a soprano recorder assigned to them for three years from 3rd through 5th grade.  We begin recorder lessons by exploring "extended techniques"  - the music room is filled with field recordings of an Indonesian rainforest dawn chorus, and each student takes their recorder apart and experiments with the head joint to make their own bird call sounds.  

This activity marks the beginning of a "Musical Conversations" unit, where we will explore different ways that musicians (and birds?!) listen to each other and communicate through sound.

Greetings from the First Grade Art Teacher

Hello, parents! For those of you who are new to our community, welcome! This is Carolina Barros, your child's first grade Art teacher. This school year will mark my seventh at TIS. This is my third year teaching first grade, and I have been developing the curriculum to both complement what students have learned and to hone in on new concepts such as symmetry, texture, pattern, symbolism, etc. 2D and 3D skills will continue to be perfected and students will start to develop their own artistic mark.
  First grade is a crucial time for young artists: 6-7 year olds usually have an increasing awareness of themselves socially, which can sometimes place mental barriers when they start to compare their artistic abilities with those of other students. They also love to be recognized for their skills as individuals, allowing for art to be an outlet:  students will see they are not alone on their journey. Hopefully students will also realize, throughout art this year,  that:
* An artist's idea for a project sometimes changes, and it's OK
*A previously planned artwork can sometimes turn out different from its plan, or not work at all, and that is also OK
*Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses- everyone can contribute their strengths and work on their weaknesses as artists
*Every artist is different and makes unique art- Everyone can have a different mark/ idea/ way of thinking, so long as all sides can be respected

  This year will be filled with new discoveries in the principles of art and will include many projects that willspark creativity and expression while also acquiring new techniques in painting and sculpting.
  We're currently turning our bodies into maps, and have defined many symbols for ourselves. Through many mixed media techniques, we will be able to explain a little bit about ourselves and the important happenings in our lives. Jill Berry is the artist we are exploring currently, as she also turns parts of her body into maps and explores symbols for herself.

  I've attached theFirst Grade curriculum to this email in case you have not had a chance to read it. Looking forward to this year! As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or to share art thoughtsyour child has had outside of the classroom- I absolutely love to hear those!
See you around campus(es),

Early Childhood Music: Welcome to this school year!


My name is Kami Richards and I am so happy to be your child's music teacher.  It has been wonderful this week getting to see familiar faces and having the joy of meeting new ones. It is going to be an exciting year full of musical adventures and fun. I believe that each child is a natural musician full of talent that is just waiting for a chance to shine, whether through voice, instrument or rhythm support. All are equally important. My background is in Kodaly and Orff teaching pedagogy which means I will be using lots of dancing, singing, and games to teach musical elements. We will be exploring the world around us and the different ways we get to interact and support each other in our creative community.

In order to create a safe and engaging environment, I encourage parents to share with me a few details about your child's interests, strengths, struggles and medical information that might hinder their musical experience, this includes anything related to hearing, dancing and movement.

Greetings from the Art Room! 2nd-5th Grades

My name is Sarah Harpole and I am the Art Specialist for 2nd-5th grades at TIS. I am so happy to be your child's teacher for the next four years! I love being a part of the TIS community. I am really looking forward to helping your child get creative with a wide range of hands-on experiences in the art room. If you see me around campus, please help me out by introducing yourself!
Thanks in advance for reading!

Sarah Harpole
Art Specialist 2nd-5th Grades

P.S. Please share the attached Art Class Expectations with your child. We have been discussing the expectations during this first month of school. When students know and follow these expectations, we have more time to make art! :)
Important Information:
Since the nature of creating Art can sometimes be messy, please try to make sure that on the day when your child has Art, they are wearing clothes that are not too precious to them. We use a wide variety of materials in the art room, and many of them can leave stains on clothing. (To keep track of their schedule remember the following, If your child had Library today, tomorrow they will have Art, then Music, then P.E. Their schedule always follows the sequence of "LAMP" or "AMPL" or "MPLA" or "PLAM" - All are the same sequence.)
I also am trying to improve the supply of Art Shirts especially for the upper grades. They often don’t want to wear and/or do not fit into the smocks. If your child wants to pick out an old but clean T-shirt to donate the cause, that would be great! Feel free to just drop off T-shirts at the office or set them on our desk in the art room.

Art Curriculum:
The TIS art program uses a spiraling curriculum, where ideas, concepts, skills, media, and processes are introduced and revisited throughout a student’s educational journey at TIS. The PYP curriculum model helps students explore ideas and build upon skills to deepen their learning. All 2nd-5th graders start with a Collaborative Art Unit. This year, second graders are working within their LAMP group (A, B, C or D group) to design some amazing artwork that will be displayed most of the year in Stearns Hall. 3rd, 4th and 5th artists are in the process of working with a partner to create an abstract painting on a wooden board that will be displayed on the playground fence for many years to come. We are working in partnership with our Parent Network's, Campus Beautification Team to improve the aesthetics of our school's shared spaces.

Art Department Volunteer/Support Opportunities:
Run for the Arts: April 19th (EC Campus) and April 20th (Main Campus) - This fundraiser is the main way that our Visual Art and Music programs are funded at TIS. In addition, it’s a fun and healthy way to foster our sense of community and support for one another. Without this fundraiser, it would not be possible for us to deliver amazing art and music programs to our students. Please remember to help out by filling out your pledge sheets. Try to come and cheer on the kids if you can! It is all so appreciated!
The Art Show: In the spring, we will fill the halls with two pieces of each student’s best work from the year for a Giant Art Show. It is a massive undertaking and we thankfully have had great help the last two years. Between Carolina and I, we spend more than 70 hours over one weekend...yes one weekend, putting up the art show. That amount of time is even with the impressive volunteer efforts last year of approximately 85 hours of collective volunteer help! It's all worth it when we see the fabulous creative work our artists are so proud to display. Their work is displayed in Stearns Hall for a few weeks in the late spring.  What goes up, must also come down, remember your Volunteer hours...:)
Field Trips: Every year, 4th graders go the the Portland Art Museum and 5th graders take a field trip to the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC). Please consider getting signed up in our system, so you can be ready to chaperone for any school field trip that may be in need of your help.
Ongoing Help for the Art Teachers: We can always use more help hanging student work and keeping supplies organized and well cared for. What a great way to volunteer your time for the school! If you ever have a bit of extra time to help display fabulous works of art by our TIS artists or help with a organizational project in the art room, please email me at sharpole@intlschool.org or sarahh@intlschool.org.
General Class Requirements:
(Please see attached Art Classroom Expectations Poster for more details)
All students are expected to:
-Demonstrate respect for themselves and their classmates
-Be responsible for the art materials and resources
-Put forth their own best effort at all times
-Explore imagination and demonstrate critical thinking skills
-Dress in appropriate clothing for engaging in the studio process (we can get messy!)
-And last but not least, HAVE FUN!


PreK Art News!

Hello! This is Carolina Barros, your child's Art teacher. I am delighted to meet my new little students and am already amazed at what they are creating during art class!
This will be my seventh year teaching at TIS, and I consider myself very lucky to do what I love for a living- teaching as well as making art.

I am a fierce believer that art and music are just as important a part of the curriculum as spelling and math:
Children exposed early to the arts have increased fine motor skills, are better problem-solvers and have a better understanding of critical thinking skills than children who were not exposed to the arts early on (http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/the-importance-of-art-in-child-development/).
 The benefits are endless, and it all starts with understanding lines and shapes, two recurring elements which we will talk about constantly throughout this year.
Please feel free to contact me at any time during the year via email- I love to hearabout how the students are implementing what they learn in art class to their daily lives!
I'm also including here an attachment to our PreK art curriculum- I'm looking forward to seeing the amazing creativity and problem-solving skills the PreK classes will bring to the art table this year!
See you around the campus(es),