1st Graders and Hockey

For our unit on manipulative movement, 1st Graders were introduced to hockey sticks for the first time. Safety was a big focus (keep those blades down!) and they understood it was important to be responsible when using hockey sticks. They practiced some basic stick handling skills and were shown a wrist shot. Hockey is a bridge to 2nd Grade where they will begin playing actual floor hockey games and continue to develop their already obviously awesome skills!

PreK Hugs and Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day! I thought I would send something sweet your way by posting a few photos of PreK. This week we have been doing several songs that incorporate hearts, hugs, and valentine's. In some of these pictures, the kids are singing a song where they practice safely hugging themselves and others. We also have a few photos of kids passing out red hearts to each other as we sing about how nice our friends are....I hope you enjoy :). 

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.