We Connect to Culture through Music and Dance

Fifth graders were treated to a visit by members of a Balinese Gamelan ensemble, Wahyu Dari Langit, meaning "revelation from the sky". The style is called Belaganjur, otherwise known as marching gamelan. It was traditionally used in Bali for Hindu cremation ceremonies, usually for several village members who have recently passed, involving a procession.

The instruments were made in Bali - Gongs from small to large play intricate patterns while "chang changs" play two interlocking syncopated patterns.  There are seven independent rhythms layered together in this example.  We noticed that interlocking rhythm patterns are found in other musical cultures as well, such as the Ghanaian drumming we studied earlier, as well as in Txalaparta music from the Basque region of Spain.  Another connection we made is that the Gyil, the Ghanaian xylophone we studied, is used for funerals as well.  

National School Library Month

April is National School Library Month.  What better way to celebrate than sharing with you some of the wonderful work we are doing in library class?  From 1st grade through 5th grade, we've explored books about the power of imagination, the joy of reading, and the ways that libraries transform lives and communities.


We are also working on grade-level appropriate library skills including how to care for books, selecting "just right" books, how to use the on-line library catalog, how the library is organized, and where to find information in the library and on-line.  Take a moment this month and ask your child what they love about library class and why they think we should celebrate school libraries.

4B Musicians of the Moment

Julian Benjamin Nigel Kais Alan Aaron Riley Sidonie Gwen Lucia Hina Harper Maia Kylie Midori Julia

On Thursday, April 6, music group 4B arrived to Stearns Hall just beautifully.  We spent no time waiting for Green Zone readiness.  Safe, Respectful, Responsible, and Fluent.

The class began immediately with a mature discussion about jazz elements, how they relate to democracy and freedom within an agreed structure with responsibility to the group.  Then, after watching Miles Davis perform "So What" with his band in 1959 (with John Coltrane on sax), we transitioned to learning a D minor pentatonic scale on recorders, kids helping kids, and once they were ready, we launched into a "swinging" jazz band.  We began a rotation to the drum kit, ride cymbal, improvised walking bass line, and recorder soloists and metallophone players were stepping in to the circle to improvise phrases with this new scale, all the while supported by their classmates. 

IB Attitudes:

Confidence: Feeling confident in their ability as learners, having the courage to take risks, applying what they have learned and making appropriate decisions and choices.

Cooperation: Cooperating, collaborating, and leading or following as the situation demands.

Creativity: Being creative and imaginative in their thinking and in their approachto problems and dilemmas.

Enthusiasm: Enjoying learning and willingly putting the effort into the process

Learner ProfilesOpen-minded and Risk-Taker

PreK Visiting Artist :)

Today PreK had a special performance by Rick Huddle. He came to help us wrap up our collaborative unit about How We Express Ourselves. His musical performance also highlighted how each person is a superhero and can help their friends and families with their special abilities like kindness, problem-solving skills and friendship. 

Call for Young Logo Designers! Our Northwest Association of IB World Schools needs a new logo!

What an excellent artistic design opportunity for our students! 

As we do not have time in our already tight schedules in the Art Room, we are passing the opportunity to participate in this contest to families. You may find the time to introduce the chance to create a logo for this fun contest at home.  ENJOY!


Here is the information you'll need:

As part of our celebration, we would like to invite IB students from the states we serve to participate in our celebration by submitting original artwork that will serve as the new logo for our organization.
The contest is open to any student at an IB school in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. All artwork needs to be submitted to the school IB Coordinator by June 1, 2017.  All artwork will be displayed on the NIBA website, and judging will be completed by June 15, 2017. All submissions become the property of the Northwest Association of IB World Schools.
The winner of the NIBA logo contest will have their artwork sent to a professional graphic artist for rendering, and the final artwork work will become the new logo for the organization.  Questions should be directed to Lynn King at king.lynn.c@aol.com
Art Work Criteria
1. One entry per student.
2. The artwork must be original and the student’s original creation. There should be no copyright violations. Unauthorized use of copyright materials will not be accepted for submission or judging.
3. All artwork should fit on an 8”x10” sheet, and a high-quality digital image must be submitted with the original work.
4. Artwork may not be signed on the front with the artist signature, initial or name. Any artwork with identifying characteristics will be eliminated from the competition.
Entry Form
1. The entry form must be completed and submitted to the school’s IB Coordinator.
2. The entry form must be signed by both the artist and a guardian/parent indicating that they have read the rules and criteria and that the artwork is an original piece of art.
3. Art entries must be submitted by June 1, 2017.
4. All submissions become the property of the Northwest Association of IB World Schools.






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5th Grade - Architectural Design Unit

Hello All,
The 5th graders have completed their Architecture Unit after several months of brainstorming, research, practice design plans and finally their completed blueprints of their own dream home. These plans show students' creativity and ability to think outside the box to create functional and interesting architectural plans.

Danish architect: founder and creative partner of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) since 2005. He is known for buildings that defy traditional architectural conventions and dimensions, ranging from representations of mountains to snowflakes. His designs incorporate sustainable development ideas and sociological concepts, along with sloped lines that are shaped to their surroundings. Students learned from this inspiring video by Bjark Ingels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIsIKv1lFZw

Danish architect: founder and creative partner of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) since 2005.

He is known for buildings that defy traditional architectural conventions and dimensions, ranging from representations of mountains to snowflakes. His designs incorporate sustainable development ideas and sociological concepts, along with sloped lines that are shaped to their surroundings.

Students learned from this inspiring video by Bjark Ingels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIsIKv1lFZw

5th Grade Blueprints - The ability to think outside the box is quite an important skill. 

5th Grade Blueprints - The ability to think outside the box is quite an important skill. 

   Our students use architectural symbols, speaking the visual and universal language of architectural and landscape design. The spatial planning aspect of this project can be particularly challenging. I am pleased to report that after this unit all of our students have improved their spatial planning skills and understanding of scale.
   They also identified renewable energy sources that would be appropriate for the environment/climate of their chosen dream home location and learned about how to design a home that utilizes passive solar energy. Their chosen location could be any habitable place on Earth. Students attempted to design a building that is appropriate for the location they chose.

   Please walk through Stearns Hall to appreciate their hard work, technical skills and creative vision.

5th Grade Blueprints hanging in Stearns Hall

5th Grade Blueprints hanging in Stearns Hall

Central Idea: Responsible architecture aims to create interesting, comfortable physical spaces while also considering natural resources and climate.

Lines of Inquiry:

  • designing aesthetically pleasing structures that are climate and energy responsive
  • analyzing a range of architectural styles to appreciate creativity and craftsmanship
  • communicating through symbols as the universal language of architecture

First Day Back!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Spring Break!

 I thought I would try to get back in the swing of things (and hopefully help myself to start posting more often) by showing some pics of what the music room looked like on our first day back. There is at least one picture from PK-1st graders doing everything from driving firetrucks to creating their own dance moves with Popsiko. I hope you enjoy! 

3rd Grade - Recorders are out of the BAG.  

3rd graders are now able to get a good tone with their soprano recorders, and they can self-correct if the tone is not sounding the way they want. Starting first with improvisations, they are now finishing their small group collaborative recorder compositions using B-A-G.  

Recorder improvisations take place using musical questions and answers, where the player asking the question improvises a melody and rhythm, and the player answering uses some of the rhythm and melody from the question, but adds something new in the answer.  

In English, it might sound like this: 
"What did you have for breakfast today?"  
"Today I ate a bagel for breakfast."

In music, the question can't end on the tonic (in our examples, G is the tonic, or "home tone") but the answer should, because it sounds more complete.  If the question sounds finished, that's like asking "What did you have for breakfast today, probably toast."  Leaves you nowhere to go.  

See the examples of the written compositions based on a rhythmic launchpad poem, "Acka Backa" - you can see the progression of rhythm notation over the words with letters written below, to a 2-line staff with notation written either on lines or the space between for G-A-B.  

Ask your child how they know which line is G.  If they know it, they're in "treble."  Same joke.  

4th Graders Explore Jazz Rhythms in Music

How is Jazz like Democracy?  Freedom within an agreed upon Structure.  

"But you have to LISTEN to each other... I mean, that's the point!" - Sandra Day O'Connor

4th graders exploring Jazz rhythms.  Our entry point for learning a Miles Davis piece, "So What" is through creative movement within a set structure.  

We then dropped in on a conversation between Sandra Day O'Connor and Wynton Marsalis:

..before learning the classic "So What" call & response pattern, using ... recorders! 

LowK finishes their Planning and Making unit!

LowK Art students have been making plans of people who somehow help others. It was great to participate in the brainstorming that went on during this unit, and the ideas the students came up with ranged from the more traditional (firefighter, police) to the very imaginative (Vigilante, robber who gives money to people).

If your child has not shown up with a found item sculpture of a tiny person this week, chances are this project will be in our upcoming EC art show!

Foun item Art

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.