Lower School Art and Design

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OBJECTIVE: Exploration of Art Materials, Introduction to Vocabulary, Practice Drawing, Painting, and Modelling. Our Subject matter will be the Person, the Place, or the Thing. This is an introduction - a guided tour - of BASIC Perceptual and Compositional skills that will be needed later in Middle and Upper School. Our Mission in the Lower School is to lay a proper Foundation for PreK to Grade 5 Development in the Visual Arts. Towards a Mindful Heart: Developing Vitality, Sensitivity, Courage, Intelligence and Compassion in the Visual Arts.

Drawing is like writing and painting is a language.

We will explore how and why people make art and we are going to make art ourselves�

The areas that the course will cover are drawing, painting, printmaking, the camera arts (photography video, film, and cartoon animation), sculpture, architecture, graphic arts and crafts.

We will talk about what we are doing by learning and applying the Elements of Art and Principles of Design:

ELEMENTS of Art: Line - Shape - Form and Color - Value - Texture

Principles of Design: Balance - Emphasis - Unity - Movement - Rhythm - Pattern - Space - Proportion

Classroom expectations:

1) All students will participate in the creation of art projects.
2) Students will proceed at their appropriate stage of development.
3)All students will enjoy art class regardless of curriculum pressure or external issues.

NOTE TO PARENTS: Working across the curriculum with the classroom grade teachers is important here. Everything a student thinks and does in an art class makes them stronger in their other courses. Please encourage your child to take their time and go for quality over quantity or speed. Make an effort to keep up or cross over all their other classes. "Children show great enthusiasm for art in the elementary grades and they are eager to take additional art courses when given an opportunity to do so". There are many ways to do this. To schedule a conference or have conversation please contact me here:




Above: Teaching Art in China. Three pictures of Grade 1 and Grade 2 in Qingdao, China. 2016

As an integral part of the English Program at Qingdao Laoshan New Century School all lower elementary students participate in an Art Class in conjunction with the EFL teachers to provide a safe and exploratory environment for students to practice (play) with their language skills ( an alphabet ,composition, spelling, and more). Although the Art Curriculum has a heavy language component, it is nevertheless an Art Class...and it is fun.

Students also take another Art Class that follows their National Curriculum. There is much overlap here and there is collaboration (NOT competition) from the Chinese staff. Seeing foreigners and Chinese work together in a creative setting can lead to innovation in the future.

Without freedom of choice and experimentation there can be no creativity; without creativity there is no life. There has been great progress in Chinese Art Education since my first visit in 1986, but we still aim to strike a balance between East and West, Communism and Capitalism. Perhaps we should ditch those 2oth Century labels and try to move on...intellectual property is only one issue, perhaps the most current issue. Not to disagree with the Center for Strategic and International Studies when they say, "In part because of past technology transfer and in part because of heavy, sustained government investment in science and reasearch, China has developed its own innovative capabilities. Creating new Intellectual Property in the United States is more imortant than keeping IP from China." The same can be said from the Chinese side. Isn't this a circular argument?

It is better to find ways that we can work together for the benefit of all nations and all people.

The issue about Creativity & Innovation is about Freedom of Expression, as much as Necessity is also the Mother of Invention. There is little freedom in closed societies where fear is the main motivation, or where necessity drives creativity. This is not the way. Open societies, although vulnerable, are the only places where artists - and scientists and engineers - can thrive and explore and create. Unforgiving and insecure environments are counterproductive. Nothing an artist likes more than being told what and how to create or find an innovative solution. This approach - proven time and time again throughout history - simply DOES NOT WORK. Guidance and encouragement is not the same as being told what to do - that's a real turn off. Artists will always reject direction. The more heavy handed the more it will fall on deaf ears. It's what artists do. Nobody likes to be told what to do...or else. Try this approach with your students and they will fail.

I have enjoyed working as an artist and an art teacher in Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas - I have seen and heard some ridiculous things in Art Class. If anything, it is a daily struggle/joy learning to express and appreciate the Good and the Beautiful through the eyes of others, to remain respectful, and to seek common ground.

Below: Grade 3 and Grade 4 Art Class at Qingdao Laoshan New Century School