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917 "C" Street
San Rafael, California 94901
(415) 457-4878
yia@youthinarts.org

Kindergarteners and First Graders Play With Clay

For our final project at Laurel Dell Elementary School, kindergarteners and first graders played with clay. Working with Sculpey builds strong fine motor skills, since the hard clay has to be softened by warm hands. Students used a maquette, a small model made of pipe cleaners as a structure, then built their clay creatures around it. We then tested beads for size, choosing the ones that fit to slide onto arms and legs. It was a challenge to squeeze the clay tightly around the form. Many students got quite creative with their people! We baked the clay to make it hard and more permanent.CAClogo_stackedRGB

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Laurel Dell Third Graders Make Comics

 

Third Graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School spent three afternoons making comics!  They based their stories on super heroes they designed and created. Each superhero had a special power they used to address a problem in their community. One wolf character breathed fire to light up dark places; another had special hands to help pick up trash. They learned about making speech bubbles, thought bubbles, and background, foreground and middle ground. They also practiced drawing characters in profile so they faced each other while talking. One challenge was drawing characters in profile instead of facing forward. This was a great exercise in practicing that a story has a beginning, middle and end. And something exciting happens! We used a worksheet with question prompt to help the process along.

After making their rough sketches, students copied their best lines onto Bristol board – popular for its smooth, shiny, durable surface. They used special cartooning pens for the final inking. Finally those who had time and interest added color using colored pencils.

 

 

 

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3rd Graders Prepare for Figure Sculpting

Students began thinking about Super Heroes several weeks ago working with Ms. Bowman. They talked about what makes a super hero, what is a problem in our community that a super hero could help solve, and what would that look like? They made beautiful pop up images of their heroes.

Now we are getting ready to create 3D sculptures of our super heroes! We need to know a little more about the human body, and how to show bodies in motion or performing their power. What does running look like? Swimming? Flying? Each student had a turn at showing their super hero pose, while the rest of the class artists practiced using their entire arm to draw FAST (30 seconds per pose).

Next we created a wire “skeleton” or armature. We practiced winding wire, then wrapping our armatures in foil. Students ended the day by drawing their works-in-progress in their art journals. Next week will be Papier Mache!

Thank you for your continued support: Laurel Dell PTA teachers, parents and students and the California Arts Council

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Entrances and Connections: Fifth Grade Architecture

By Architect and Educator Janine Lovejoy Wilford
When we meet in the architecture class, Ms. McCarthy’s fifth-grade students become an amazingly creative “office of architects” as we call ourselves.  The last two weeks, they worked on building models showing the connection between inside and out, and the importance of entrance.  Building on their geosphere studies, we discussed different door types and how the climate can affect the decision of placement and form.
First, they shaped “the client” using a pipe-cleaner.  This way they had a scale for their project and entrance.  From a flat piece of paper, they designed the door, cut it out so it would swing in the direction they designed, and added windows and other details on the façade using pens and white pencils.  Then, they folded their flat sheet and using glue, create a 3D model of a partial house, adding interiors and exterior details using recycled caps and other materials.   Afterwards, they measuredand drew a floor plan, to scale, of the walls and door of their model.  The focus on this part of the project was the process of seeing and drawing (observational drawing), a skill that is valuable to all (not just artists and architects!), in my opinion.  This drawing task was challenging for some students, but in the end they all completed thoughtful projects with determination and pride.
With all the models and plans in a row, we discussed the designs, and what are good attributes of a neighborhood.  This will lead us into the next week’s section; mapping and community assets of San Rafael, as we prepare for the “Real World” challenge of envisioning the future growth for San Rafael in 2040.

Thank you so much for your support: Laurel Dell PTA, teachers and students, UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN, Janine Lovejoy Wilford, and the California Arts Council

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Architects in Fifth Grade

The architects Shirl Buss and Janine Wilford have been working with fifth-graders at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael for a month now, and the work is amazing! Students have been practicing layout, design, scale, and model building as they prepare to tackle their big question: What do you desire for San Rafael in the year 2040?

For the “Real World Challenge” portion of their architectural residency, students will work collaboratively in hands-on in-class studios with architects and planners from Youth in Arts and UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN. We will build upon the work we did last year for the Resilient by Design Challenge. We will research and make proposals about San Rafael’s future—from a youthful, but informed perspective, with a special focus on selected areas of the city (downtown, canals, open space, etc.) We will incorporate the academic focus on earth systems and apply this research to our recommendations.  The students will have an opportunity to present to the General Plan committee members.

The San Rafael 2040 Plan: Students consider their own paths, what they want for themselves in 2040, and what they want for their CITY:

Lesson in GEOMETRY: 2D to 3D!

 

Learning about SCALE:

Thank you so much to the California Arts Council, the Laurel Dell PTA, Y Plan at UC Berkeley, and Wilford Architects for sharing your talents and energy with us!

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Daisy Come Home: First Grade Storytelling with Laurel Dell First Graders

Students practiced sequencing (before and after), and also reflected on all of our recent work with observational drawing, imaginative monster drawing, horizon lines, landscapes, and color mixing as they worked in teams of 2 or 3 to imagine the adventure a horse might have in Daisy Come Home. We put all of the images together in a book for the classroom, and now they can practice writing to add words to their part of the story. These students participated in the Walker Rezaian Creative Hearts project last year, and we are able to build on all of their prior knowledge.

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Admiring Finished Paintings

Daisy Come Home, By Ms. Nunez’ first graders and Suzanne Joyal (A mostly true story).

A long time ago, before there were cars and lights and motors, my great-grandparents Josie and Buggy lived with their horse Daisy on a farm near the ocean. Every day when the weather was good, Buggie would load his tools onto his wagon, harness Daisy to the front, and ride to the dock at the edge of the ocean. He would load his tools onto his rowboat. Before he got in his boat to row to an island, he would pat Daisy on the rump, and say “Daisy Go Home!”

And every day, Daisy would go straight home to Josie. At the end of the day, Josie would pat Daisy on the rump again, and send her back to the dock to bring Buggie home.

Until the day she didn’t come straight home, and went on an adventure all by herself! No one knows what she did. Where would YOU go if you were Daisy?

Following are a few of the imaginings of Ms. Nunez’ students. Daisy changed colors, went to the mountains, ate some apples and blueberries, made some friends, walked through a snow storm, went to Chuckie Cheese’s, got lost in a rainforest, and even met some dinosaurs!

Thank you for your support, California Arts Council!

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Resilient by Design, step one: the Flood Fair

San Rafael is one of ten sites around the Bay Area included in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, a year-long collaborative design challenge to help Bay Area communities improve their resilience to flooding, natural disasters and rising seas. Youth in Arts’ Architects in Schools leaders Shirl Buss and Rich Storek, working with their fourth grade students from Laurel Dell Elementary School, helped to bring the Flood Fair to life with their young energy, beautiful scale models, and engaged fourth grade interviewers and docents.

The Bionic Team including Bionic Landscape, WXY Studio, and PennDesign are working with the San Rafael community to prepare a suite of design ideas for the San Rafael community. The Bionic Team began the challenge asking, “Where in the Bay Area can our expertise help?” And now matched with San Rafael, they’ve been asking residents “What needs to be done and where are we starting from?” Their first public event was the Flood Fair, held this Saturday at Pickleweed Park.

Thank you to Laurel Dell Fourth graders for helping to promote the event and making it relevant for all ages:

The Flood Fair was wonderful!  Considering the challenging weather and date, there was a rousing turnout of local community members, allies and leaders.  The student participation added an important dimension to the overall effort to inform, engage and enlist the community in our response to Sea Level Rise!  Students interviewed visitors and asked them:

Thanks Mr. Pepe Gonzalez for your enthusiastic support of the students!  Thanks again Marcel, Sarah and Rich, for creating such compelling “hands-on” activities:  the ice melt, the “flow” of water, the Flo Mo and all the displays, food and energy!

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Members of the community admire the scale model

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Students made a model of San Rafael, and Laurel Dell after sea level rise

Students made a model of San Rafael, and Laurel Dell after sea level rise

This was a beautiful way to bring together many different facets of the community to create implementable solutions to the environmental challenges we are all facing!

Thank you for your support, California Arts Council!

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Second Graders Investigate Tulips

Youth in Arts has been working with the Marin County Office of Education to design a series of integrated arts lesson plans to help elementary school teachers implement their NGSS science standards. Miko Lee, Suzanne Joyal and Julia James have worked with more than 100 of elementary school teachers to introduce them to the lessons. Now, we are taking them into more classrooms. Please contact Suzanne Joyal at suzanne@youthinarts.org for more information on the lessons.

After 10 weeks of art with Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal, Mindy Green’s second graders at Laurel Dell Elementary applied their newly-acquired drawing and observation skills to the investigation of tulips to connect to their science unit. Students used magnifying glasses to observe their flower and then draw it, then very carefully took their flowers apart and illustrated every piece of the flower as they explored.

Students saved their discoveries inside of envelopes, and added diagrams of their finds to each envelope. They then combined all of the parts to make a study book of flower parts.

Next week students will demonstrate their knowledge as they design their own flowers–making sure that each flower has the right parts, and thinking about where their flower will grow, who will be attracted to its pollen and nectar.

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Thank you very much to the California Arts Council, and the Laurel Dell PTA for their very generous support of the arts in Laurel Dell.

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Resilient by Design Challenge at Laurel Dell

IMG_8117by Architect Shirl Buss
We are continuing to investigate the Resilient by Design Challenge project question: What will keep my family, friends, community and me—safe, strong, and prepared for floods, earthquakes, sea level rise, and other environmental challenges?

With the focus on the transect from the SF Bay to Laurel Dell school—through the canals and flatlands predicted to flood in the coming years—the students each took a site, and a theme (“Designs to Respond to Sea Level Rise” or “Building a Strong Community”).  The bar charts show the students’ preferences for different elements.

In our studio, the students created study models to scale, anticipating where their proposal will be situated along the San Rafael flatlands and canals. Next week we will critique the study models, and work together to knit all of the proposals into a cohesive urban design scheme.  A big challenge.

Architect Ann West will be rejoining us, and adding her brilliance to the mix.

Thank you for your support, California Arts Council!

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Super Hero Sculptures Morph into Pop Art–Laurel Dell Third Graders

Third graders at Laurel Dell have added some color to their Hero project as they designed logos for their creations.  How does a single picture tell a story? How do you show lightning hands, or super speed, or controlling fire? Students were able to experiment with tracing paper and carbon paper (new to them!) as they refined their logos. Several students decided their super hero would protect us all from fires.

Students culminated their Super Hero project by turning their super heroes into comic book illustrations. In the process students learned a little bit about Pop Art (Roy Lichtenstein) and the offset printing process (Ben Day dots reproduced by printing on bubble wrap).

Every step of this process encouraged students to imagine their creations in a more in-depth, concrete way. They have named their heroes, given them jobs and homes and friends, and are poised to create some wonderful stories with their heroes.

Thank you to the California Arts Council for their generous support of this project. CAClogo_stackedRGB

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