Elementary Visual Arts

The Elementary Visual Arts program at St. Paul American School Hanoi aims to promote global diversity, critical and creative thinking, and communication skills. We implement the National Core Art Standards to address four areas of creating, presenting, responding, and connecting through the arts.

In Elementary Visual Arts, students explore questions such as:

  • Why and how did the early prehistoric humans paint such sophisticated cave walls?
  • Why did the Ishtar Gate in Mesopotamian civilization use blue as the dominant color, and how was such a rare blue pigment made?
  • How did Hatshepsut, a female, rule Egypt as the first female pharaoh?
  • How did the Aztecs maintain floating gardens and create sustainability?

Students engage in problem-solving practices by engaging in an ‘engineering/design process’: identify the problem/task, research the problem, find possible solutions, choose one solution, create, and evaluate the results; adjust or redesign. This method prepares students for an innovative future in an ever-changing world.

Traditionally, art education in classrooms focuses mainly on instructing Elements of Art and Design, techniques and application of various media, introduction to well-known artists and their accomplishments, and production of 2D and 3D works of art. While these elements are incorporated in our lessons and students are exposed to such concepts, our focus remains on developing critical thinking, problem-solving, and verbal communication. By examining the arts of the ancient cultures through art history and integrated cross-curriculum lessons in Science, Literature, and Math, students form a global and broad understanding of how we have reached our place in today’s world.

Periodically, our students and their families participate in a whole community art activity, celebrating an occasion, or simply sharing and bonding over diverse perspectives. St. Paul Elementary Visual Arts students emerge with a greater perception of themselves and the world and its cultures. Studies confirm that art education leads to academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity within society. Art education also increases student concentration, confidence, and strengthens collaboration.

Secondary Visual Arts

Students participating in the Secondary Visual Arts program engage in learning about the elements and principles of design as a basis for compositions created in class. Students will explore a variety of artists, art processes, and materials such as drawing, painting, printmaking, and two and three-dimensional design. In addition, students learn how to reflect on and critique their own art and the art of their peers, and have the opportunity to display their artwork for the St. Paul community. Students also learn about the benefits of using their own works of art to help provide assistance to struggling communities in Vietnam and across the globe, by organizing and participating in charity events throughout the school year.

Art I is an exploration of the elements and principles of design. Students in Art I learn about the elements of art and the principles of design, as well as how to use different media such as colored pencils, paint and pastels. Many different projects are offered throughout the year where students can explore their artistic ability. At dedicated times of the year, large art shows are created to raise funds for charity, where students have the opportunity to create a large painting on canvas to sell.

Students progressing from Art I move onto Art II class. Students will already have a solid understanding of the elements of art and principles of design, and have a good idea about their own artistic ability and preferences. Art II offers quite a bit of freedom for students to express their artistic abilities through various projects, allowing them to work independently and make their own creative choices.

Secondary Digital Design

AP Art
The AP (Advanced Placement) Art course allows High School students to develop their skills in drawing as they explore different media and approaches. Artwork is created to reflect their own ideas and skills learned, which include investigating materials, processes, and ideas that artists and designers use. Acquired skills also include interpreting works of art and design, practicing, experimenting, and revising their own work, and communicating ideas about works of art and design. With assistance from their teacher, each student will determine whether they will build a portfolio during Semester 1 for AP Drawing or for 2D.

Middle School Design Tech 1
This class introduces the principles of design and allows students to begin exploring various digital imaging tools to which they can apply these concepts. Students will gain foundational skills in graphic design, web design, photo-editing, animation, and videography. Students work individually as well as a part of a team to tackle various design challenges and to make presentations about their design process and research.

Secondary 3D Design

Design Class provides students with hands-on, problem-based learning opportunities that introduce principles to develop, produce, use, and assess products related to design technology. Students develop individual and teamwork skills to develop their understanding of design and the technological world on a global level.

Inquiry and problem-solving are at the heart of the subject group. Design Class requires the use of the design cycle as a tool, which provides the methodology used to structure the inquiry and analysis of problems, to develop feasible solutions, to create solutions, and to test and evaluate the solution. In Design Class, a solution can be defined as a model, prototype, product or system that students have developed and created independently.

In Middle School Design I and Design ll, students acquire skills in 3D modeling using Sketchup, 3D printing, prototyping, technical drawing, coding, robotics, and manufacturing of products using the on-campus design lab.

High School Product Design is an extremely hands-on course that involves developing many practical skills used to create viable real world products. Topics covered in order to create final products include ergonomics, modeling, innovation and design, user-centered design and sustainability.