New Albany fourth-graders recently celebrated their artwork by eating from sushi plates they created in art class.

New Albany fourth-graders recently celebrated their artwork by eating from sushi plates they created in art class.

"In art class, the students study the art and history of Henri Matisse for the first half of the school year and then in the second half of the year, they concentrate on Asian art, mainly Japan, China, and India," said art teacher Pam McDowell. "The big idea is that we go for depth versus breadth."

The students used clay to create the sushi plates. McDowell said the plates were fired, glazed and fired again in a kiln.

"The plates are food-safe and dishwasher-safe," she said.

To learn how some cultures from east Asia eat, the students created candy sushi and used their plates.

"I thought it would be a fun learning experience to have my students make sushi and since they are fourth-graders, we made candy sushi," McDowell said. "One of the components of sushi is the presentation, so when they were done they displayed their sushi on their plates and I took a photograph of the student - that's if they wanted me to - which I will give them a small copy of.

"I felt it was the culmination of the lesson to be able to really use the artwork they created in my class."

The unit extends into the classroom somewhat.

"The study of Asian art is mostly in art but we do some integration of other subjects," McDowell said.

McDowell said the next piece of the Asian unit has begun.

"Right now, they are learning how to do a traditional Japanese style of painting called sumi-e ink painting," she said.

They recently created paintings of bamboo and wrote haiku poems that will be mounted on the bamboo. Before the poems are mounted on the bamboo paintings, the lesson will be extended to the computer lab where the students will type the poem, choose the font and decide how it will be laid out, McDowell said.

The Asian unit is only for fourth-graders. Second-graders study Latin American art, third-graders study Native American art and fifth-grader study African art.