Artists in Everyone – Top 4 ideas
My top 4 (not 5? Not 10? No, I don’t need to be pingenholed by a specific round number.) Art activities. Ready?
Art is dead. Isn’t it? It seems so sometimes in public schools that artistic endeavors tend to go the way of the dodo. It’s hard to find time in the day to do art education when you don’t have a test forcing you to cover the material.
In our state, we have yearly art assessments we give, but they really aren’t graded. Our scores aren’t printed and made public. Parents don’t come to you and pound on your door, demanding why their child earned below average on their art assessment. It just isn’t a priority in our leaving children behind age.
Of course, I may be biased because I have a theatre background, but I truly believe that keeping a foot in the artistic world helps you be a more rounded person, and the research shows that artistic activities help you access more of your brain function. Kids who have an opportunity to have art experiences, do better in many subjects.
Of course, where do you get the time? The answer is simple – you’ve got to do it during reading, or history, or math…slip it into the lesson without them even knowing it. Sometimes they look at me with a puzzled expression – “wait a minute Mr. E….is this Art?”
Nope. It’s math…with a dash of art thrown in for good measure.
So, how do you do it? “What if I don’t know anything about art?” you say. “What if I’m a terrible artist?”
Funny enough, most of the teachers out there are great artists, they just don’t think of themselves that way. I’m terrible at putting together a nice collage or bulletin, but a lot of my peers put me to shame in that category. I’m not any great shakes at classic drawing art anyway. I’m more of a writing, photography, abstract paper mache kind of guy. But we don’t need to be locked into “art” as “pictures”. Art is just expression.
So, a few ways to incorporate art into the curriculum, for those teachers, homeschoolers, moms and dads and caregivers out there in this crazy old world of hours: My top 5…
1) In history, check out a few classic scuptures. Greek, Roman – probably nothing too revealing for the younger kids, but there’s some good stuff out there. You could even do the acropolis or the pyramids – some example of classic art or architecture. Get a pic from google, and give everyone a copy. Obviously talk about the time period – who the egyptians were, where Greece is today, etc…
Then have them sketch their own example of the work. Depending on age, they might take 5 minutes or an hour on it. We did this with a local sculpture, and some did a slow, methodical job and some flew through. It’s all good (See Kassy’s pic above)
2) Math Problem solving – For some reason my kids never want to draw a picture when they have a word problem. For me, it always helps me to help them visualize the story problem. So, sometimes I’ll make it a requirement – you HAVE to draw the story out. Or maybe have to do it with magazine clippings, and make a story problem answer collage.
For example, if the question was – “Dan wants to buy a sandwich and soda for lunch. He can get a roast beef or a turkey sandwich, and he can get lemonaid, sprite, or coke to drink. What are all the ways he can have lunch?” – they’d have to actually draw all the turkey sandwiches with color, or cut out foods from a magazine (or find pics online for younger ones who need technology practice!)
3) Color science – this is a simple and always fun lesson on light absorption. Just get some paints together and experiment what the blends will come out as. Have them make a hypothesis, then test it. Remember, when you see purple paint, really what the paint is doing is absorbing all the other spectrums of light EXCEPT the blue and the red, which is bouncing back to your eye. So if you mix red and blue, you’ll get purple.
4) Snowy day? (like today) – Make snow sculptures inside. Then watch them melt to discuss forms of matter, molecular movement to make those forms of matter, what matter is…go crazy. Hey…why didn’t the rocks on my snowman’s face melt when the snow did?
I’m sure I could think up 3 more, but that’s all for now. 🙂 Have a great day – go out and learn something!
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