Elementary art education and classroom instruction go well together. Most teachers understand intuitively that children and art are a great combination. They also know that students' artistic education should not be confined to an art class which occurs once a week or less often.
However, not all teachers promote art as effectively as they could. Here are some pointers on creating an appreciation for and a love of art in elementary children.
Make sure the children know that art comes in many forms. They tend to think of drawing as art, or perhaps painting or using markers. Because drawing is how all kids start out in art, they think of it as something two-dimensional. That is a very limiting vision that teachers can help expand.
Every time students are involved in creating anything, they should be reminded of its artistic characteristics.
For example, cutting out snowflakes for a holiday party as they study the science of snow is not just creating a craft; it is really creating beautiful three-dimensional art that reflects nature.
Other classroom crafts of any sort are really small artistic creations and children should be reminded of this. Your students are not simply being "crafty" but being artists as well as they add their own personal touches and embellishments to an established pattern.
I have had the opportunity to work with exchange students from Japan for several years. Quite commonly, they'll teach my children a few origami projects. I always remind children that origami is a Japanese art form, not just an interesting paper folding technique similar to making paper airplanes.
I think it's important to infuse the notion of artistic design into nontraditional areas. For example, a well-designed science experiment can truly be a small work of art if it accurately reveals useful insights.
Expanding this definition of art to all creative endeavors infuses an artistic approach into your curriculum and elevates your students' thinking. The "art of living" starts with an appreciation of art that we create through our actions every day.
Elementary art education is often on display in our school hallways. However, with a few pointers we can emphasize the impact of these artistic works on the learning process.
We want to be certain to let any observers know what standard the art is reinforcing. This helps people (other teachers, other children and administrators) understand that art is not just to be observed but be used to understand the world around us.
For example, when my class created these hall giants as part of a math measurement unit, I made sure that they were labeled with the standard that we used during the instruction.
Taping or pinning things to a wall is, of course, the easiest way to display most art since it tends to be two-dimensional. But look for innovative ways to display your students' creations, especially, if they are items that do not easily lend themselves to being attached to a flat surface.
During my school's "Reading Week," my students created these small hummingbirds, which featured prominently in one of the books we studied (Rudi's Pond by Even Bunting - kleenex warning!). These were hung with threads so they mimicked flying. Placing these small artistic works in their natural context enhanced their appreciation by the people who observed them.
Next: How to partner with your art teacher.
Click above to like this page. Click top-left button to like entire site. Comment below!
Elementary Art Education - Part 2
How to work with your art teacher