IntegratED Classroom Learning Experience: Visual Arts
Classroom learning experiences are powerful, effective, engaging, and did we mention fun! :) Classroom learning experiences can also take on many different forms. Last week we discussed classroom learning experiences that were movement focused. If you missed that blog, go check it out!
This week we are focusing on the arts. Now, if you are anything like me (Kara), you hear the word art and immediately start to panic. But don’t worry! Perfection is not the goal. This art is meant to let students express their thinking, their learning, their creative side. We want to show you how the power of classroom learning experiences and the power of the arts can come together and create unforgettable learning in your classroom.
Writing Storyboards: Provide students with a set of squares to plan out their story using drawings. Some students have a very difficult time writing down their story in order. Having students draw their story in order will provide them a visual support to verbally tell their story, get their story all out on paper, and give them a tool to look back on when it's time to write.
Picture This Window: Have students draw a picture on paper slightly longer than a 5x7 frame. Use a 5x7 frame to put their picture into a window. Provide students with different multimedia (crayons, chalk, markers, etc). This visual activity has many different uses. For example, you could have students write a poem to their picture, create a story through a different perspective of someone looking into the window, or create a visual to go with a research paper like a habitat.
Symmetry Face: Take a picture of your students and print them in 5x7 or 8x10. Cut their face in half and glue it to a white paper. Have students draw the other side of their face.
Build it: In science your students have been learning about atoms and molecules or maybe different landforms. To show understanding, have students create a model using playdough, clay, plaint or other media.
History Connection: Take a look at some of your social studies standards. In our state standards it asks for 2nd graders to recognize and describe culture influences people including Indigenous Tribes of Wyoming. This would be a great opportunity to look at the different drawings, clothing, pottery etc. Then have students create their own piece.
Art Collaboration: Put students into small groups and give them different art supplies. Ask the groups of students to work together to create some type of art piece. This could be centered around what you are learning in class or free creativity. The point of this activity is to have students create together. You are looking for students who are listening to each other, giving their opinions, sharing, and being flexible. This is a great way to practice those soft (interpersonal) skills.
Classroom Tip: Try to use and provide different types of media for your students to create with. For example, give them paper, crayons, paint, watercolor, chalk, etc. Give them the tools to explore and find what they love. Remember every student is going to react differently to creating, give them time, the tools, and space to show you what they can do.
Visual arts can change the entire perspective of a student’s day in the classroom just by being supportive and encouraging their unique ideas. It also could knock down a barrier for them to understand vital content. As teachers we ask our students to produce a certain answer on standardized tests, a form of writing, a set answer in math, and so forth. Integrating the visual arts into their day provides some of those students the outlet to be themselves or a pathway to understanding content they might not have understood through a text. As teachers we need to become excited about learning in different ways and let students have more control of their knowledge and how they want to express it.
Megan and Kara are educational leaders, professional development experts, and current classroom teachers who are improving the way instruction is being delivered in the standard classroom.