Art Teaching Tips

Curriculum For Arts and Humanities

Teaching Idea

Mary Harrison; Classroom Teacher

Using A Student As A Model...

"Basically, you place a white art sheet about A3 size onto a wall, make sure it is placed at the exact height of your student's head. Next the student stands sideways in front of the sheet. The teacher now turns on the overhead projector, which is facing the student, about a meter or so away. As you will see, the shadow or portrait of the student now appears on the white art paper. Next a fellow student ,or in the case of younger children, the teacher, draws the outline of the students portrait on the art paper. The said student now paints his/her portrait in, in black. The result is very dramatic and we have had great fun with visitors to our classroom, guessing which child matches which portrait. The students loved it! I first learned of portraits in college."

Teaching Idea

Celebrating Your Cultural Heritage
Frank, 5th Grade Teacher: Los Angeles, CA

"Introduce students to the theme of cultural heritage and to artists' selection of subject matter related to cultural heritage. Place students in small groups to collaborate to create a bulletin board that celebrates the class's cultural diversity and an assemblage that explores their own heritage through the arts, specifically visual arts. Have them research different artists that represent culture in their works. Once the bulletin board project is complete, have students follow-up with a story about what the collage tells about them as a class."

Teaching Idea

Art as Multicultural
Michelle, Senior High School Teacher: Seattle, Washington

"Expose your students to a variety of art forms with a multicultural perspective. ArtsEdNet provides a series of art prints and curriculum materials that provide a powerful way to teach about diverse cultures and peoples through their art. This is an online version of works that represent a variety of cultural themes. Students will appreciate the discussion questions and teachers will appreciate the convenience of having such a collection of art form available at the click of a button."

Teaching Idea

The Difference Between Two Dimensional and Three Dimensional
Marie, Primary Grade Teacher: Staten Island, NY

"Show a picture or a work of art with a hat. Explain that the picture is two dimensional. Show a real hat (any hat) to reinforce the understanding of three dimensional. Tell the students that they will be making a hat that they can use for a special event (like a celebration, i.e., birthday). Give students a paper plate (to be used as a base) and construction paper with crayons and/or markers or anything that can be used to decorate their hat. Once they create their hats, ask them to explain the difference between two and three dimensional form."

Teaching Idea

Sandpainting: Navajo Art
Barbara, 4th Grade Teacher: Burlington, VT

"Show your students a series of Navajo sandpaintings and explain the traditions of history and healing. To learn to appreciate the Navajo sacred art of sandpainting, your students can make sandpaintings using the subject matter of their choice. They will need to practice drizzling the sand between their thumb and forefingers to make fine lines and to fill in designs. They can draw a simple image on sandpaper, cardboard, or Masonite squares of between six and twelve inches. They can outline one object at a time with white glue, then drizzle sand over the glue. Allow the outlines to dry, then fill in objects with glue and add sand."

Teaching Idea

The Art of Forgery
Cathy, Middle School Teacher: Pittsburgh, PA

"Tell students that they are going to become detectives for a day. They might be asked how they would feel if they went into an art museum and saw the best art work that they had ever made--with somebody else's name on it! Or an exact copy of it that they never made--with their name on it. That has happened to many famous artists, and sometimes they are no longer alive to be able to tell anybody about it. But Albrecht Durer, the famous German artist who worked in the early 1500s, did know that people were copying his work and passing it off as original Durers. He tried to stop the forgers, but couldn't manage it. Ask students what they might do in a similar situation. Would they get upset if someone tried to forge their art? Why or why not? Would it make anyone put his or her own name on it instead of theirs? What if the forger gave them all the money received for it? What if the forger's work were much worse or, on the other hand, actually better than theirs? If they did want to stop the forgeries, what would they do? Then show a range of slides or reproductions. Ask students to say which work a prospective forger would find hardest to fake. Easiest? Most worth the effort? Least worth it? Why? (Keep assuring students that there are no certain answers, but, rather, sound opinions that can be supported.) If reproductions are used and placed around the room, students could be given sets of cards with questions like those above on them (one to a card), and they could then get out of their seats, move around to see each reproduction, and place underneath the card they think most appropriate. A follow-up discussion would be aimed at eliciting their reasons for choosing certain works."

Teaching Idea

"The Super Duper Class Portrait"
Lisa Kunrow: Queens Anne Liberty School

"As a class, I have students create a drawing. I usually have students take turns going up to the board and give them 30 seconds to draw something (once they get the chalk). Once the person is done, the next student picks up where they left off. You can ask students to create pictures of anything (appropriate, of course.) If you want to make it harder, add a theme. Tell students to draw an animal or place. It's really neat to see everyone's perspective."