I have been teaching elementary art since the Fall of 2007. Over the years, I have learned from numerous mistakes and found some things that worked pretty well. I am always happy to share anything I have that may help someone else, so I will post various resources including videos of some favorite lessons, Google Slides templates that can help gamify a choice based classroom, and links to participate in my annual Arts Madness tournament helping students to engage with art history by voting on a series of head to head matchups of diverse artists.
Check out the games page for some fun ways kids can explore the arts. I have some escape room challenges students have enjoyed as well as the game I use with my classes for my Friday game days. These games are great ways to check students' grasp of the academic content in a way that is fun and engaging.
Feel free to make a copy of this document to use in your classroom. Click to copy If you do use it, let me know how it works out for you. I would love to see pictures of your version in action. Tweet to me @woodarted
My Art Idea Lab
This is a resource I created for my students to support them during remote and hybrid learning, but it could also work beautifully in person if you want a choice based classroom with a bit of structure and guidance. I put together a slide document with video lessons demonstrating how to create a range of different projects using materials many students have available to them at home or in daycare and a number of other settings. Each lesson has learning targets, space to post a picture of their completed work and some audio instructions to help studnets navigate the document.
Many teachers I know have said gamified choice sounds great, but it also sounds like a lot of work. I'm going to be honest, it is a lot of work at the start, but once the system is in place, it is tons of fun and frees up your time because you don't have to do so much planning for each individual lesson. One huge time saver I can offer is my templates from year to year. The first year I did this, I made a videogame theme. Click below to make copies of my templates for each level. You can then alter the learning targets to suite your needs and your curriculum. As an added bonus, I also have numerous sample projects and demonstration videos embedded in these documents to support students.
Art History Discussion Prompts
One of the greatest ideas I stumbled across was my entry routine. When students enter my classroom, I have a slide posted with a work of art and students are asked to consider whether that work is "awesome" or "awful." I usually choose one student to lead the discussion. They are tasked with calling on peers to state their opinions, asking follow up questions as needed then they get the final word. The discussion only takes about 5 minutes but it gets kids actively engaged in analyzing and describing works from art history and it gives me about 5 minutes to do any physical prep that might be needed for the lesson. It can also be great as a tool to give focus to early finishers. You can give students the challenge to make their own version of the work of art on the board. Make a copy of my doc for a collection of artworks with discussion prompts
Virtual Art Gallery Templates for Managing Student Work:
Class Gallery to make it easy for students to share their work with the teacher and the rest of the class. Each student gets his or her own slide and space to share pictures of their three latest and greatest artworks. After filling their slide, students should be sufficiently accustomed to the routine so they can replace the oldest image and keep the gallery up to date. Click here to make a copy.
Some of My Favorite Projects:
On my Youtube channel, I post videos I use in my classroom. Most videos I kept silent so I could speak and respond to the class when presenting and so students could review the steps independently without disrupting those around them. You can find many more videos on my YouTube channel and if you like my work, please like and subscribe.
This quickly became one of my absolute favorite projects. I have found students have lots of fun and are highly successful designing their own emojis. In my classroom I try to present this project as an option on World Smile Day in honor of Harvey Ball, the artist who gave us the iconic smiley face design.