“When I examine myself and my method of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
Have you noticed how every year on the first day of art class, the students come in and want to start drawing, painting and getting right into making something straight away? Although I love the energy and enthusiasm, I thought I would do things a little differently this year by starting my lessons with a big discussion around the following questions:
1. What is art?
2. What is an artist and what qualities does he/she have that makes them an ‘artist’?
3. How do you think like an artist?
4. What are your art goals for this year?
I have been blown away with the deep thinking and great insight that has come out from every grade level–especially the younger grades! I have even starting documenting the answers with my Flip camera so I can make a mini movie to post on our school website.
The point I want to make here is that kids need to understand that art is not just about painting, drawing or making something. It is a value we share all our lives and an amazing subject area where we can learn, together, discuss, share ideas, create, observe, feel and be ourselves. The students need to know and truly believe they are artists too and part of our learning journey is to discover and bring out that creativity and start thinking like artists.
After much analyzing and discussing these questions (which will be ongoing throughout the year by the way) the students were itching to do some art . Each student chose a piece of 9×12 colored construction paper.
I made a large mural at the back of my classroom with an underwater theme for this school wide activity. Everyone is in the process of drawing something that belongs in the ocean– my only requirement is for them to think about and write an art goal they wish to achieve by the end of the school year on their fish, whale, mermaid, etc.
They’re loving ‘doing’ the art and I’m loving that they are ‘thinking’ about their goals and about art. The result? A gorgeous mural filled with Pre-K- Grade 6 goals which we will refer back to periodically to make sure we meet them! I will post pictures of the finished mural.
For some great back to school lesson plans, check this out.
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