Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul
We love the month of June for so many reasons. One of them is that June is the month in which African-American contributions to music are highlighted. As we celebrate these amazing contributions, our latest Picture Book Story Time features the children's book, One Love. This colorful book is based on the popular song by renowned musician, Bob Marley and was adapted into a children's book by his daughter, Cedella Marley. The lovely illustrations were created by one of our favorite illustrators, Vanessa Brantley-Newton. We also created a colorful tamborine inspired art lesson related to the story. Check out the steps below to see how we made it.
1. 2 Paper Plates
2. Small Bells
3. Chenille Stems
4. Craft Paint
5. Paint Brush
7. Colorful Wasabi Tape
8. Colorful Ribbon
9. Glue Stick
11. Circle Template
Make sure to explore our website and check out some of our other art resources that are related to music.
It's that time of the year when flowers are in full effect. With Mother's Day occurring during the month of May, flowers rule and serve as a great source of inspiration for art lessons. Here are three different floral lessons we did during the month of May.
After reading Planting a Rainbow by Lois Elhert, our 1st graders created flower collages using tissue paper. They also mounted the collages on gray construction paper and decorated the frames with tempera paint. We finished the paintings just in time for Mother's Day.
How are flowers inspiring you and your creative space this year? Share with us by commenting below.
One of the of the fun things about teaching art in the last 15 years is learning about all of the great ways to use technology in the art room. I really enjoyed looking for innovative ways to use technology in my art room. Here's a quick list of my top three favorite tech tools. (Click on each title to learn more about the tech tool.)
1. Document Camera
Before 2009, I had never heard of or used a document camera. It is an amazing multi-media tool that connects to a computer and/or LCD projector.
I loved using a Smartboard in my art room because it is interactive. Click here to find fun art activities to use with your Smartboard.
There are so many cool apps that students can use on an iPad in the art room. Click here to learn about some great drawing apps that students can use on the iPad.
What are some of the great tech tools that you use in your art room or studio?
Most art teachers and/or artists understand the importance of decorating a room or studio in a way that inspires creativity. Moreover, it's good to decorate an art space in a way that does not cause it to look cluttered or disorganized. In addition to using the affordably beautiful art resources from www.artforthecreativesoul.com, student art, and artist prints, the following list suggests three simple ways you can decorate your art space, classroom, or studio using simple objects.
1. Decorate cabinets or storage with colored paper
Arrange sheets of construction paper or paint sample strips in simple patterns. This will enhance the physical appearance of the art space without looking cluttered.
2. Use art tools or books to decorate
Arrange your art supplies and/or books in neat rows based on color and/or type. This is visually appealing and a fun way to organize your supplies.
3. Use flowers and/or interesting objects
Live or silk flowers, colorful rugs or cloth, and interesting objects are great ways to add pizazz to an art room or studio.
Make sure to click on the Pinterest link in the sidebar to discover more creative ideas for decorating an art space. Also share your ideas by commenting below.
Today I was thinking about my first professional teaching job as an art teacher in an elementary school that served 800 students in grades K-5. When I walked into the art room, the students were screaming, wrestling, standing on tables and throwing art supplies at each other. I thought to myself, what have I gotten myself into? After a short few weeks, a lot of prayer, and hard work, I got the art room in order and the students back on track. Thus, today I want to share five simple tips for managing an art classroom successfully.
This is one of the most important tips on the list. Lack of organization can cause major issues in your classroom. Keep you supplies and student work in order. Make sure your class is neat and clean at the end of each day. Prepare your lessons in a timely manner. Have a seating chart for each class.
2. Engaging Art Lessons
There are hundreds of great websites and blogs to help you develop amazing art lessons that will keep the students focused in a positive way. Keep your presentations/demonstrations between 5-10 minutes long and allow the students more time to have fun creating.
3. Bell Work
This tip works on all grade levels. Have the students do a simple 5 minute drawing or art activity in an art journal as soon as they walk in the room. This helps to get their creative juices flowing.
4. 10 Minutes of Quiet Time
For the first 5-10 minutes of each project, tell the students that they have to work quietly so that they can concentrate. In some cases the students become so engaged in their work they stay quiet for 20 minutes. You can also play soft classical music while they're quiet to stimulate the creative sides of their brains.
5. Consistent Integrity
Keep the routine, rules, and procedures in your class consistent. Follow through on positive and negative consequences.
Share more tips on managing an art room by commenting below.
We had a great time at our virtual book launch party this past Monday. This "scrapbook" page displays some of the high lights. We appreciate everyone who stopped by, signed the guestbook and left beautiful comments. Here's what some people said:
"I was having a rough day and got the call to visit the virtual party. I had a great time playing the game and learning about the resource. I even won a prize."
"You are filling a void, particularly for classroom teachers (instruction) with information and lesson plans, etc."
"Congratulations on a great book! We can't wait to use these lessons at Jordan High School in Durham, NC. Thanks for your contribution to art education!"
Special thanks to everyone who visited the party. We are planning more events in the future. Make sure to visit the website regularly and share it with others. Have a great weekend!
This week we wanted to share a creative bulletin board idea using one of our art resources. Using the 4 Basic Pencil Shading Techniques poster, you can create an outstanding display in 5 easy steps:
1. Choose a bright background paper to cause the resource to standout.
2. Use a border that will compliment the resource. We created the one used in the picture above.
3. Create a fun sign to place at the top.
4. Select interesting examples of pencil drawings using various shading techniques.
5. Mount each sheet on black construction paper.
Send us examples of how you use this poster in your classroom and we'll post them on our website.
Many years ago, I taught art at an elementary school which served 800 students in grades K-5. The students were talented and enthusiastic about art. One of the extra-curricular art programs that I set up was called the Graphic Arts workshop. During one prep hour each week, I allowed 3-5 students to come and work in the art studio on graphic arts projects. I allowed teachers to select talented art students in grades 3-5 to work on posters, fliers, banners, and programs for school related activities. Some students created items on the computer while others created banners. In the picture below, a student is working on a D.A.R.E. display for an awards program. For the last several posts we have shared ideas about how to create great extra-curricular art programs. A Graphic Arts workshop is a great idea that can be used on any grade level.
Another great idea for developing an outstanding extra-curricular program, is to provide a workshop for art students from another school to visit and work with the art students on a project at your school.We created an animation workshop to give some of the middle school art students in our district an opportunity to preview the animation class that our school provided. It also allowed the middle school art students to interact with high school art students in a positive environment.
First, we contacted the middle school art teacher to see if she would be interested in bringing her students to this kind of workshop. After she eagerly said "Yes!", we set up a date and time for her to bring over 2-3 of her art classes.
Each group rotated through three different spaces that were set up with animation related activities. In one classroom the middle students were introduced to Macromedia Director by the high school students. Each middle school student partnered with a high school student. The second activity was in the school art gallery. In the gallery, we set up a display of character illustrations, storyboards and videos of flipbooks created by high school art students. The middle school students created an original character and simple storyboard in the art gallery. In the last classroom space, the visiting students created a simple flipbook. Each activity lasted one hour and the students had a great time. All of the students got along well and the middle school art teacher enjoyed the "field trip" experience that we provided for her students.
In our second installment of great extra-curricular programs, I want to focus on a program that we created to connect art students with professional artists. One year, I thought it would be fun to have professional artists come in and speak to our students about what it's like to live and work as an artist in the "real world". I started by looking for artists on the internet and thinking about professional artists that I personally knew.
After composing a list of potential speakers, I e-mailed and called many of them. I was surprised at the number of artists who were willing to speak to our students for free. We then created a three day seminar in which artists came in and spoke to our students for 30 minutes followed by a Q & A session. The artists ranged from a fiber artist to an automotive illustrator to a graphic artist. Some artists bought in actual examples of their work while others used slideshows. One of the artist, who is an abstract painter, invited students to come and paint random strokes and colors on a canvas; the final painting is shown below.
The students really enjoyed meeting and learning about the artists as well as taking a break from the normal class routine. We also provided lunch for the artists and took time to learn about their creative backgrounds. At the end of the series, the students wrote a short essay about what they learned and which artist inspired them the most. This idea is perfect for the art educator who has a limited budget but wants to expose their students to the art community in their local area. Moreover, it's a program that can be tailored to fit any grade level and schedule. Let us know if you are doing something like this in your local school.
Alicia L. McDaniel
Alicia L. McDaniel is the author and creator of Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul. She is also an educator, professional artist, and lover of the arts.
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