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The Arts In Every Classroom: A Video Library K-5

Teaching Visual Art Activities and Discussion

In art class, second-graders at Ridgeway Elementary School in White Plains, New York, make stylized masks with exaggerated features.

Suggested Activities and Discussion

Consider these questions for reflection:

  • How can you use visual art to teach your students about history, math, science, and other art forms?
  • What questions do you think it is important for students to ask about works of visual art?
  • How would you lead students into an investigation of the emotional qualities in a work of visual art?
  • How could your students use an original work of art to express their own feelings?

Improving Practice
Here are some additional ways you can build on the ideas in this program in a variety of school and community settings:

Professional Development for Teachers

  • Consider ways you can incorporate visual art lessons in your class. How would you structure the class? What materials would you use and where would you obtain them? What other subjects would you incorporate?
  • Think of ways that visual art might address special needs of students in your classroom, for example, by bridging language barriers or developmental gaps, providing opportunities for different learning styles, or enabling students to express interests or feelings.
  • Take a class in a visual art activity or skill, such as drawing, painting, ceramics, or photography.
  • Visit a local visual art organization. Volunteer a few hours each month to gain a behind-the-scenes perspective on how artists work.
  • Structure a session to explore how visual art specialists and classroom teachers can work together at your school.

Curriculum-Planning Sessions

  • Include a visual art specialist teacher or a professional visual artist in your planning sessions. Together, identify places where visual art would make your curriculum stronger. Collaborate on developing a unit on a visual art theme.

Community Outreach

  • Explore educational outreach opportunities offered by a local museum, art gallery, or artists’ cooperative. Brainstorm how to fund this kind of activity.
  • Present an exhibition of student work, to which you invite parents and members of the visual art community. Ask students to reflect on how their study of visual art has benefited their learning.