March is National Youth Art Month and it’s a perfect time to connect the joy and fun of art to your classroom learning. Students of all ages (teachers, too!) crave opportunities to appreciate and create art in the classroom. And best of all, the research is in - art helps students learn!
Here are 10 ideas for quick art connections you can make in March! Try just one and join the fun!
- Borrow a class set of watercolor paints from your building art specialist. Consider any content you are currently teaching and as a surprise, bring in an art extension project for a day. Create a list of 5 ideas as examples - (always allow for student-created options) and ask all your students to visually/artistically represent content learning from the chapter or unit you are currently studying.
- Create short PSAs regarding an opinion students have based on any current content. This could be applicable for any content or subject area. Lead students through reflection and critical thinking of any learning, then guide them to create an opinion. Follow with creation of short videos (using iMovie or other app) to convince others to agree with them or prove their point.
- Design a human representation of a rule or algorithm - a human sculpture to demonstrate some learning from the class. This requires students to collaborate creatively and make learning connections.
- Doodling - end class early and ask your students to “doodle” their learning for the day - limit it to pens/pencils or pass out colored pencils or markers so they can invigorate any words, shapes, colors to demonstrate learning.
- Make learning move - ask students to consider any new learning content and set it in motion through a quick dance step or sequence of moves (individual, partner, or group) to illustrate it. (Ask for students who are dancers to show an example - or do it yourself! It usually takes one person to start a dance party!) Dancing flows from music, so allow that to be added as background.
- Poetry - use a simple formula like haiku, limerick, metaphors to have students draft a poem about any current content learning. Share poems as quick class starters for the next week or share on your class website.
- Photography - using Chromebooks or iPads, ask students to take 3 pictures that depict an important concept from current learning. Photos can be from real space or creatively set-up to show concept.
- Drama - consider any sequence of learning, (plot, steps in a process, actual events, scientific evidence, etc.) and have a small group of students portray it through a dramatic performance or presentation - using props or not!
- Crafts - ask students to create a vocabulary list using any craft items, such as yarn, paper, plastic, etc. Share words and definitions for creative and colorful review of learning.
- Digital Art - using any digital app, have students represent learning digitally. Create a list of objectives or vocabulary and ask students to creatively represent it using digital tools and imagery.
There are a countless websites with resources and lesson ideas for integrating arts in the classroom in March - or any other time of year. Google any subject or curriculum content along with “arts-integration” and an idea will magically appear for you to consider! Start with one class period in the month to see how the arts can impact your students.
No matter what art option you choose, try to connect to these features for increased engagement:
- Peer and partner opportunities - some artists crave teamwork and collaboration; others may want to share their individual inspirations
- Allow for choice - increase motivation and student participation
- Sharing opportunities - create and appreciate - enjoy and learn from each other
- Movement - brain science supports this feature
- Color creates new energy
- Different devices and common tools - explore technology or use simple materials to create artistic expression of learning
- Surprise and delight students with a quick change of pace and classroom routines
Add some art sparkles to dreary March and revel in how it brightens up your classroom!
Arts bring learning to life. From pre-K all the way through high school, students crave opportunities to express their learning in new and exciting ways. Explore application strategies for creating STEAM education lessons from regular classroom or STEM lessons to motivate and empower learners of all ages by enrolling in Learners Edge Course 5795: STEAM Education: Integrating the Arts into your Classroom and get ready for art sparks to fly!
In addition to this great new course, Learners Edge also offers a FREE, on-demand webinar, The "A" in STEAM- Adding in the Arts where teacher colleagues share examples of how, when and where the arts have created high engagement and energized learning for all.