Art is such an integral part of elementary education. Whether it is a well-planned out lesson that incorporates art activities or an experiment that requires students to draw what they have observed; art components are evident. I have learned through my course work and observing in my 4th grade classroom is that students truly enjoy making and creating things. This was evident last week when students were given the opportunity to create a penguin themed Valentine’s box. Though this activity had no academic basis, my mentor teacher stated that the students had not worked this quietly or intently the entire school year. This was the case because students were given the opportunity to create something and add their own artistic touch upon it.
When creating a unit that has an art component, we must remember to plan activities that will motivate students but also meet the requirements of the state standards. We can motivate students through four aspects: love of color, love of landscape, love of making, and interest in others (Scheuerman, 2014). One of the state standards is to use visual arts to express feelings and present ideas. In most subjects students can present ideas artistically through visual representations. Likewise, incorporating a lesson on the love of color where students are painting from imagination, meaning, or events. We can tie this in with expressions of feelings. For example, students could create an image depiction on a meaningful event in their life that relates to the unit. This will meet state standards but also inspire students to think creatively and express themselves in unique ways. Many times art is one of the first programs to be cut at a school, but it is important especially as elementary teachers that we continue to incorporate motivational art activities within our curriculum.
Scheuerman, R. (2014, February 26). EDU 6363 Course Lecture – Session 8: Standards-based assessment and art methods (I).