Art Lesson Grade Levels

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Advantages of an Art Education for Children

Why should we teach art to young children?

♥ In the beginning, God 'The Creator' created man in His image/likeness (i.e. being a creator(artist) is one of His many attributes)
♥ To instill learning not just to look, but to SEE (particularly from God's perspective) the world around us. To become more aware of His kingdom and look more closely through the eyes of the Father.
♥ To emphasize how art impacts our daily life, including clothing, buildings, home interiors, cars, product packaging and the media monster – advertising.
♥ To improve critical thinking skills and creative problem solving.
♥ To enable students to "Read" visual information and communicate using visual media.


Ten things the arts teach:

1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.
2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
3. The arts teach multiple perspectives.
4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity.
5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know.
6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.
7. The arts teach children to think through and within a material.
8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.
9. The arts enable us to have experiences we can have from no other source, and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.


How do we teach art?

♥ We may begin using history – looking at art throughout the centuries and its place in society. It is important to use a variety of artistic styles to show how art has progressed over time. Using master works is most desirable – excellence should be the standard.
♥ We must cause children to think about their work. This eliminates the frequently used option of doing pattern work. Encourage the children to trust their own intuition as to what color would work best, what type of marks need to be made, how things should be arranged, etc. Resist the temptation to make it look like you want it to look, yet encourage thoughtfulness, completeness and even redoing the work completely when necessary. Ask questions that encourage cerebral examination of the work they do.
♥ Time is essential! Typically there is not enough of it – but the key to promoting creative works in children is to give them enough time. We would rather have one excellent work of art than several half-hearted efforts. If a child learns to explore depth over breadth first, the breadth will follow naturally.
♥ The student needs visual stimulation. God's incredible creation is the best reference available. Start building a picture file of excellent photographs that can be used for the various subjects you may be working with. Mount the pictures on white poster board and laminate them so they will last for years. Fish, animals, flowers, trees, clouds, buildings – all of these and more should be at your fingertips so that students will have some frame of reference with which to work. Many subjects can be found on the internet and easily printed for the students use. The goal is to give the student plenty of visual information to formulate his or her own interpretation of a given assignment.
♥ Although it is wonderful for children to explore as many different types of media as possible, if art materials are not available (they can get quite costly) focus on mastering the readily available ones such as crayons, pencils and markers. Layering crayon color or color pencil creates wonderful effects. Mixing pencil and markers in one work can be very dynamic. Encourage students to explore the potential of every medium they have available. This becomes part of the time issue. It is wise to let kids have time to just work with and manipulate materials before they begin on their final work.
♥ As the Renaissance masters did so should we model for our students. Rarely, if ever, have I given an assignment that I have not done myself. In fact, I believe one of the reasons I am able to get such great work out of children is because I do the assignments I give them. They are able to watch me work and see the concentration, the mistakes, the handling of materials, etc. This is a powerful learning tool for children and should be encouraged in every discipline.
♥ Provide as much positive encouragement as possible. Give students as many positive comments as you can – even if only I like this color or this is a very bold line?. All students will do something in their work that you can pick out and use as encouragement for them to press on and continue working out their ideas.
♥ Finally, require that the students evaluate their own work. Hold it at a distance and let them look at it critically. What do you like best about your work? What do you like least about it? , What would you do differently if you were to do it over again?? Children are keen to look and evaluate but must be encouraged to do so. Do not leave this vital step out.