Tried & True Tips for Art Teachers is a monthly roundup of advice and wisdom
from fellow art teachers, put together by the intrepid Glenda Lubiner.
Let’s Talk About Art
I could paint for a hundred years, a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing.” — Paul Cézanne
Happy New Year! Another year has come and gone and I’m hoping that you had a restful winter break and are ready to start the New Year off with a bang! The focus this month will be on Art History, Art Appreciation, and Multicultural Art.
Hats Off to You! Marette Wixted from Silver Palms Elementary School in Pembroke Pines, Fla., had a brainstorm a few weeks ago. She wore her van Gogh hat that was adorned with sunflowers, a portrait of van Gogh and paper made candles. The hat was used for her van Gogh costume for “Night of the Arts.” While wearing her hat, students were curious and asked all sorts of questions. Marette took that opportunity and turned it into a mini art lesson. She pulled out various prints of van Gogh’s Sunflowers, many of his self-portraits that led to comparing and contrasting.
She showed pictures of Café Terrace at Night and The Starry Night to explain that van Gogh was able to paint at night due to the candles on his hat. Students were puzzled. Candles? It did not dawn on them that back in the 19th century there was no electricity and candlelight was the main source of light.
Marette decided that she was going to make an “Artist Hat” for every “Known Artist” she could introduce. Think about creating Picasso, Dali, Warhol, Oldenberg, or Calder hats. You may look silly—but your students will love it and love art even more.
Youth Art Month is coming up in March, so now is a great time to get all your projects ready to display. A multicultural theme can be found for each month and you can set up your YAM display as a life-size calendar. Another great idea is to have your art club (elementary, middle or high school) go to the local grocery store, restaurant or variety store and paint famous paintings on their windows. This can be done very easily by having them sketch their drawing with oil pastels and painting with tempera paint, as this can be easily washed off when YAM is over. This is another great way to advocate for the arts. The kids love to show their work and it gives them the great experience of working as a team and in a public space.
Pizza Anyone? Everyone loves pizza … so why not get some clean pizza boxes and have your middle school or high school students paint on the boxes? A variety of subjects or themes can be created and, if possible, have the students display their art at the pizza parlor where the boxes came from. You can make this into a family night fundraiser art appreciation night! A great time to do this is in October for Italian-American Heritage Month.
Pinterest is a Pin-spiration One thing Debi West, from North Gwinnett High School in Gwinnett County, Ga., uses with all of her Art II High School students is Pinterest. She has already had two successful years teaching them a lesson she wrote called “Pin-spiration Portraits.” Pinterest is a great place for searching for art appreciation and multicultural ideas. Check out Debi’s lessons on her Pinterest page.
Appreciate Art the Fun Way! Here is a great site that Amber Whelchel Arnold, from Level Creek Elementary School in Suwanee, Ga., wants to share with all of you. She found that interactivesites.weebly.com/ is a great database for online, interactive games for all subject areas! Art, music, and foreign languages are included. Some links that are included are from the Getty Museum and the National Gallery of Art. Talk about appreciating art!
Walk Like an Egyptian Laura Benitez, elementary art teacher at Franklin Academy in Pembroke Pines, Fla., incorporated four projects in one. She first taught about the art and culture of the ancient Egyptians and had her students make paper. She then had them make clay cartouches, digging into the clay quite deep. She made sure that the clay was pretty flat. Once fired, she had the students use their cartouches to print from on to the handmade paper. She then had them add some gold paint for some embellishments.
Happy Birthday to Yves Tanguy (Jan. 5, 1900), Barbara Hepworth (Jan., 10, 1903), Berthe Morisot (Jan. 14, 1841), Paul Cézanne (Jan. 19, 1839), Jackson Pollock (Jan. 26, 1912), and Claes Oldenburg (Jan. 28, 1929). Be sure to check out Cézanne’s painting of his father on the flipside of this page.
Thank you Marette, Amber, Debi and Laura for those fine tips!
Arts & Activities Contributing Editor Glenda Lubiner (NBCT) teaches art at Franklin Academy Charter School in Pembroke Pines, Fla. She is also an adjunct professor at Broward College.
If you would like to share some of your teaching tips, email them to: [email protected]