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.
The Diversity of Art
“Keep good company—that is, go to the Louvre.” — Paul Cézanne
A new year has begun and I am confident that you all had a restful and or fun-filled winter break. It is back to school now and time to get busy with art business.
This month we focus on art history, art appreciation, and multicultural art. As 21st-century learners, our students need to learn critical thinking skills, collaboration, communication, and life skills. They must understand and respect a variety of diverse cultures. By teaching them the history of art and incorporating multicultural art lessons into your curriculum, students will master these skills and content areas.
A Museum Trip? Why not! Just like Cézanne said, go the Louvre. All students should be able to experience an art museum with their art teacher. Start the year off with a museum trip whether it is a virtual trip or an actual field trip. Many museums are free to students and if not, grants are often available. Even if you do not live in a big city with large well-known art museums, that is not a problem. You would be surprised to find some spectacular museums in small towns across the country.
One museum I experienced last summer was Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas (or as one of my students called it, ARTkansas). This was a great place to learn about art and the history of our country. Other great museums I was able to visit were the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Boca Raton, Florida.
If you are not able to go on a field trip, then virtual trips are the way to go. Many museums, including The National Gallery of Art, The Louvre, and The National Gallery in London offer several different virtual tours of their museums. Our students are so technology savvy that they will have a fun time at the museum even if they are sitting at their art table.
Woman (or Man) in Gold With the movie Woman in Gold hitting the big screen this past year, I decided to do a lesson on Gustav Klimt. As a class we researched the artist, the time period, and the styles of art that were happening at that time. The results of our research ended up in a self-portrait project. The students brought in photos and cut out their heads and bodies. They glued these to an 8″ x 8″ piece of black construction paper and added decorative motifs and designs using construction paper crayons. The last step was to embellish their self-portraits with gold paint markers. They students loved doing this project, especially using the gold markers!
Cut it Out! Henri Matisse was a very intriguing artist to most. From his colorful Fauve paintings to his incredible cut outs, the life and works of this artist can be taught from kindergarten to college. All grade levels can be introduced to geometric and organic shapes by cutting them out and designing a cutout of his or her own. It can be as simple as cutting out simple shapes for the elementary group to a more intense design using repetitive organic shapes for the upper levels. These are always a success and could be a great project for the new semester.
Confessions of Impressions Introduce your students to the Impressionist painters. I have had students from K–8 do an Impressionist piece of work. My kindergarten students collaged different shades of blue and violet scraps of tissue paper onto a white piece of drawing paper. They then cut out a Japanese footbridge and glued it on the paper. Using tempera paint, they added trees, vines, and all colored flowers to create Monet’s garden. The finishing touch was to add cutout lily pads and tissue paper pop-up lilies on the pads.
My eighth-graders learned about light and value. Using tempera paint, they created 18″ x 24″ Impressionist landscape paintings, using short, choppy brushstrokes. For some it was a bit of a challenge, as they are used to painting using long smooth brush strokes. For others they had great success with this project creating amazing landscape paintings.
Happy Birthday to Yves Tanguy (Jan. 5. 1900); Barbara Hepworth (Jan. 10, 1903); Berthe Morisot (Jan. 14, 1841); Paul Cézanne (Jan. 19, 1839); Édouard Manet (Jan. 23, 1832); and Jackson Pollock (Jan. 26, 1912).
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.
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