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Tips for Combining Art Literacy & Art in the Classroom

Art literacy lessons for the classroom.
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Combining art literacy and practical art lessons in the classroom enhances a child’s creative and analytical development. With a multidisciplinary approach to learning, children will be better equipped for challenges across the entire curriculum. But how exactly can teachers blend art literacy and instructional techniques into fun, engaging lessons?

Understanding Art Literacy and Hands-On Art

Art literacy refers to the ability to read, analyze, create and discuss art with a clear understanding of the cultural, historical and theoretical context. Students learn to critique an artwork, recognize its historical importance and understand the technical process.

A typical art class will focus on practical art techniques, and students can learn hands-on approaches such as drawing, painting and sculpting. When these techniques are combined with art literacy, the results lead to benefits in reading, writing, communication, critical thinking and more.

Top Tips for Blending Art Literacy and Art in the Classroom

Our teacher’s guide for adding art literacy to lesson plans offers several ideas. Here are some additional tips.

Study the History of Art Techniques

We previously discussed learning about the lives of historically important artists. An additional approach would be to analyze the history of specific artistic techniques. For example, discuss how the Impressionism of artists like Claude Monet evolved into the less restricted methods of Post-Impressionism.

Analysis and Integration Lessons

Start a lesson by showcasing an artwork and asking students to analyze its color, form and composition. With a greater understanding of the techniques involved, children can create their own art using a similar approach.

Develop Themed Lessons

Create a series of themes that students must research and analyze before completing a project in a particular style. For example, discuss the history of portraiture, explore common techniques, then get kids to paint their own portrait. Other themes include landscapes, animals and geometry.

Create Interactive Lessons

An interactive lesson could involve the creation of an artwork followed by group analysis. Teachers can use the analysis session to introduce concepts like texture, scale and proportion, focal point and symbolism.

Create a Classroom Exhibition

Building a classroom exhibition can recreate the feeling of visiting a gallery or museum. Children can move from one piece to the next, communicating their thoughts on the works being observed. Students can also create a brief artist’s statement that will be placed next to their work of art.

Combine Storytelling and Art

Ask children to create a short story idea, then draw or paint an accompanying design. This approach to art literacy would work well in a group format, with each student contributing to the story and the artwork.

Need some additional ideas? Browse our lessons combining art and art literacy here.

Watch Free Art Lessons for Elementary and Middle School Children

Golden Road Arts is an Oregon-based arts education platform creating free art literacy and instructional tutorials for kids. If you are a parent or teacher looking to introduce children to various art styles and concepts, browse our content library. Watch free art lessons today.

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