Monday, August 27, 2012

expectations for art in the classroom

last year I realized that art in the classroom was kind of my thing
and when it came to teaching nothing but history
I realized how crucial these projects were going to be for our success
however, I know that doing a lot of art in the classroom is not always easy
 for teachers to begin
and one of the biggest complaints I hear from colleagues is that they hate doing art
because the projects never turn out how they want
so I've decided to share a few things I do, or expect, from my students 
when it comes to each and every project

so here they are - expectations presented to my students for each and every
art project we complete in class
and a few helpful hints to make art projects a happy experience for all

#1 a pencil plan [just pencil on final paper]
 must be complete before ANY art mediums are used
#2 no pencil is showing on final projects
#3 always give students a number of art mediums you expect them to use on the project
I start out with 2 different mediums and then move up from there as the year goes on
#4 NO highlighters may be used on final art pieces
#5 markers are for outlining, not coloring in large spaces
#6 suggest which coloring supplies are going to work for parts of the project
[small pieces need color pencils, not crayons, etc.]
#7 colored chalk can be your very best friend, and the kids love it because they can add SO much color to their piece in very little time, and you will love it because it looks awesome
just make sure to remind students to use the chalk on the side and don't be afraid to get their finger tips dirty from blending!
#8 ALWAYS show examples of finished projects - this may be hard because many times that means you the teacher have to take the time to make the example yourself, but it is SO worth it
#9 ALWAYS give students the grading rubric at the start of the project
I create my own rubrics for each project but it works pretty much like a check-list for students to remember the details for that particular project
 like how many symbols they need to use, how many art mediums, etc.
and when they see that they are actually given points on the project just for "neatness" it seems to help them slow down while working

and last but surely not least

monitoring while students are working on their art is crucial
find something, anything, that can be complimented
I know this seems obvious, but I'm telling you, it is the true key to success
you can see the kid literally light up as you find something special in their piece
and confidence with art will take them so far

want proof?
well here are some pictures from the very first art project I have done with my 
6th grade students this year:
all my history students completed this mandala project on the topic
"what makes history?"
just let me know if you are interested in seeing the worksheet I created to help them begin this project
and the best part, I already had some examples from last year 
when my 8th graders made mandalas for our unit on slavery

well there you go, hope this helps
sorry, it turned out to be a little wordier than I was hoping
also, thanks to meg from oh happy day for suggesting I write this post!


  1. Love this! I was actually referred to your blog by another teacher who loves your use of art in the classroom, nice work!

    1. thanks Olivia, and yeah for people spreading the love :)

  2. Visually stimulating and a way of advancing the curriculum . . . What could be better? The projects look great.

    Tress Putnam
    Retired Teacher

    1. Thanks Tress - hope retired life is treating you well!

  3. Came across your blog because of our shared love of Pyrex but then saw you are also a teacher! I would love to use this with my ELL students. Could you kindly send me the worksheet?


    1. Allison - thanks for the interest! I finally sent it your way this morning :)

  4. This is a fantastic project. I would love to use it with my kiddos. Could you please send me the worksheet?


  5. I would absolutely love the worksheets that go with this project - what a great concept that could be used for any content within history :)


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