Today’s guest blogger is Jennifer from Jennifer Kime Creations. Read on to learn her tips and ideas for having an Artist of the Month Club at your school!
What could I do when budget cuts eliminated an organized art program at my school? How could I incorporate art into the regular classroom without taking away from time required to teach state standards? First, I had to get past my own feelings of inadequacy. I am not an artist. How could I teach art concepts to my students?
The answer was simply to provide a little bit of instruction, give them the tools to use, and allow them to shine. Then, I had to come up with a program that was not just craft time. In order to use my valuable classroom time, I needed to justify to myself and to my principal why this was essential for my students. My answer was the “Artist of the Month Club.”
To make this program educational, each month I teach a brief biography of a renowned artist. So far this year, we have studied Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Michelangelo. I still have ideas for many other units. All it takes is a little bit of research. Exposing them to the various styles of these artists broadens their knowledge base. I make a PowerPoint presentation and/or handout for student reference. I always try to include various samples of the artist’s work for the students to critique.
This takes some modeling to get them past simple observations to more in-depth analyzing, but it can be very rewarding. Below you will find a FREEBIE of the booklet each student uses to record their thoughts.
ELEMENT OF ART:
Another way to make this educational is to incorporate one foundational aspect of art education each month. There are seven basic art principles to cover: line, shape, form, color, value, texture, and space. YouTube is a great resource for teaching videos on these topics. Here is a sample video on the topic of mixing colors. You will also find these principles described in my Artist of the Month Club units available from my TeachersPayTeachers store.
There are many captivating picture books written about artists. I had never been exposed to them in the past, but I’m so excited to use them now. Two of my favorite authors are Laurence Anholt and James Mayhew. I also found a delightful series of videos by Mike Venezia. All of these resources keep the students’ attention while introducing them to various masterpieces and their creators. These books can easily be used to meet language arts standards. I have incorporated them into our weekly mentor sentences and vocabulary text rotation.
Projects can be simple coloring pages, directed imitations of the classic artwork, or free response to the story. It is fun to introduce the students to a variety of mediums along the way. We have used tempera paint, Model Magic clay, watercolors, chalk, markers, and colored pencils.
Picasso face using Model Magic clay
Monet’s Water lilies using water colors
Van Gogh’s Starry Night using tempera & chalk
This program does not have to be complicated. Choose an artist, read the story, plan a simple art project, and watch your students flourish. Mine can hardly wait until the next month rolls around to see what we will be making. I hope this resource will motivate you to delve into art education with your own kiddos.
Thanks so much to Rachel Lynette for inviting me to share my new passion with you. It was an honor and a joy!
My name is Jennifer Kime. I am in my 21st year of teaching. Most of this time has been in 3rd-6th grade traditional classrooms, but I did spend a few of those years homeschooling my three awesome kiddos and teaching in our homeschool co-op. Throughout all of these years and countless classroom projects, my wonderful husband has stood by my side. Teaching is not just a job – it is a lifestyle. Thanks to my wonderful family who have supported me and to God who has blessed me with them! If you have any questions you can email me or find me on Facebook.
Christy McGuire says
I love that you found a way to do what was best for your students, instead of being limited by your circumstances