One of our favorite ideas for your classroom to take it from ordinary to extraordinary is to infuse it with art! Art activities keep your students well-engaged, and when you are through, you have great student-created material with which you can decorate your room. Studies have shown that rooms featuring student-created artwork produce a great environment for your kids and serve to reinforce the topic that was being taught when the art was being produced. (See more on that topic here, for example).
The ideas in this blog post can all be seen in a video that we (Mary Beth at Brain Waves Instruction and I) produced together. It is hosted on Teachers Pay Teachers, so all you have to do is click HERE or on the image below, and you’ll be able to watch the video (if you prefer watching over reading!). We have also included some supporting materials, so be sure to download that after watching.
Let’s get started!
Ideas for Your Classroom: Robert Indiana-Inspired Four Letter Word Art
Robert Indiana is a Pop Art artist. He is probably most famous for his artwork featuring the word L-O-V-E with O tilted a little. It is a simple yet elegant and unforgettable idea! His design was even featured on a postage stamp in 1973:
Building off this idea–that the design is simple and effective–we have come up with an idea to have your kids make art with some four-letter words of their (or your!) choosing. Perhaps words that you’d like to emphasize during the year, like “READ” or “BOOK” or “MATH.”
It’s a pretty easy and fun project that uses paper, masking tape, and watercolors.
Fold a piece of (preferably heavy) paper in half, then in half again, and unfold. This produces four quadrants. Using masking tape, put one letter in each quadrant (tilt the letter in the upper right quadrant if you want). Then, using watercolors, paint a different color in each quadrant. You could also use crayons or colored pencils here as an alternative. Color the page fully, right over the top of the tape. Then peel off the tape. Voila! Instant Pop Art. This should get everyone’s attention when hung around your room!
For more ideas and a complete description of this project (with more details), please see my blog post dedicated to this activity.
Ideas for Your Classroom: Art-infused Language Arts Lessons
Infusing art into English language arts is a way to help pep up what can sometimes be a bit, how should we say this, boring lessons. To make this easy for you, we’ve developed a series of resources that teach language arts topics like homophones, parts of speech, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension and that mix in fun art activities (you can try out our homophones and parts of speech with these FREE samples).
In our reading and listening comprehension resources, for example, students read (or listen to) a passage and then answer a series of questions emphasizing the skill being taught. The answers to the questions then correspond to directions for designing and decorating the accompanying (and topical) picture. After designing it according to their answers, the student then color it in. Each design is unique but also incorporates the (correct!) answers. The results make for great displays and a memorable lesson!
If you’d like to get a FREE Sample of our reading comprehension resource, sign up for my e-mail newsletter, and you’ll be able to download these emoji pages right away and give them a try with your students!
Ideas for Your Classroom: Art-infused Math Lessons
Infusing your math lessons with art is another great way to make your classroom extraordinary!
Students will review the different types of quadrilaterals in this lesson. Then they will incorporate them into pieces of a robot made out of construction paper. This project always keeps the kids fully engaged and always produces terrific, colorful results!
You can find more explicit details, and a how-to, in my blog post dedicated to this lesson here.
Ideas for Your Classroom: Art Kits
To make infusing art in your classroom a no-hassle endeavor, we suggest putting together a set of art kits beforehand. This way, as a classroom teacher, you can be ready for any art project that comes along. These art kits don’t have to be fancy (but of course, feel free to go all out!).
It’s so easy. Just get plastic containers and fill them with general art supplies like markers, colored pencils, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, and watercolor paint trays. (I talk more about ideas for art kits in this Facebook Live video).
Then when the time for the next art project rolls around, all you have to do is break out the art kits and start! The kits will keep all the prep and mess to a minimum.
Be sure to teach your students how to treat their kits. Perhaps assign two students per kit so they can be responsible for their own supplies.
If funding for art materials is a challenge, this would be a great time to put in a Donors Choose request to help support the making of your art kits.
Of course, there are a million ways to make your classroom a unique, fun, and successful learning place, and we know that you all spend a lot of time and effort doing so. In this post, we have shared with you a couple of ideas that we have found successful. Perhaps, you may find something among these four ideas that could be of use to you. That is our hope.
Thanks for reading, and, as always, thanks for making art with your kids!