10 Artistic Classroom Activities

Today’s Guest Blogger is Jan Pierce from Elementary Education Degree.   With the end of the year around the corner, it seems like a great time to try a new arts integration idea.  She provides you with 10!  Let us know if you try something out.  ~EMP

With all the studies out that show how arts can benefit students, many teachers are looking for simple ways to integrate the arts into everyday classroom activities and lessons. Here are ten ideas that can be used for almost any subject and various age groups.

1. Put on a Play – Have your students write a short play about something they’ve just learned – it could be an event in history, a story they’ve read, or even a science concept. They can even design the costumes and set pieces. This would be a great presentation for a parents’ night, or you could video the play and put it on YouTube (with parents’ permission).

2. Sing and Dance – A great way to get younger students to remember a concept is to get them moving. Have them make up a song with movements related to a newly-learned concept. You may want to use a song they already know, such as “Happy Birthday” or a nursery rhyme song.

3. Publicity Stunt – Students can make brochures, posters, or even commercials promoting something they’ve learned about. You could break them up into teams to encourage competition (for example, igneous rocks vs. sedimentary, or Patriots vs. Loyalists). Older students may even be familiar with design software like Photoshop.

4. Mini Art Museum – Introduce students to works of art that line up with your curriculum. Many famous scenes from mythology and literature have been portrayed in art, and it’s also a great way to see how people lived at different times in history.

5. Artsy Social Studies – Integrate art, music, or theater history into your social studies lessons. For example, you could listen to some jazz from the 1920s while discussing the Harlem Renaissance, or look at WPA posters as you teach your students about the New Deal.

6. Tessellations – It seems more difficult to think of a way to integrate art into a math lesson, but tessellations are a fun way to do it. Introduce the tessellations of M.C. Escher and then challenge students to make their own. There are many tutorials about tessellations online to help get you started.

7. Take a Trip – While a trip to the local science or history museum is always valuable, continue taking an art-related trip too! An art museum may have a certain section or special exhibition that goes along perfectly with something you’re learning about. You could also see a play related to your curriculum at a local college and community theatre.

8. Writing Prompt – Use a piece of art, a photograph, or a musical selection as a writing prompt. This lets students’ imaginations run wild and will definitely provide a spectrum of responses.

9. Soundtrack – Have students put together clips of music to illustrate a story, a historical event, or even a scientific cycle and have them explain why they chose each clip. They could also pair the music with a slideshow of photographs, works of art, or abstract images.

10. Collage – This is a wonderful way for students to create art even if they can’t draw. They can make a collage representing any number of topics, such as a time period in history, the culture or environment of a geographic region, a certain family of animals, or a work of literature. The possibilities are endless.

Jan Pierce is a 4th grade teacher who has over 20 years of experience in the classroom. She also owns the site Elementary Education Degree for students interested in earning a degree in elementary education.

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