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American writer Henry Miller said, "Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life." Few teachers would argue the importance of teaching art in schools. How many times have you seen a student who struggles in every other subject light up when you do the simplest art project? You don't need to be Picasso to teach valuable artistic concepts in your classroom, but you may need a little guidance. These art lessons will fill the void, give you perspective, and move you into motion!

When you think about art, does the phrase "I can't draw" come to mind? Many teachers realize that their best efforts don't come close to those of "real" artists, but don't let that stop you! With these art lessons, even your artistic skills will improve.

Draw a panda. Students of any age can learn to draw a simple Panda with the help of instructions from Draw and Color With Uncle Fred. Cartoonist Fred Lasswell's Web site offers directions for drawing many different figures that students may then color in any way they choose. The drawings use basic shapes that reinforce students' understanding of geometry and help them reduce objects in their minds to their components. It is then easier for students to re-create the objects on paper.

Make "camouflage art." Follow the set of instructions at The Art of Camouflage to help your students better understand how some animals protect themselves through their appearance. Everyone is familiar with the chameleon, whose ability to change its color allows it to blend in with its surroundings and keep itself safe from harm. In this activity, students cut out a picture of an animal that uses special resemblance or general resemblance as a means of protection. Students then paste the picture to a sheet of construction paper in a similar color and add details to disguise the creature. You will find this plan and others on the Art Junction Web site.


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Art on a Shoestring: Creating Groundbreaking Works Without Breaking the Bank
Art doesn't have to cost big bucks! Some of the neatest works of art are made with recycled or inexpensive materials. These activities straight from the Internet are fun and cheap!

Be sure to check out our Arts Center for additional articles and lessons plus our Lesson Plan of the Day -- The Arts page for more fun across-the-curriculum arts lessons.

Using "value" in drawings. Most students realize on their own that they can make lighter and darker shades by adjusting the pressure that they put on their pencils as they draw, but there is more to using shades in drawing. The Values of Color: Drawing Shades and Tints demonstrates this process with colored pencils and paper. As a follow-up to the activity, A Lifetime of Color Lesson Plans presents Making Forms: 3-D Shapes. In this lesson, students experiment with drawing spheres, cones, cubes, pyramids, and cylinders. They use tint and shadow to make the shapes appear to be three-dimensional.

Comparing paintings. Have you ever noticed that you can discover more about something when you compare it with another object? In Double Visions, the creators of Eyes on Art invite your students to compare two paintings that have some similarities and differences. There are nine sets of paintings to choose from. Each set has questions for students to answer that discuss the subject, composition, feeling, use of color, artist's intent, and elements of design in each painting. In addition to this activity, three other lessons that involve on-line art galleries and a quiz are included.

Investigating art careers. Elementary-school students discover many careers in art through an organized set of centers in this activity by Helen Robertson and offered through ArtsEdge. In Arts Careers, the children get to play the roles of a makeup artist, a fashion designer, an architect, a jewelry designer, and a graphic artist. Suggested materials for each center are listed. Encourage your students to develop their artistic skills by showing them ways to turn art into careers!

Designing a landscape. Landscapes are among some of the most beautiful artistic creations that mimic real life. Using the lesson Landscape Collage, your students will create a landscape design on paper in silhouette form. They will glue it onto a background and add details that will bring the landscape to life. This lesson is from Dede Tisone-Bartels' Art Lessons, a series of basic art lessons addressing art history as well as techniques for drawing with pencils, using colored markers, creating collages, and mixing paint.

Creating pencil drawings. Wonderful art lessons that teach drawing techniques with pencils are presented by Pencil or Graphite Lesson explains the methods of drawing called flat line drawing, accent line drawing, pointillism, scribbling, cross hatch, and smudge. Who would have thought that so much could be done with a pencil? Through simple assignments that are illustrated well, students learn to experiment with their pencil drawings to make them more interesting and realistic.

Celebrate" art. A series of Art & Language Arts lesson plans can be found on the site of the J. Paul Getty Trust. These are K-5 lesson plans created by teachers in Los Angeles, but they are of value to any teacher. Most of them involve works of art from the Getty collection; images of the works are provided.

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
Copyright © 2009 Education World




Originally published 03/29/1999
Last updated 02/20/2009