An Out-Of-The-Box Teaching Guide for Art Instructors: Lesson Plans, 39 Teaching Tips, and Project Ideas for All Ages
While you probably knew that participation in art lessons and projects would spur your students' imaginations, creativity and uniqueness, were you aware of all the other benefits they would gain by their participation? It would take us a book or two to list all the wonderful benefits of an art education, but here are just a few of our favorites:
- Art lessons and projects develop fine motor skills and cognitive thinking abilities.
- Participating in art projects helps students learn a sense of place and time.
- Art encourages students to take risks and explore their world, thoughts and feelings in a safe environment.
- Expression through the medium of art can be incredibly fulfilling for children with little or no verbal communication skills.
The articles that follow constitute an extensive library of art-related lessons and resources that you'll find yourself turning to again and again throughout the school year and your teaching career.
Elementary Grades: An Introductory Age
In the early elementary grades, students are learning to experience their world and explore new opportunities through the use of their five senses. If you have ever tried a messy art project with one of your classes, you'll probably agree that these younger students enjoy the hands-on aspect of art lessons much better than the lectures that precede it.
In the following lessons, you will discover lots of ways to get your students engaged and involved in a variety of different art projects. This is a good age to introduce them to a wide range of art media as well, but remember that at this stage, they are much more interested in the finished project than in the process necessary to create it.
- Starry Nights: An Elementary Art Lesson Teaching Types of Lines
- Elementary School Fine Arts Lesson: Egypt, Hieroglyphs and Portraits
- Year End Elementary Art Lesson Plans
- Pop Art Pop Can Art Project: An Art Lesson Plan for Elementary Art
- Elementary Art Lessons for Fall: Spider Webs
- First Day of Art Class Ideas and Mini Projects
- How to Use Recyclable Materials in Art Class
- Elementary Art Lesson Plans: Self-Portrait
- Elementary School Geometry Art Lesson
- Weather Art Lesson Plans
Middle School: Fine-tuning Their Skill Set
By the time students enter middle school, they have mastered many of the basics of a beginning art education. Their innate curiosity kicks in and by now, they are just as interested in the process as they are in the product. The middle school years in art lessons can be used as a building time to reinforce and expand on the foundations and concepts instilled at the elementary level. While these students will probably enjoy participating in a variety of projects, they will probably start to develop a liking for one form of artistic expression over another.
In the lessons below, you'll find many different styles and disciplines from which to choose as you formulate your lesson plans:
- Pop Art Prints: Middle School Relief Printmaking Lesson
- Radial Balance: Middle School Art Lesson Plan
- Teaching About Pop Art
- Simple Abstract Art for the Classroom
- Me, Myself and I! Ceramic Self-Portraiture
- Easy Watercolor Art Project for Fall Leaves or Spring Flowers
- Back to School Art Projects Kids Can Make: Fresh Ideas for the Elementary and Junior High Classrooms
- The Eye of the Beholder: Creative Photo Art Project
- A Light Color Theory Worksheet to Illuminate Your Students’ Painting Smarts
- Create Dancing Dragons in Art to Celebrate the Chinese New Year
- Painting Lessons: Harmony and Perception Using Color Theory
- Recycled Shoes Make Great Sculptures
High School Lesson Plans and Projects
Whether you are discussing art or academies, developing a proficiency in any skill is an ongoing process. While those at the high school level are presumed to have acquired a high proficiency in this art, it is always a good idea to include some lessons that reinforce basic skills and concepts.
In this section, we've tried to mix things up to allow you to add some uniqueness to your lesson plans and projects by incorporating tactile materials such as clay or highly visual media such as photography or video:
- Making Gargoyles: High School Art Lesson for Clay
- 3D Photographs for High School Art Lesson Plans
- Loving Latin American Art With High School Art Projects
- Outside the Box: Art Projects for High School
- Surrealism Lesson Plan for High Schoolers
- Using Microsoft Publisher for a High School Art Project
- Multicultural Art Lesson Plan — South Pacific Art Botanical Sketching
- Mandala Art Lesson Plan With Handouts
Other Helpful Resources
We're rounding out our art lesson plans guide with some handy links to other resources, tips and techniques that we think you will find useful as you navigate your school year or career. You'll find a wealth of information ranging from real-world tips on how to maintain control in the classroom to how to create the perfect art portfolio to showcase your work.
- Safety in the Art Classroom for Grades 7 – 12
- What to Include in the Art Teacher’s Teaching Portfolio
- Tips for Managing the Art Classroom
- Engaging Your Students Using Art: Teacher Creatures
- Roy Lichtenstein Art Lesson Plans
- Layout of an Art Classroom
- Art Thematic Unit Plan on Perspective Drawing
- Creating a Systematic Art Thematic Unit Plan on Two Point Perspective Drawing
- Ideas for Short Art Lessons Using Collages
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