Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Art is Important (and a Haunted House)

I had an epiphany today. Art IS important. I have never been an artsy, creative type and in all honesty I probably dreaded Art in school. This attitude has slightly inserted itself into my teaching attitude, though I don't let it show (I hope!) to students. I've realized though, that my attitude probably stems from my lack of artistic skills. You see, I really, really, really want to be a good artist, but I just can't seem to get it together. Whenever I have to draw in front of the class, my doodles always turn out as stick people or stick animals and I have to explain what I am drawing. For some reason though, today everything clicked and I realized that Art is important. And I don't mean cookie cutter, boring art. I mean really teaching students about different art styles, techniques, and materials. Kids need to grow as artists, otherwise they are going to be adults doing the same doodles that I try to pass of as people and animals.

A second thought - I also LOVE it when an idea or project ties together multiple subjects (hello cross-curricular!). Since it's October - and I have Halloween on the brain - I am reminded of a lesson I reviewed for my Art course in university, but have not yet had the option to try. I would love to credit the idea but I have no idea which Art journal I got it from. The lesson ties together art, language arts, and today I thought of a way to incorporate math.

Photo via Creative Juices

The project would work best for older elementary school and lasts about a week or two. At the beginning of each Art period, teachers begin by turning off the lights and reading scary stories about haunted houses (I would have loved this as a student!). The students then use pieces of cardboard to construct their own haunted houses. As the days progress, students add details (shutters, doors, fence, ghosts, pumpkins, whatever) and on the final day, the houses get spray painted black or gray to complete the haunted house formation. Just stopping here, I think the houses would make a fantastic hallway display. Students can then write stories about their haunted house, and post those alongside their haunted house display. To incorporate math, I would have students measure the height, square footage, etc. of their house and find out who constructed the tallest house, the biggest house, etc. Not only do I think this lesson sounds fun (AND gets me excited about Art) but it incorporates 3 different subjects and great skills.

So this may be the direction I need to go in the future. More Art projects that incorporate other subjects and get ME excited about the Art, so I can pass that onto the students. After all, Art is Important.

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