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How to Create Elementary Art Lessons

Loraine, a retired volunteer elementary art teacher, shares art projects, favorite art blogs, and ideas on how to create art projects.


How to go about creating an elementary art lesson, is the question. And art through innovation is the answer.

Have you ever wanted to design an art project for a particular lesson, but just didn't know how or where to start? In this article I'll give you steps that will lead you to rediscover your imagination and help you make an art project through innovation.

You may wonder what the difference is between creating art and innovating art. Creating is making something entirely new. Innovating is changing something already made, by using a new method, technique or device.

We're going to innovate, which I believe is the easiest way to new classroom projects. Teachers can make any subject more interesting and exciting, and children seem to grasp and retain information better, by using a hands-on approach which includes an art project.

Find the "Sandra Willard-Like Landscapes" project in the 2nd Grade Projects Gallery at Kids & Glitter.

Five Helpful Steps

  1. Know your intended outcome
  2. Gather information
  3. Find Inspiration
  4. Take notes
  5. Be flexible

1. Know Your Intended Outcome

Have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. If your planned outcome is for the students to know the names of planets and their orbit placement, then you'll want to feature planets and orbits in your project.

2. Gather Information

Find information about the subject you wish to make an art project on. The library, textbooks and the internet are great places for gathering information.

3. Find Inspiration

Be inspired by looking at art, photos, and other art projects that portray your visioned outcome. I like to check out images on Google. Some of my favorite art projects have been inspired by an image or even clip art or desktop wallpaper that I've seen on Google. What you are looking for is images that jump start your imagination. Think of ways that you can make the art using supplies that you have. Start saving images onto a Microsoft Word document for future art projects as you find them.

4. Write Notes

While saving images for future projects, write notes about how you can change the art, making it your own. This may mean using colored chalk instead of watercolors, or oil pastels instead of oil paints. Also note different techniques that could be used. Instead of using watercolors for making a bouquet of flowers, draw the vase and flowers using a black Sharpie and then use pieces of colored tissue paper and a wet paint brush to add color to the vase and flowers.

5. Be Flexible

If you try a method and it doesn't give you the results you are looking for, try a different method. Don't just give up on an idea because it doesn't work out the first time. Sometimes this ends up giving you an idea for another project.

"Important Information"

HubPages rules are that only two links from the same source can be used in an article, so in order to use the projects on Kids & Glitter for examples in this article, I'll give the Kids & Glitter link here.

In the examples below, you'll find the names of the different galleries for the projects shown.


Example One

There are so many artists who feature roosters and it is interesting to see the different techniques they use to make their art special and unique.Before making their own version of rooster art, the students viewed the work of different artists. They took notice of the artist's use of borders and bright colors. Check out how this project grew from viewing art work to making art by going to Kids & Glitter. This project, "Roosters" is listed in the 6th Grade Projects Gallery.

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Example Two

This is an example of how the supplies you have on hand can help you create an art project. Having a lot of black tissue paper left over after using the colored sheets for other projects, and not wanting to waste it, a new art project was created by searching images on Google... "black flowers on white background clipart." Find other examples of black flowers on a white background clip art and steps for making this project at Kids & Glitter.

"Black Flower Simplicity" can be found in the 6th Grade Projects Gallery on Kids & Glitter.


Example Three

While shopping on vacation I happened to see this stately owl and thought it would make an interesting art project. I started imagining using a cardboard owl shape for the background and tissue or construction paper for the feathers.This turned out being a great classroom project and the kids loved making their unique owl.To see the development of the project and pictures of finished student art, go to Kids & Glitter.

"Paper Cut Owl," shown above, is found in the 6th Grade Projects Gallery on Kids & Glitter.


Example Four

I love the looks of the new modern vases available today. The simplicity of Gaston Chaissac's art makes it a perfect inspiration for painting glass jars.... our rendition of the modern vases.When creating art projects, keep an open mind about what supplies you can use and also the methods to use. Pretty soon you'll notice that many things you see and appreciate can be the inspiration for an art project.The steps for making these artful glass jars, and examples of jars made by students, go to Kids & Glitter.

The project, "Gaston Chaissac on Glass," is found in the 5th Grade Projects Gallery on Kids & Glitter.


Example Five

When I first saw Paul Bent's cityscape art, I thought the buildings looked like newsprint, so naturally I had to see if it would make an art project.Bent has four cityscape pictures with different background colors. Students first painted the background paper with a color of their choice. Then they drew city buildings on newsprint and colored them with black chalk.To see how this art project developed, and to see student cityscape pictures, go to Kids & Glitter.

"Paul Brent Cityscapes" is found in the 6th Grade Projects Gallery at Kids & Glitter.


Other Art Projects Using Innovation

To find more art projects that have been inspired by artists that I love, go to Artist Inspired Art Lessons.You'll find some of my favorite artist's work here. A favorite quote by Pablo Picasso is, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." And another quote worth thinking about, by Salvador Dali, "Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing."


Re-Design Art Projects

Re-designing art is another way to create an elementary art project. So, maybe you don't have the supplies that are mentioned in an art project that you find on the internet. Consider this beautiful project, with the tutorial on the Oh’ Boy art blog, (look in the Archives in the sidebar for part 2 (MISS MAY, HOTDOGS, & SHINE.)

You may have to use cardboard instead of a purchased canvas, or wallpaper samples instead of scrap booking paper for the rays, if cost is an issue. Even if you don't end with an exact replica of this art, you'll still get a satisfactory copy, with less cost.

© 2013 Loraine Brummer

What Inspires you to create an art project? - or leave a comment

anil181 on January 31, 2013:

cool n creative tips!

Shannon from Florida on January 24, 2013:

Great tips and ideas! My 6 year old always wants to do art projects, so I'm always looking for ideas.

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