Art is becoming an attractive activity for children. It is an engaging and fun activity that develops children’s creativity and imagination. Art makes children freely produce their creation using their own ways and styles. Through art, children are able to express their ideas and explore their talents and skills more not only in drawing but also in making arts and craft stuff.
Every week, our students eagerly await their art elective class. They can’t wait to know what lesson or what activity that they are going to learn. They keep on asking the activities that will be done in upcoming weeks. Every session gives a different experience of learning not only to our students but also to us as their teachers.
In the beginning of our art class, we introduced ourselves to each other as part of building relationships. In introducing ourselves to each other, we used the “throwing ball” activity. During this activity, a student who has the ball will introduce himself or herself. Students tell their friends about their name, hobbies, what they like most about learning art and their reasons for joining the class.
We have essential agreements in our art class. The students agreed to follow them every time we have our art lesson. We called these agreements, 3Bs. 3Bs means Be focused, Be independent and Be creative.
Staying focused is one of the most important skills that the students have to develop in our class. Students are encouraged not to get distracted easily while they are finishing their artwork. Being independent in working means that the students should be able to create their artwork by themselves. Their work result must be authentically made by their own hands and from their own ideas. Being creative is not only our agreement but also one of the goals that students should achieve. Through our art class, we are hoping that students will be able to produce original, unique, imaginative and innovative ideas.
Art lessons can be either fun or uninteresting. It all depends on how teachers create and deliver their lessons for the students. If we have engaging activities, our students will be more enthusiastic and motivated in expressing their creativity and producing best artwork
Basically, we can choose and make art activities based on students’ interests and age level. Some of the activities that we prepare for our students, aged 6 to 8, are paper folding and painting.
Materials can be taken from any resources, including recycled items. In our art class, we prefer to use recycled stuff such as old t-shirts, socks and CDs. Using recycled materials for our lesson will help the students learn how to appreciate more their belongings. This will let students to discover that art creation can be produced and reproduced from other materials, even from unused or old stuff.
Creating Art using recycled materials
Recycled materials are easy to get and students also don’t need to spend much money to buy them. They just utilize any items at home that they don’t use any more.
By using recycled materials as our art resources, we are hoping that our students will learn not to waste any items. Here are some activities that we did using recycled materials.
Some of our unforgettable activities
Students watched a video about the story, “Matthew’s Dream” by Leo Lionni. After watching the story, they created abstract designs. This was a great start for our art elective class as our students were just beginning to learn new skills and friends.
Most of our students were able to complete this project easily since they only needed to compose an abstract object using simple shapes and lines based on their own imagination.
There was no limitation on how many shapes or objects that they had to draw and color. In this activity, students only used colorful markers and pencils for sketching.
The most interesting one
Night Sky Crayon
“Night Sky” crayon activity was inspired by Carla Sonheim online art classes. In this activity, students learnt about mixing media. They liked it so much and found this activity interesting. The process of mixing different media such as crayon, salt and water color resulted in colorful artwork.
- A4 drawing paper
- Water colors (dark blue, red purple)
- Crayons(yellow, red, pink, light green)
- Sea salt
- Black paper
- Glue stick
How to make it:
1. Draw a sky on A4 paper with red, pink and yellow crayons. Draw also the ground with light green crayons to form the land and grass.
2. Paint the sky with dark blue and red purple water color paint. You may mix and form different patterns of color from dark blue to light blue or the opposite.
3. Once you finished painting, put some sea salt on the surface of the painting.
4. Make and draw patterns of city view or any landscape view on black paper. Cut the patterns.
5. Stick the patterns of city view or any landscape view on the painting using glue.
Students found this activity interesting and others considered it a little bit challenging. No matter what, the students were able to produce their own colorful paintings and express their creativity.
By: Meylia Rianawati & Sylvia Rakhmi Dwi Iswari
Grade 3 Co-Teachers
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
Under the transdisciplinary theme, “How the world works”, our students explored the central idea, “All actions and interactions involve forces, which follow scientific and universal rules”.
In Visual Art, the students did blow painting with a straw and they enjoyed doing it.
Students love blow painting as it is not only fun to do. Students can make all sorts of artworks in various designs and color schemes. They can drop any color they like on paper and blow it. They can make a drop with a single color and blow it or do two drops with different colors.
Blow painting is a simple activity that students can do over and over again. It can be used for teaching students about the color wheel.
Students were very creative in doing this activity. They made different styles on how they dropped the colour on paper. Students used a paintbrush to drop the colours, including water colour. They created various images such as panda, tree, flowers and clouds.
A number of students did a single drop. Other students dropped two to three colours and then blew them. When the colours mixed together, they produced a new colour. During the activity, students came up with comments such as “How cool is that!” and Wow!”
In doing blow painting, students used the air pressure through their mouth to produce forces. They used high or low air pressure to create their masterpiece. They conducted experiments on high and low air pressure. They learned that the more they blew the straw, the easier they will feel tired.
By: Irma Dwi Savitri
Visual Art Teacher
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
For our grade 4 unit of inquiry under the transdisciplinary theme, “How We Express Ourselves”, students created hand puppets. The central idea of the unit was “Plays can communicate feelings, ideas and information.”
This activity was aimed at developing the fine motor skills of the students and explore more about three-dimensional form. The students created their own character for their puppets.
Paper mache was the art technique that students used for the puppet head. Students utilized plastic bottles, which they cut into two. Then, students covered the plastic bottles with newspaper and kitchen tissue.
The most challenging part of the learning engagement was when students need to create the hair for the puppet. Students didn’t realize that what they did was related to the measurement math concept. Students had to measure the length of the puppet hair. Once they know the measurement for the hair, they need to roll the yarn of the size of their fist and count it 30 times per roll, which they had to make three rolls. They also had to decide, with or without bangs for the puppet.
Most of the students enjoyed doing the measurement and they were very independent because it was like a role play for them. However, a number of them still needed teacher’s assistance. The other challenging part was when they had to cut the flannel fabric. The teacher had to demonstrate how to cut the flannel fabric. Students also had to attach the puppet head onto the body (flannel) and decorate the flannel.
Once they were done with their puppets, students showed their work to each other and played with their puppets together.
Students were proud of their own masterpieces and eager to bring them home.
By: Irma Dwi Savitri
Visual Art Teacher
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
I found a very interesting artist for my grade 5 visual art lesson on the unit of inquiry, “How the World Works”. The name of the artist is Tony Orrico, an American and best known as “human spirograph”. Spirograph is like a mathematical toy that creates elaborate circular shapes known as “hypotrochoids” and “epitrochoids”.
Tony Orrico is famous for his “Penwald Drawings”, which consist of a series of bilateral drawings in which the artist explores the use of the human body as an instrument to create geometric patterns through movement and course. Through a series of careful movements and repetition of his arms, Tony Orrico creates compelling and beautiful geometric artwork. Tightly clenching carbon sticks of graphite in his fists, he makes series of repeated and varied movements involving his entire body over predetermined periods of time or until certain numbers of strokes, cycles or rotations are done.
Tony Orrico does not only use body movements to create his masterpieces but also his teeth. He spends between 15 minutes and seven hours to complete one of his artworks.
In the end, I was surprised when we did a reflection. Students commented that they admired Tony Orrico’s stamina in doing his masterpieces. Students said that Tony Orrico’s artworks look very easy to do, but in reality one has to work hard to follow his style. Students noted that Tony Orrico can spend 15 minutes to seven hours non-stop, but when they were doing it as a group, they felt tired even just for a minute. It made them realize that creating a masterpiece does not only require creativity but also passion and perseverance.
By: Irma Dwi Savitri
Visual Art Teacher
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
There are multiple ways you can integrate art into your unit of inquiry. You can incorporate it as an expression of human creativity and imagination, or as a form of communication. The latter is the method used in my school’s Program of Inquiry in our ‘How We Express Ourselves’ unit in Year 4.
After categorizing artworks into 1D, 2D, 3D, and 4D dimensional formats, the students saw that art is deeply woven into human life. They saw, for instance, 2D art as accompanying illustrations in every chapter in their school books and 3D creations in their own classroom – items that they usually sit and write on without giving much thought to them. Although that was already a fun eye-opening phase of their UOI, what followed was even more exciting. The students came to a realization that art is a form of communication that transcends cultural and language barriers. One excellent example is the art of illustration or pictures. Trying, with shaky results, to decipher written public signs in foreign languages, they immediately realized that the internationally used text-less picture signs in public places such as airports are a brilliant use of art that is also very effective to convey messages to people from different cultures who speak different languages. As my classroom is currently a home to children of five different nationalities, they discovered that art was also a way to help them understand each other better.
The next excitement was when the students found other purposes of art such as to preserve a civilization’s history, a cultural identity, a standard for beauty, and a medium for product marketing. It was a truly wonderful learning experience for both the students and myself.
At the end of the Unit of Inquiry, I found that integrated art is a superb tool to develop the students’ Communicator and Open-minded profiles. The possibilities for classroom activities where students have to strategize ways of communicating ideas, feelings, or even instructions are limitless and students always come out of every activity with more understanding, with the occasional admiration, of each other and of different cultures.
Meidiana, Year 4 teacher, Jakarta Multicultural School (email@example.com)
At Sekolah Ciputra, we consider the Visual Arts room not only a place for students to create artwork; instead we consider it more as a place for freedom of expression, for exploring possibilities, for challenging creativity and for promoting inquiry. The Visual Arts teacher is not the single authority in this space. We offer students opportunities to build the Visual Arts room together with the teacher. We use the learning opportunities offered under the transdisciplinary theme “How We organize ourselves” to engage students collectively in realizing this vision of a shared creative space. Below are the details of the unit:
A supportive work environment is essential to the development of our creativity
Key concepts: Function, Responsibility and Reflection
Related concepts: organization, work environment, creativity, aesthetic, design,
Lines of Inquiry
- Considerations when working in a Visual Arts room
- How the Visual Arts room supports the development of our creativity
- Maintaining a supportive Visual Arts room environment
Summative assessment task(s):
Students work in groups to design a safe and comfortable Visual Arts room to be used by the entire school community. This room should be organized with clear procedures and agreements created by all users (teachers and students). Students need to present their ideas for management, organization and design of the Visual Arts room to teachers and peers. The chosen ideas are accepted and applied in the Visual Arts room for use by everyone.
Once the idea is adopted, it is applied throughout the year. This has helped to build a greater sense of shared ownership of this creative space, with students actively taking responsibility for maintaining the space.
In addition to engaging students in designing and maintaining the Visual Arts room, here are some tips on creating an environment of inquiry that I gathered during my first year as a Visual Arts teacher:
- Materials and equipment should be easily accessible by students. When there are varied items available for them to use independently, then you may expect more from students in terms of creativity and inquiry, especially when exploring the use of these tools and materials.
- Make the thinking visible. Just like in other inquiry classrooms, you need to involve students in thinking and creative processes. More importantly this needs to be visible in the classroom. Use thinking routines such as “I see…I Think…I Wonder” which fits well with “responding to art” activities.
- Display provoking questions, along with samples of Art work. These questions provoke students to think about their responses to art work and to take inspiration from the samples. The questions should be conceptual and related to the UOI.
- Involve students in responding to Art. Encourage students to express their thoughts and opinions as this might lead to further inquiry questions. At the same time, students are learning about the techniques and elements of Visual Arts.
- Display lots of provoking images and artwork. These are great primary resources for allowing students to tune in to various art concepts and can also be a source of inspiration.
- Provide a variety of books about art. There are books available for students to use both for inspiration and for learning about technique.
Those are just a small sample of ideas and tips that could hopefully be useful for your school’s Visual Arts room or maybe for your classroom.
Yan Yulius – PYP Coordinator at Sekolah Ciputra, Surabaya, Indonesia