• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

fostering artistic sense, creativity, and visual thinking

Too many standards to cover?
Too much testing to deal with?
No time for art?
These nine easy ideas can help foster creative thinking, problem-solving, and art appreciation in the classroom, with no extra time required!

 •••Let's get started!•••

1. Have students occasionally use colored pencils for writing. Why not? Maybe they can color code their paragraphs and essays - topic sentences in one color, supporting sentences and details in another color. Or maybe writing in color would be just plain fun! And more interesting!

realism and fantasy a la Marc Chagall
2. Use examples of well-known art works to teach, reinforce, or review selected Language Arts strategies or Math vocabulary. Compare two art works. Make inferences about the artists' thinking or the actions or thoughts of people portrayed in art works. Use descriptive vocabulary to describe art works.This freebie can give you some ideas and get you started.
3. Have students illustrate at least half of their writing, not only stories and poems but also their persuasive essays, responses to informational text, and other types of writing required by standards. OK, this would require a little extra time, but it's worth it. Or it could be assigned for homework! (See #8)
4. Ask students to draw their responses to literature or informational text. Drawing responses activates visual thinking and can include details in ways that just writing cannot do. In fact, if students draw *first* and then write, you might see more detailed, more descriptive writing. Try this free Draw and Write Literature Response sample!
2nd grade -  analogous colors
5. Make coloring pages more creative. There is nothing more uncreative than just coloring somebody else's drawings. Yes, it's relaxing. Yes, it's meditative. Yes, it is an important fine motor skill and more kids definitely need to color. But what if you gave directions for coloring that required a little thinking on students' part? Add some problem-solving to simple coloring pages by asking students to do something like.... 
• use three analogous colors (see this blog post)
• color with the page upside down
• color, cut the page into squares, rearrange and mount on another paper
• use only one color, varying light and dark shades
Presto! Coloring becomes problem-solving!
6. Have students keep a sketch book. Make simple sketch books with copy paper folded into a construction paper cover. Have students sketch when their work is finished, or give a weekly sketch prompt as morning "bell work" instead of a worksheet. Have them sketch every Monday morning, something that reflects their weekend. Use the sketch book not just as an "extra" but incorporated into the existing curriculum or schedule.
7. Put homework (or other worksheets) on colored paper. How easy is this? Just for fun, once in a while, bring color into the mix. I wonder if homework on colored paper would be more likely to be returned? 
8. Assign drawing for homework. Draw a scene from a television show. Draw your family. Draw what you see from one of your windows. Or just draw.
basic art materials - nothing fancy
9. Most importantly, have basic art materials available at all times. Invite students to use them as they desire, not only for art activities but to add a creative element to everyday written work. A small space is all you need, stocked with colored pencils, extra crayons, glue, construction paper scraps, scissors, and markers. These are common materials available in most classrooms. Rather than thinking of them as "art materials" what if students knew they were able to use them at any time?
Bring creative thinking into students' lives without creating more work for yourself. Giving students creative choices for their regular class work and homework might.... just might.... help develop visual literacy, a creative sense, and appreciation for art that's all around us on a daily basis.
Try it! And enjoy!