Make Your Lessons POP with Art!
Recent events in my life and around the world have reminded me of the important role teachers play in educating the “whole child.” The main academic subjects are very important, but a well-rounded person will need more than just those basics to succeed in life. We spend a lot of time discussing what to teach and how to teach it, but all this discussion can make it easy to lose track of our ultimate goal of molding successful, well-rounded, and happy humans.
Will Durant wrote, “Education is the transmission of civilization.” We need to remember this and to realize the importance of all different types of non-traditional subjects in education (even those subjects not emphasized by standardized testing). Art can often be pushed aside in our attempt to teach the “important” stuff. Art has played a critical role in the development of our civilization, earning its place among the “important stuff” that should have a place in the classroom.
The above ramblings are my attempt to explain why a teacher would want to include lessons about art (and more specifically, this week’s Gateway topic: pop art) in the classroom. Aren’t our plates full enough already without adding another topic into the mix, though? Reading Joann’s post on pop art got me thinking about the benefits of including the arts in the curriculum. Understanding how art has influenced history and learning to create art that will become a part of history are essential skills for a well-rounded, civilized, and educated person.
If you think you want to include more art in your classroom, you might want to start with the bright, fun designs of pop art. To fit pop art into your classroom within your required teaching, check out some of the standards-aligned resources Joann and I are featuring this week here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
The beginning of a new school year is an ideal time to introduce an art activity. You can use it as a time for students to get to know one another and for you to get to know your students. It will also be a nice way to make your classroom more fun and colorful. The following activities are arranged in order of simplicity. You could do the first two easily in a primary classroom, and the third would probably work better in an art classroom with high school students.
Let your students Create Your Own Warhol Masterpiece. You will get to know more about your their interests and artistic abilities as you allow them to make pop art inspired cutouts to brighten your classroom walls. This activity is fairly easy to do and can probably be completed with materials you have on hand.
In Andy Warhol: Pop of Pop Art, students are encouraged to draw and paint rather than cut out their designs. Like the first resource, students will be able to complete this activity with little direction. It is also an activity that they can easily replicate at home. This artwork would be a nice addition to your classroom décor…perfect for open house!
Andy Warhol Linoleum Prints is also an introduction to Andy Warhol and pop art. This resource is designed for high school students and teaches the skills required for basic printmaking. Students create multiple linoleum blocks to make pop art prints.
There are more neat pop art resources on the Gateway. Joann has suggested some in her article this week and she will be featuring even more each day on the Facebook and Twitter pages. I encourage you to find one to share with your students this year. Creating a community of creativity at the beginning of the school year will benefit the whole class. With a creative spirit, student work from book reports to research projects will be much more interesting and fun.
I will revisit this discussion of educating the “whole child” throughout the school year. If you have any suggestions or opinions on the subject, please comment here or on our Facebook or Twitter page. Good luck as you begin another exciting school year!