Tips for Teaching Art during Distance Learning, Part 2 – Teaching Strategies for Art Educators
Hello my lovely friends and Art Teachers! Well, last time we talked about focusing your Distance Learning approach so that you can streamline the process and not get yourself too overwhelmed. Today we’re going to discuss some ideas for teaching Distance Learning or Remote Learning style to your students in your Art Classroom. I’m going to provide a lot of ideas and you can decide what might work for you or take some ideas and tweak them for your own classroom. Every classroom and group of students is different so make it work for you.
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Alright, let’s get started!
Before we begin, when I mean Distance Learning, I mean anyone who is teaching Distance Learning, or is teaching their students remotely, or is teaching students in a hybrid model where, at times, you’re instructing remotely.
Let’s Get into it!
Distance learning is a form of online where students and teachers are separate. Teachers are facilitating student learning over the internet and students are engaging with it at scheduled times or independently.
For art teachers, this can present a lot of challenges as your art mediums are now very limited compared to what you were using before! In most instances, you classroom is gone… Your amazing set up, your sink, cupboard full of supplies, table caddies pre-prepped… It is all gone. As well, a lot of art projects CAN’T be done the same over the internet. Ceramics is a topic that is a challenge to teach when you’re not seeing your students in person!
So where to start? First, make sure that you EXPLORE if you don’t know.
If you have never created a digital worksheet before, I suggest exploring Google Slides or Microsoft Powerpoint and just play around with them. You can change the page layout or dimensions to 8.5×11. In PPT, this is under “DESIGN” then “SLIDE SIZE”. If you’re using Google Slides, it is under “FILE” and then at the bottom, “PAGE SETUP” .
It’s important that you play around and experiment so you have exposure to these programs. There is nothing more frustrating that suddenly having to creating art resources in a new way and not knowing how to do so.If you’re wanting to save time or get pre-made digital art lessons, you can always try searching on TpT for Digital Art Lessons. As well, I have pre-made Digital Art Lessons available in my TpT store or for members of the Artastic Collective, which is my Art Teacher Membership site that provides an Art Resource Library that is ever-growing to the member. I’ll put a link in the description of this podcast so that you may easily find the Digital Art Lessons in my store. I have created Google Slides resources that give art lessons on the Elements of Art, the Principles of Design, and themes such as Back to School, Autumn, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. It’s my newest line so expect it to grow over the months!
Teaching Art over Zoom, TEAMS, or Skype.
Alright. Now, let’s talk about Art Teachers who are teaching over ZOOM or Skype or Microsoft Teams or whatever video conferencing tool that you might be using. Be Silly and fun! I know it is hard to be expressive when it feels like you’re talking to yourself, especially when your presenting a Powerpoint. Try to talk with a lot of expression and move your body. You can make a “Classroom Mascot” which is essentially a stuffed animal. If you want you can try hot gluing some art stuff on it, like a hat, cardboard paint palette, and maybe an old paintbrush. You can use it for something like “Fun Fridays” and every Friday your Classroom Mascot, whatever it’s name might be, joins in on Zoom. You can change what it’s doing or add paper speech bubbles and stick it to its face so it looks like its talking. Think of it like Elf on a Shelf.
If you don’t want to do a mascot but you have pets at home, DEFINITELY bring your pets onto Zoom on a fun day of the week. Like Friday. This is a way for kids to make connections with you, it helps them ease into the lesson and will make them WANT to participate because, honestly… I know my kids love me, but my cats will win their attention over me any day.
You can also use the mascot or pet for a drawing prompt! For your fun and silly Fridays, especially at the beginning of the year, this can be a community builder or ice breaker. You can have the Mascot sit in front of the camera (PUT ON A TIMER) and kids can draw it with their choice of medium! Or for a challenge, they can try and draw your squirming pet.
As well, try and build movement into the sessions! Invite kids to get up and stretch half way through, or think of art movement activities that relate to the lesson. Movement is good! You can also use the whiteboard feature in Zoom for fun, drawing activities! Use it for drawing or playing games!
Next, screenshare! You can screenshare anything. I like to have internet windows open or my PDFs or Powerpoints open on my computer before starting a Zoom meeting. Then, when I click Screenshare, I can share different things like YouTube videos, PDFs, Gallery Websites, Pictures of Art… This way you can carefully curate what the kids SEE instead of them freely exploring art history – which most likely will feature some naked people, and depending on your district or age of kids, this may or may not be okay. So if you want them to see online Galleries for having art conversations or art history lessons (compare & contrast artwork or artists for example), or if you want to show them parts of PDFs, or show a Powerpoint or other type of slideshow or video.
Another tip is If you teach an age group that has trouble focusing, try changing things up. For example, you can start with a YouTube video or a pre-recorded Art Demonstration you made (because you can screen share that!) then have the kids up and lead a stretch, then show them the mascot, then screen share and show them an artwork online, or have kids draw or create, or have kids then hold up the art assignment from “last class”. The idea is to keep changing the screen around to keep them interested. Which is the same in class right? We talk in the front, go to carpet, go to tables to create, etc.
For those who want to add extra flavor, you can create a set. Okay, to be honest, this one… it’s just not me and if I’m at home, I don’t like the idea of having my classroom in my house. But I HAVE considered maybe making one for Ms Artastic Webinars on a wall in my art studio. If you scroll through Instagram or search #distancelearning or look on YouTube for video tutorials of Teaching with Zoom, you’ll see a lot of teachers who have essentially made a set behind them. They put things on the wall that are like, visual posters, backgrounds, or you can make paintings and put them up… some primary teachers put up 100s Charts and such like they would have at “calendar” meetings. I’m not saying you HAVE to do this, but if this is something you ENJOY doing, it’s an idea! I’m here to give ideas and you can pick the things that you like for your life or teaching style.
Creating Art Lessons… Digitally!
Now, let’s talk about creating art demonstrations digitally.
You can create art demonstrations by filming yourself with your camera above you and posting your video onto YouTube or uploading it to your online classroom. For YouTube, you can post as PUBLIC which anyone can find the video, or you can select UNLISTED so no one can find it unless they have the link.
I like to use an arm that holds my camera. It clamps to my table and swings over my work area. I found it on Amazon. Just search “overhead filming stand” and you’ll find some stuff.
You can also try using your document camera, or use a tripod or monopod and have it straight out (horizontally) off a shelf or furniture piece that is taller than your work area and anchor it down with something heavy like cat litter or a sand bag.
If you are not comfortable with filming your art lessons, you can also take a picture of each step in the art making process.
Then, you can put the picture of each step on a separate slide on either Powerpoint or Google Slides. Then you can show the steps in a Zoom Meeting, or post the presentation to your online classroom.
You can also do a voiceover on Powerpoint and export it as a video!
Download Free Art Worksheets for Kids
Click here to download free art worksheets that you can print to allow kids to explore art at home!
Ideas for teaching Art Lessons during Distance Learning or Remote Learning
Finally, some ideas for lessons you can do for Distance Learning!
- You can always try sending kids on Art Web Quests for assignments! Web Quests are an inquiry-oriented activity in which students get all information from the web.
- You can Explore Galleries online with your students! This is a great way to show them art! You can give them direct links OR show them galleries in Screenshare if you do Zoom meetings.
- You can use YouTube for Art History! There are lots of videos that teach art history on YouTube. Search things like “Vincent van Gogh” for kids to find kid friendly videos
- You can also use YouTube to find Art Lessons for Distance Learning if you’re feeling overwhelmed or needing a break from filming yourself. This is a great way to balance your life in this chaos! You can search “Art for Kids” and see what you find! I’ve also created a YouTube Channel (search Ms Artastic) and there you can find a lot of free Directed Drawings & Art Lessons (including lessons on the Elements and Principles) that allow for flexible mediums to be used!
- You can also create digital sketchbooks! Create a digital sketchbook on Google Slides or Microsoft Powerpoint. Just have blank slides and at the top or bottom of each slide, you can type in a Sketchbook Assignment or Drawing Prompt. Share this blank template with kids. They will then create the sketchbook assignments on real paper, take a picture of the assignment, then insert it onto their copy of the document. When it is full, they can share it back to you!
- Last, they can create found art sculptures with things around the house or recycled materials! Or you can teach a lesson on Alexander Calder and have kids create things like pipe cleaner flea circus elements, or they can Make Mobiles with elements they create from recycled materials!
Well, that’s all! I’ll see you in the next episode in my Podcast or on the next blog post where I talk about “Creating Happiness in your Art Classroom”.
Art Lessons You’ll LOVE!
Thank you for reading my blog post! I am grateful that you did and I appreciate you having took the time to read to the end. Thank you so much. Please write any questions you have in the comments section of this post.
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Kathleen McGiveron (Ms Artastic)
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