9 Easy Ways to Incorporate Writing Into the Art Room

This summer, my district is putting on a Curriculum Academy for teachers. It’s a chance for teachers to get together and write curriculum in a collaborative setting, and it’s awesome. With the development of the Common Core, many teachers have become very interested in cross-curricular planning. As you may know, I LOVE cross-curricular planning, but there are some subjects that are just a better fit for the art room than others. For example, it’s very easy for me to think about connecting a social studies lesson about Native Americans to an art project than a science lesson about evaporation. Not that it can’t be done; it just takes some extra thought. (As a side note, if you’d like to learn more about cross-curricular planning, don’t forget to sign up for the AOE online conference and attend my presentation titled “Getting Started with Cross Curricular Planning.)

Last year, I challenged myself to incorporate writing into the art room to make even more connections with students’ classroom studies. I wanted to make the writing meaningful and fun for the students so that they didn’t see it as extra work. In addition to artist statements and self-evaluation writing, here are 9 more ways I had students write in the art room.


9 Easy Ways to Incorporate Writing into the Art Room 

 For very young, emerging writers: 

1. Students created creatures a la Eric Carle, then wrote the sounds those creatures made:

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2. Students created self-portraits and wrote the emotions they were showing:

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3. I gave students a simple writing prompt they could complete with a few words, then had them do a project to go with it. (thanks pinterest!)

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For beginning writers: 

4. Students created ancient treasure maps and wrote directions from a starting point to their treasures:

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5. Students made story quilt paintings about their biggest dreams and wrote sentences to go with them:

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6. Students made thank you stars to send to a local veterans hospital:

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For more advanced writers: 

7. Students created their own species of animal and then wrote about what those animals would be classified as and why:

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8. Students design buildings and wrote about what the buildings were used for and who lived or worked there:

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9. Students turned personal narratives written in their classrooms into narrative comics:

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So, I’d love to know, do you incorporate writing into your curriculum?

Secondary teachers, how are middle schoolers and high schoolers writing in your rooms?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Amanda Heyn

Amanda Heyn is AOEU’s Director of K–12 PD & Media and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She enjoys creating relevant and engaging professional development just for art teachers.

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