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3 Helpful Elements and Principles Downloads

How to teach the Elements and Principles of Art continues to be a hot discussion topic among art teachers. Some of us feel they are the building blocks of solid lesson planning and should be featured prominently. Others feel that they come naturally to students and can merely be referenced in passing.

Some of us love the traditional E’s and P’s but just can’t get on board with the Contemporary Elements. For others, it’s the opposite. Whatever your stance is on the Elements and Principles, we support you! It’s important you do what works best for you and your students.

Therefore, we’ve created some helpful downloads that can be used in a variety of ways in your classroom. Pass them out as reference guides for your students, hang them in your classroom, or use them for your own lesson planning purposes.

Traditional Elements and Principles

Download your copy of Traditional Elements.

download featuring the elements of art

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Download your copy of Traditional Principles.

download outlining the principles of design

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Contemporary Elements (aka Postmodern Principles)

In addition to the traditional Elements and Principles, over the last few years there has been a growing and changing list of Contemporary Elements (or Postmodern Principles). Many teachers have been using these at the secondary level. Although the list is continuously in flux, we have compiled the seven most common ideas in the field for you in an additional download. These ideas would be great to include as vocabulary or to use as themes in your classroom. They are a great way to expand your students’ art language beyond the typical elements and principles definitions.

Download your copy of Contemporary Elements.

download outlining the contemporary elements of art

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If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, check out these articles:

And, if you’re looking for even more ways to bring new ideas into your art curriculum, check out AOE’s course Designing Your Art Curriculum where you’ll dive deep into different teaching philosophies to find the one that best suits your students and your teaching style.

How do you incorporate the Elements and Principles in your art room?

Do you use Contemporary Elements/Postmodern Principles in your curriculum?

Tracy Hare

Learning Team

Tracy is a middle school art teacher from central MN who strives to create rich, meaningful content and resources through her Art Ed PRO Director role at AOE.

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