Relationship Building

4 Engaging One Day Activities

Ah, December. The magical time of year when holiday cheer is in the air and good behavior disappears in the lead up to break. If you are wondering how you’ll get through the last few weeks without losing your mind, these activities are for you! They are short and sweet, fun and engaging, and most importantly–educational!

1. Forced Perspective Photography


All you need to have your students create great optical illusions and play with perspective is a camera. Figuring out how to work with a group to capture a great image is fun, collaborative, and challenging—your students will love it! This activity will work well for age ranges from upper elementary to high school.

2. Critique Games

Critique games are one of my favorite ways to get students thinking and talking about art, which always works well in my classroom! Critique games are easy to play, fun, and active – perfect for days when kids just can’t sit still or you want to try a new way to analyze art. If you’re looking for even more ideas about critiques, you could run a critique battle, get creative with what you’re doing, or even try something new!

3. TASK Party

Note: Be sure to browse each artist’s website and work before deciding what is appropriate to show and discuss with your students. Adhere to your district’s guidelines and consider your students’ age levels.

Connect to contemporary art and have a whole lot of fun by planning a TASK party. TASK originated with New York artist Oliver Herring, who held large, public parties where participants would write art assignments for other group members to create. It’s easy to adapt this concept for the art room! Start the class before by explaining what a TASK party is. Ask students to write a few tasks that have an art component, like “become a robot” or “make a bouquet of flowers and give it to someone” on strips of paper. Pick out a limited number of supplies, like newsprint, paper bags, cardboard and paper scraps, and clear some space for kids to work. During the party, students will draw a paper strip with a task, complete the task and repeat. Read more about a sixth-grade teacher’s experience with TASK here.

4. Animation Bingo

Showing an animated movie can be a fun treat, but it can also be a valuable learning experience. Have your students watch and analyze with this fun Animation Bingo game! Just print, pass out and review what the vocabulary means. As kids watch, they should look for examples and write a short explanation in each square they find.


Download The Handout Now!


The last few weeks before winter break can be chaotic, but it’s important to make sure kids stay engaged. Keeping things moving with quick, one-day lessons can be a great way to run a classroom that is still full of creating and learning. I hope some of these ideas can help you do exactly that!

What are some engaging one-day lessons you teach?

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.


Melissa Purtee

Melissa Purtee is a high school art educator and a former AOEU Writer. She is passionate about supporting diversity, student choice, and facilitating authentic expression.

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