In the current situation of the widespread transmission of COVID-19, the hands of educators are tied. Knowing schools could be the first places to shut down, we’re waiting to see what’s expected of us. Will schools close? What happens if my school closes? Do I need to prepare for virtual learning? What if my students don’t have access to the internet or technology? How do I teach when students have limited access to art materials at home?
These are all questions that have probably been on the top of your mind in recent weeks. We don’t have the answers to all of these things, but we do know that trying to keep some normalcy in the routines of the art room at home is going to be a challenge.
The approach to this situation is not going to be one-size-fits-all. Every single art teacher has a unique situation and different student body they are trying to reach. Keeping that in mind, you, as the educator, will have to develop ways to plan and facilitate learning in a way that meets your specific situation. To help ease the pain of trying to figure out what to teach to your students at home, we’ve created a list of ideas to help inspire your planning. As you look at these ideas, keep in mind the circumstances of your students, and make adaptations to serve your students best.
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Alternate Paint Ideas
Unfortunately, many students will not have access to paint at home. Consider using this as a time for exploration to introduce students to new types of paint. Challenge students to think about what natural materials they might have, much like the people creating cave art might have used. Try some of these homemade paint options:
Found Object Ideas
Found object artmaking is a medium that has been explored by artists throughout the ages. Let your students’ creativity flow by creating with the objects they have around them.
Here is a list of found objects that might help inspire your students. Try one of these found object ideas:
- Found Object Color Wheel: Using the objects found throughout one’s home, have students collect as many colored objects as they can to create a color wheel. It will become a fun challenge to see how many different objects in different hues one can find at their home.
- Andy Goldsworthy Found Object Nature Ideas
- Found Object Cityscape Printmaking Lesson Plan
3-D Lesson Ideas
Planning activities and lessons for 3-D classes like ceramics and sculpture might present an extra challenge. It won’t be very easy to truly emulate the happenings of a ceramics class without clay at home. Maybe, you’ll get lucky, and you can send each student home with a pound of clay, but this won’t be the case for everyone. Instead, get creative and keep it simple. Here are some ideas to consider.
- Create temporary sculptures with household items. Have your students photograph them, and use them as a drawing inspiration. When you eventually get back to the classroom, students can recreate their sculptures with other materials.
- Have your students create stop-motion videos using clay-like material. This can be done with clay, play-doh, or even cookie dough.
- Paper Pottery
- Cardboard Sculptures
Here are some additional clay recipes your students can try to make their own homemade clay:
Lessons with Limited Supplies
When it comes to limited supplies, drawing is going to be the best way to have our students find success. They can simply draw with the materials they have, any type of mark-making and paper will do the trick.
Use these drawing prompts to continue your students’ drawing skills.
- 100 Silly Drawing Prompts
- 100 Sketchbook Prompts eBook
- 100 Sketchbook Prompts
- Finish the Picture Prompts
Now is the perfect time to refine observational drawing skills. To encourage your students to take note of the world around them, encourage them to participate in the “View From My Day” drawing challenge.
Other Drawing Activities:
- Turn Your Markers into Paint
- Stuffed Animal Drawings
- Drawing the Human Form
- Digital Drawing Ideas
- Visual Journaling Ideas
- Line Drawing Lessons
Additional Art Challenges to Engage Your Students
Use and adapt these art challenges to fit the needs of your students.
These lists are just a few ideas to help you create lessons or art from home. Just as in times of uncertainty, there are no silver bullets or definitive answers, but there are often options. As art educators, you do have options at your fingertips; at AOEU, we are here to help you find them.
What are your go-to options when schools close?
How do your students respond with a variety or lack of options?
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.