November 16, 2010

Your Thoughts/Ideas on Math/Reading in the Art Room

So, I have just made more work for myself. Why do I get myself into these things?!?!  My 1st year mentor is now "Executive Director of Instruction for Elementary Schools".  He is over the instructional coaches for our district(my wife is one of them)...among other things.  I've told him about my desire to be a coach for the elementary art teachers for our district(we have over 90 elementary art teachers).  Well he had a great idea...why don't I work up something to show the instructional coaches for our district on how math & reading/writing can be incorporated into the art room.  I have many things that I do, but would like to hear from bloggie friends...on what you do in your classroom to go cross curricular.


  1. Rulers!!!! This was a request of the math teachers, so I teach my 5-6 graders to use the ruler while doing one and two point perspective.

  2. Rulers....used to measure for notches on a student made loom

    Tangrams...students created small ones out of paper....created their own pictures

    Any pattern or shape lesson goes with math...including kindergarteners learning how to cut shapes from a square piece of paper...

    Science tie in....drawing close up images of insects...drawing imaginary microscopic creatures (done when the kids are learning how to use a microscope)...mandala fractal-like second graders learn about animals so in art we do franz marc arbitrary color animals and then do clay animals

    I think that every lesson I do ties into the classroom curriculum in some way. jan

  3. I have a Visual Journaling club that I started after school once a week. The 4th through 6th graders create a page a week. They use various materials and write with different prompts each time! It's great to infuse vocabulary too!

    I also do alot of reflective writing in class about the process or product.

    Use of rulers, symmetry, perspective, concentric, concave/ convex... math and english vocabulary.

    Numbers are used often in art... Jasper Johns is one such artist.

    Art criticism..using Visual THinking Strategies and Feldman's model.

    Research about artists... I'm doing Artist Trading Cards as a final result of research on an artist in 6th grade.
    Patterns in Kinder and 1st grade.

  4. I have my high school art 1 students create abstract paintings inspired by bacteria. We give the painting nice names and display them in our gallery. Many people are not aware that they are looking at bacteria that can be deadly to humans.

  5. There are so many things we do that makes connections with class room teaching. I do have a concern, though, when we build our projects around classroom topics- that we are at risk of saying that Art is not important enough to teach for it's own merit. I think there is a line there that we need to careful of crossing. In our daily interactions with students we touch on the basics of shape recognition, directional objectives such as vertical/horizontal, proportions, symmetry, measuring and using rulers, I use protractors and measure angles when making mandalas,I'm sure there is more I'm not thinking of off the top my head- and that is not mentioning the inherent problem solving skills and critical thinking opportunities students are continuously using while making Art. ...and that is just math!

  6. Geometry & measurement go hand-in-hand w/art. But also, what about how history has been documented by artists over the years? Science is involved in mixing colors and different mediums. There are thousands of trade books about art and artists for literacy. Language Arts: vocabulary! Just a few ideas.

  7. I took a workshop by Cindy Todd, president of the MAEA and she had some great ideas about literacy and art. They are more alike than you think. I actually go to each grade level each time I see them and come up with a lesson designed around that idea.

    Last 4th grade lesson was a great one! We talked about theme. I showed a conteporary piece titled Waterprize that I saw during art prize in Grand Rapids Michigan. Then teachers used that artwork as a springboard for writing. Everything we do in art this year is a springboard for writing pieces. It is very interesting and very validating for the art program.

  8. With second grade we look at Number 5 by Charles Demuth and some of Jasper Johns works and then use chalk pastel and number stencils( one stencil is made by the students- they choose their favorite number) to fill the paper with overlapping and different numbers. Students then have to add up their numbers (using number sentences) to create the title for their masterpiece. We emphasize overlapping (to show depth) and color blending with the chalk.

    Also pattern naturally work with the Kindergarten students, their aboriginal paper mache serpents must have patterns and just generally incorporate math into many things, Kandinsky circles, students must count out at least __X amount of overlapping circles etc.

  9. I'm always amazed at how little experience kids seem to have measuring with rulers. So we use them for marking looms or weaving mats. I do a mathematical project with my 6th graders called "trihexaflexagons", which involves repetition, symmetry, and more. I also do things with pattern and geometric shapes, . I'll post about them later this winter, but it is a very geometric project and requires careful measurement and symmetrical design. I also sometimes do tesselations. I teach linear perspective beginning w/grade 4.

  10. I often leave a section on my rubrics for a written element of my lessons in 4th & 5th grade. Often times, I ask students to explain or critique their works or answer a challenge question, even tell me the story depicted in their art. In 3rd grade, we just finished cave art and I had students pretend that they were a cave painter from 15,000 BCE. Why were they chosen to paint in the caves? What story did they tell on the wall with their pictures? Why did they paint that story?

    I also have adjectives printed on word cards (I often call them "juicy" words or details) and I have each table choose a word card that best fits their artwork.

    As far as math, I try and see what vocab words students use at each grade level and use them as often as I can in the art room, for example, "perimeter, symmetrical, radial, diameter."

  11. This is related to you post, but a little off. If you have that many art teachers, I can't believe you do not have a coach! I am the "coach" for the art teachers and we have under 15! I only get one day out of my week to work on this, but it's still some time to plan professional development and help the art teachers. If you ever want details or models from me let me know. We also have instructional coaches at every building. Good luck.

  12. *Rulers
    *Origami-using higher level thinking skills
    *Measurement with perspective,
    *Vocab words (transparent, asymmetrical, form,'the farmer in American Gothic looks "stern" ect) *Patterns & complex pattern(aabccd)
    *Spelling-I had the Kind. students sound out and write 'Turkey' on their project
    *History-flags as symbols, Victorian Architecture relates to the Industrial Revolution..ect
    *Science-color mixing, clay process teachers are the Jack of all trades once I think about it!
    We do a lot in art to help boost other areas!
    Happy Friday!

  13. Mr E,

    I have a great way to introduce new artists that incorporates cross curriculum lessons. It was presented last year at the TAEA conference in Dallas by two grad students from UT. I am willing to share it with you, but I don't think it will fit in your comment space. E-mail me and I will send it to you.