Are you an art teacher searching for new and innovative lesson plans for your students? Well, good news if you are! This list compiles the 10 best FREE lesson plans available on Dickblick.com. Of course, Blick recommends their own high-quality materials in each of these plans, but if you already possess some of these materials, the whole lesson could be executed absolutely free.
The Blick activities are often based on landmark artists, visual culture traditions, or famous pieces of art. This will allow you to develop an intercultural art historical perspective in your classroom and get your students thinking.
The Blick lesson plans often encourage students to explore personal themes and content. This fosters a deeper bond between a student and the arts, and makes the execution of these lessons something to remember.
Have you ever wished that your face could be immortalized in Chia planter form? Then this is the activity for you! Teach your students about self-portraits and the science of life with this DIY planter. After cutting out and drawing their face on a miracle sponge, seeds are planted where hair is drawn. As the chia plants grow, students learn about photosynthesis and the life cycle of a plant. Rekindle a bit of that 1980s nostalgia, and show your students some of the original Chia Pets. This lesson plan marries creativity and science for some truly interdisciplinary learning.
This fun art project incorporates more than just creativity. Try flexing your physics muscles at the same time with this suspended mobile. Based on the art of Alexander Calder, this lesson plan outlines the steps to making your very own, perfectly balanced mobile. Perfect balance and opposition are key here. This activity can incorporate the art of Calder as well as the broader concept of balance. What does balance mean for your students, and how can they learn to seek it out? Brainstorm ideas before diving into creating these works of art.
This fun and spunky lesson plan offers all of the fixings for a truly spectacular dinner party! Up-cycle flea market or thrift store dishes with paper mache and paint to create uniquely larger than life vessels for a dreamy dinner. The inspiration for this lesson plan stems from Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, and asks each student to invite one of their own heroes to dinner. What kind of dish would they want to serve them? How would they set the table? This lesson plan is highly personal and facilitates a synthesis between the student, art history, and the work of their idols.
This gawu tapestry project comes from the world-famous Ghanian artist El Anatsui. His recycled tapestries woven together from metal scraps and bits of trash are luxurious and often monumental. El Anatsui draws inspiration from kente cloth traditionally worn by African royalty. This mish mash of the new and the traditional is inspiring and generative for young artists. Asking students to create their own gawu tapestries is an exercise in rhythm and pattern. This is also a great opportunity to utilize planning sketches for pattern layouts. Familiarize your students with a small taste of the wide world of African art, and expand their cultural knowledge.
Arpilleras are Chilean tapestries created by groups of women under a very oppressive government regime in the 1970s. These arpilleras survive as enduring records of Chilean suffering and perseverance. Sewing and textile art has often been a voice for the oppressed or the silenced, and can be a great way to communicate things that may be hard to say outright. In this faux felting project using paper clips, students can communicate difficult or personal messages. They learn how to create dimension and shapes with textiles, and how to tell a visual story. This unique process is hands-on and very accessible. Time to get felting!
This fun project teaches kids about basic printmaking skills and leaves everyone with a really beautiful kite at the end. Koinobori is a traditional Japanese kite or windsock created for Children’s Day, a holiday celebrated on May 5th. Koinobori are shaped like carp, which are considered the strongest and most spirited of all fish. They symbolize potential and growth. Your students will create a unique scaled printmaking stamp and use it to decorate their koinobori. They will carve small linoleum blocks and get familiarized with the tradition and methods of printmaking. Then at the end, you can all fly your koinobori as a sparkly and decorative school of fish! (Hehe…get it?)
This lesson plan will satisfy all of your students most royal and gilded dreams! Glitz and bedazzle your own Byzantine-style medallions with this exciting activity. Students will learn how to form clay structures, as well as use gold dust to gild surfaces, and seal them to make their medallions safe to place in their yard or garden. Imagine all the possibilities! Even cooler, this activity can be connected to world history. Teach your class about royalty, emperors, and the Middle Ages. There’s really something for everyone.
This lesson plan is one of my personal favorites. There’s something magical about a nichos, or a tiny decorated house/diorama which can hold a variety of objects. Nichos are common in Mexico and South America and can be religious, funny, or just plain gorgeous. Students can use foil, clay, paper mache, or many other materials to compose their very own nichos. This project could be adapted to a book that the class is reading, and could be created to represent specific characters or elements of the story. It could also be personal, and hold items which are important to each student. In any case, it is a great way to bring up South American visual culture and art history and familiarize students. Plus, the end product is something that they’ll want to keep forever!
This simple lesson plan is based off of Frank Stella’s iconic 1960s color block paintings. Students can pick color combinations to use in their very own Stella color scramble, choosing themes or color ideas. This lesson is a great way to familiarize students with color theory and how to use color to create mood and tone. Which colors provoke positive versus negative feelings? Which ones feel right together? Students will instinctively understand this, even without official words, but color terminology can also be introduced through this lesson. This is a great way to get into more official art and design terms with your class, and bring art history into the mix!
This list is only the tip of the iceberg! Blick has hundreds of these free lesson plans available on its website for whatever grade level you teach or whatever topics you may be covering. These lesson plans can also be great tools for students to use during at-home learning throughout this pandemic. Take a look at the Blick website and find something perfect for you and your class.
IPaintMyMind provides more lists of resources and ideas for teachers throughout the Chicago area on our blog. While you’re there, check out our Shared Walls™ program which provides a free year of programming and resources to CPS schools.
Also be sure check out how IPaintMyMind has worked with Blick to provide art supplies to local schools.
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