A few years ago I took place in a training that encouraged the use of art integration in the classroom.  The idea is to use art and art techniques to reinforce skills taught in the other subjects.  Over the last few years I have tried to use it in my lessons.  Honestly I haven’t done a great job with it.  It’s so hard to fit in something else and although I personally love art I just haven’t put in the time to make it work effectively in the classroom.  This year things are different and our school is actually trying out the Art Integration program at the third grade level.  I can already tell you I am loving it.  We started with some basic lessons on different types of lines and a little bit of shading.

I was trying to find a way to introduce the idea of different types of mediums and techniques to them.  I wanted to help them understand that art is more than pencils and paint brushes.  I started by drawing the outline of a tree on a piece of butcher paper.  I told them we were going to put leaves on the tree but could not use any of the following materials….pencils, pens, brushes, markers, crayons, glue, scissors or colored pencils.  I wanted them to come up with an idea for how to make the leaves.  They had some really great ideas.  “How about we rip up colored paper and glue it on?”  “We could pour paint on the paper.”  My personal favorite….”we could take our shoes off walk in paint and then walk on the paper.” 🙂  Personally that sounded like a lot of fun.

I was pretty impressed by the ideas they came up with and with a little, okay a lot, of guidance from me we decided that we would use our fingerprints in paint to make the leaves.  This lead to a wonderful discussion on how no two fingerprints are alike.  They were particularly impressed that the identical twin in our classroom does not have the same prints as his brother.  See?  Art integration….love it.

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Because I can not stand chaos in the classroom I decided to have one table at a time come up to paint.  I started by painting the tips of each of their fingers a different color.

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They loved this part and we came up with all kinds of adjectives to describe how it felt.  We were able to make a list that added to our vocabulary.  Squishy, gooey, soft, ticklish, cold, squirmy and the list goes on.  Again………Art Integration!  🙂

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As they were painting they noticed that the more finger prints that they made the lighter they got as the paint wore off their fingers.
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They were very politely giving each other guidance on where more “leaves” were needed and making sure to get out of the way of their friends.  When we were finished  we hung the tree on the door of our classroom.

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Most of the art that we will do this year will be individual pieces where each student creates their own piece.  This is one of those rare opportunities for them to see how working together is so important.  I have seen them bring friends from other classrooms in to see their “masterpiece”.  So excited to continue with the art integration and see the growth they make through using art in all the subjects.   Off to plan my next project.  🙂

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