How Art Helps Kids – Teacher’s Corner

Teacher’s Corner
Five Things that Art Does for Kids
  1. When children do art, they have to think for themselves. One stroke a picture does not make. One note a song does not make. All types of art require decision after decision.
  2. Because art requires lots of decisions, it can help children learn to make wise decisions or become what one young man calls  “a good chooser.”
  3. Art takes time to unfold. Children must stick with it and persevere. If they don’t, they won’t get the satisfaction of seeing their final product. Art helps children be determined and not give up.
  4. When children do art, they must focus. It takes attention and concentration to get ideas from their heads through their muscles and nerves and onto a page or a stage. Art helps children become focused.
  5. Lastly, art can help children become good problem solvers. Art is a problem by definition – how to change raw material like paint, clay, or parts of an instrument into something completely different and new.
 (See The Benefits of Art, Choices, and Discipline: Part I  for more about kids and art.)

Writing Prompts and Discussion Topics 

The following are writing prompts and discussion topics based on the blog, “How Art Helps Kids.”
After the prompts we have included suggestions regarding ways to use this blog in your classroom as well as a discussion about why this blog can be a useful tool in your classroom.  So, get your students to think, pair, and share and see what develops.
  1. What is your favorite thing about doing art (acting, singing, playing music, drawing, painting, sculpting, etc.)?
  2. Which of the five helpful things about doing art (from the blog), do you most agree with? Why?
  3. Add two more things about doing art that you think are helpful to kids. Explain why you think each one should be added.
NOTE: If you prefer that students not be required to write about or discuss themselves, suggest they respond to the prompts by talking about their experiences with friends or relatives instead of themselves.
Teachers, you can use this blog in classrooms. Here are two ideas about how.
  1. For middle or high school parenting or child development courses:
  • Use the blog for discussion topics
  • Require students to research the topics and agree or disagree with what the blog is suggesting.

2.  For all courses, especially English Language Arts:

  • Use the blog for writing prompts for paragraphs, theme papers, journal entries, class starters, etc. Have students read the blog and respond to:
    • Do you agree with what is being said about kids? Do kids really act, think or feel that way?
    • Do you agree with what is being said about parents, grandparents, teachers and child caregivers? Do or should they act, think or feel that way?
    • What would be your advice on this topic?
    • What was left out of this article?
    • If you were a parent, would you use any of this information? How?
Why can this blog be a useful teaching tool?
  • Students that see connections between their coursework and their lives do better in school.
  • Most students will either be parents one day or have children in their lives that they care about, so the topical information can help them build their knowledge about children and parenting and develop a positive image of the type of parenting they want to do.
  • The new core literacy standards adopted by most states call for frequent writing in all courses.
  • Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can think critically. These prompts help students practice critical thinking.
  • Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can analyze what they read. These prompts help students practice analysis.

What do you think?

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