Comics made EASY! - Shot 2014-06-04 at 7.10.41 PM.png

Create your own Picasso:

Description: Even if you think you can't draw, you can create cubist art using this fun and simple website! It allows you to create your own abstract portrait using the most common features found in Picasso's work. There is also a gallery displaying a variety of other "artists" who have enjoyed exploring the tenants of cubist portraiture. As part of an art history lesson or simple line drawing exercise, I would integrate a website like this into the lesson and give students a chance to BE the artist themselves and recognize the simplicity and expressionism in this type of artwork.

Wordle - A Visual Representation of Text:

Description: Wordle's website offers students a chance to input text and see what words have more prominence and repetition. (It's sometimes surprising to see which words pop up more often than others!) In this example, I took one of my favorite poems, A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and "wordled" it. The blending of words, such as poetry, displayed in an aesthetically pleasing graphical form, such as the wordle "word cloud", gives the viewer an entirely different experience. By experimenting with this, students could begin to create and discuss what it means for something to be aesthetically pleasing. Also, as more and more information is disseminated via technology and the internet, it seems that much more critical for students and adults alike to recognize the economic value of graphics and imagery that resonate with viewers and share content in an interesting, creative, and elegant manner.

Exploring Origami - Japan:

Use in Classroom: This is just a fun website that gives directions and pre-made, printable squares for making origami. I remember reading about Japan and the atomic bomb in the 4th grade, and then making flying cranes as a class in memory of children with leukemia. It was a powerful lesson for me and I enjoyed the kinesthetic nature of the task. (I still know how to make cranes today!) I would use this website in my classroom if I taught a similar unit on World War II, which included the dropping of the two atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Why? Because I think it is important to teach students how this culture survived such horrors and still thrives today in spite of this disaster. Also, it is a simple, kid-friendly way to introduce students to Japanese culture where the tenants of making even the simplest of things beautiful and perfect still prevails.

National Art Education Association:

The NAEA website has lots of great ideas for educators, students, and families to explore the arts and find lesson plans that integrate both an appreciate for and skills of a variety of artistic expressions.

10 Lessons the Arts Teach: (from their website)

1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.
2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.
7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.
9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.