Back before days of multiple furlough days we art teachers (in our school system) used to enjoy regular opportunities to collaborate and share lessons and ideas. For our unique classrooms (elementary art), we all agreed that our time together was more helpful than any speaker, workshop or training money could buy. Unfortunately most of those days we used to enjoy have turned into furlough days and necessary training days (the time of technology is here and the potential is pretty astounding… that’s a different discussion though). I’ve missed the regular collaboration dearly and I feel that fellow teachers are an amazing resource! Enter Teachers Pay Teachers…
Have you ever heard of it? It’s pretty amazing (teachers and parents will find a lot to love!). I originally scoped it out to find art lessons and project ideas. I found that non-template-based art projects are pretty hard to come by on the site. So, after coming up short in the shopping mission I decided I would try to fill a little void with posting a few beloved lesson plans and projects.
No offense to the template-based projects (I’m know they are necessary in a lot of regular ed classrooms and they can certainly be adorable!) but I skip them for the art classroom. There is occasionally a student that might need pre-cut shapes or templates due to a limitation and I certainly accommodate any needs. The difference that I see in projects using templates versus projects where the kiddos cut their own shapes and form compositions more freely is pretty astonishing! Some of my lessons/projects stick out like a sore thumb on there and I’m okay with that.
I have been asked about the inspiration for my lessons. Sometimes I get lessons from other teachers or resources and (just like all recipes and choreography) I like to tweak it to our classroom needs. I do not put these lessons on TPT; they are not my own. Sometimes I use my inspiration from and admiration for artists throughout history (Warhol, Picasso, Jasper Johns, Finster, etc) to create lessons. Sometimes I see something in a gallery or art museum that inspires me for a project with the kiddos (I mean, for better or worse you often hear “my KID could do THAT!” in an art setting. I literally do get my little artists to do “THAT” and get inspiration from “THAT!”). As an artist and art teacher I am constantly looking at art out of interest and habit! Often I get an idea from something that I am passionate about in my studio. One of my favorite lesson (and the kiddos seems to love it, too!) is the approach I take in animal portraits turned into a lesson (sometimes it’s more realistic for the older kiddos and for the younger ones the lessons combines with “Blue Dog” for an amazingly fun project). I started painting aspen trees long before I taught art. Now the aspen tree project is one of our classroom favorites! (On a side note, I didn’t know whether to be flattered as a teacher or slightly bummed as an artist when Jason complimented the bold colors “I” used in an aspen tree painting when looking at photo of the work of one of my 2nd grade artists. I chose to be flattered!).
Back to the original topic: check out Teachers Pay Teachers and even my profile on there if you are so inclined! If you have lessons/projects of your own to share I highly suggest it and will be happy to offer advice. You don’t have to be a teacher to post! I know plenty of my parent friends who could be amazing resources for others in the areas of projects and organization. I’m not overly successful (I mean, they announce new “$20,000 in sales” teachers several times a week it seems!) but I made my investment back (I chose to do the Teachers Pay Teachers Paid Membership rather than the free membership for a few reasons) and then some on top of that in two months. I am thrilled!