How to teach Art without actually teaching “Art”


Tell me, friend, have you been looking for ways to teach Art without actually teaching “Art” to your students? Well, search no longer my friend, because I have five great suggestions for you to try. Right. Here. 

I don’t know what’s behind my fascination with Tim Burton is these days, but I can’t help but re-watch all of his movie classics. As a result, I dropped all the art projects I had lined up for my Grade 3s and 4s this week to make way for them to draw Burtonesque self-portraits before Halloween arrives. 

Tim Burton inspired art project for students at Halloween
Here’s my Tim Burton or Burtonesque self-portrait drawing and teacher example. Drawn on gray construction paper using a black Sharpie to contour lines, and black and white wax crayons to add value.

Speaking of which, did you know that the art term “Burtonesque style” is actually a thing?! Seriously, I’m not making this up.

So as I was saying, here are 5 ways you can teach your students Art without actually teaching them “Art”. 

And because I’m feeling a bit festive, all of my examples below revolve around Tim Burton and his genius. 😉

  1. Have your students conduct a short research project. Your students could research the famous artist and filmmaker Burton, and present his artistic background and art style with the aid of a research brochure.
  2. Have your students write and record a fictional podcast. Your students could put together a fictional podcast featuring Burton as their guest, interviewing the artist and filmmaker, which would require them to conduct considerable research prior to recording.
  3. Have your students plan out and film a simple stop-motion animationYour students could give Burtonesque stop motion a try with the use of modelling clay to shape their characters as they carry out (possibly) their very animation short.
  4. Have your students research and write about their favorite movie. Your students could choose amongst Burton’s many films and pick one to write about with the help of an informational movie brochure.
  5. Show your students that art and storytelling are often intertwined. Your students could watch one of Burton’s movies in class, and then fill out a graphic organizer to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the 7 Key Elements of a Story.

Now obviously, there are many, many more ways you can teach Art without actually teaching “Art” to your students. I guess you could omit Burton from the equation when trying to accomplish this, but in all seriousness… why would you want to!?

So I’m curious to know, how do you approach teaching your students art or about artists in your language arts class without being conspicuous? 

Hit the “Post Comment” bottom right below to reply, because I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences surrounding this topic.


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