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How can I use ArtsConnectEd to teach the elements of art?


Ask an Educator



Institution ArtsConnectEd

Q: How can I use ArtsConnectEd to teach the elements of art?

—Bob, Media Specialist

A: ArtsConnectEd is your tool to access and create resources for teaching the elements of art (specific recommendations below). As a member of the ArtsConnectEd Community, your teaching can also take advantage of ACE's interactive features. Comments and Tags, for example, provide an opportunity for your students to demonstrate their understanding of new vocabulary and concepts.


Access these suggested resources:
  • The Artist’s Toolkit is an interactive Web-based resource that explores the traditional elements and principles of visual art—such as line, shape, and color. Designed for K–Adult audiences, this resource includes animated illustrations of elements in works of art, an illustrated encyclopedia of Elements and Principles, videos of two artists working with the elements, and opportunities for students to create simple works online. Students in a media lab can explore the site independently, or in a classroom, the site can be used as a presentation or demonstration.
  • If your teaching incorporates contemporary art or addresses the foundations of arts areas besides visual arts (such as media arts, music, theater, or dance), you may find these additional resources helpful. While these resources are primarily for visual art teachers, they demonstrate contemporary artists’ tendency to work across disciplines and employ approaches beyond the traditional elements of art. To define, explore, and discuss five “new elements” of contemporary art, use the following resources in your classroom:
More tips for creating resources and using ACE’s interactive features:
  • As a member of the ACE Community, you can create your own Art Collector Set(s) to demonstrate the elements to your students. Add works of art to a Set to create a presentation of images that illustrate the elements. You might find the compare/contrast feature especially useful. For example, find examples of lines that are straight, curved, thick and thin, and present them side-by-side. Remember, when building an Art Collector set it is possible to include custom slides—search for videos on YouTube or images on Flickr to enhance your presentation. When your set is complete, please consider submitting it so your work becomes a resource available to other users.
  • Consider using the tagging and commenting features, available to users when they are logged in. Commenting provides an excellent opportunity for students to articulate their observations, support their opinions with persuasive language, and demonstrate their understanding of new vocabulary and concepts. As an example, user aloeffler commented on the use of space in a Japanese woodblock print (read the comment here). In a media lab, students can log in at their work stations and post comments. I recommend working in pairs so students engage in conversation. Or in a classroom with a single computer and display technology, students’ comments could be typed by a teacher or a student-transcriber. Tagging can also be a classroom activity. Challenge your students to find an artworks that illustrates an element, then add that term as a tag so others can find it in the future. Structure this activity to include discussion and debate so students are encouraged to defend their decisions.
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Type: Ask an Educator
Rights: ©2011 ArtsConnectEd
Added to Site: December 6, 2011