Integrating the Arts (with A Love of Teaching)

I've always loved integrating arts and crafts into my curriculum. When I taught fourth-grade math and science I would do this on a consistent basis. To begin with, I integrated arts and crafts for fun but then gradually noticed that student's retention levels increased when pairing content with a matching art or craft activity. Studies have shown that arts integration uses teaching practices that have been shown in brain-based research to improve comprehension and long-term retention. For example, when students create artwork that expresses the content they are learning, they are also forming connections and helping to embed the information. Basically, this creates a memorable learning experience which lays the foundation for deeper retention levels in students.

Winter Themed Directed Drawing Projects for Kids

One of my favorite ways to integrate art into the classroom is by using directed drawing.  Directed drawing is a step-by-step activity that guides students to produce a piece of artwork that is intended to look a certain way. What I love about directed drawing is that...

  1. It sets the foundation for how shapes work together to create a bigger picture.
  2. Every student produces a piece of artwork that looks so different, yet the same (makes a beautiful bulletin board).
  3. Students feel incredibly successful when they are finished.
  4. It's the perfect way to integrate art into the curriculum seasonally or through content.
  5. It's super easy to tie directed drawing to the standards.
Integrating the Arts into the Classroom
We have an amazing art teacher at my school who guides students each year to complete a directed drawing for Art to Remember, a PTO fundraiser (which I highly recommend). The image at the top of this page shows the directed drawing artwork my daughter completed last year. I was so in love with it that I ordered snowflake ornaments, coffee mugs, and refrigerator magnets with her artwork on it! 

If you Google "Direct Drawing" or search for it on Pinterest you'll find tons of examples and directions to use in the classroom. These 6 Christmas Themed Directed Drawings are a few of my favorites. They are perfect for any classroom, and I know students will love them, too!

6 Christmas Themed Directing Drawing Projects for Kids

6 Christmas Themed Directed Drawing Project for Kids 

Santa Claus Directed Drawing from Proud to be Primary
Proud to be Primary is my all time favorite go-to site for directed drawing projects. Elysa gives step-by-step instructions that are easy for kids to follow and the end result is always precious! 

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Directed Drawing from Busy Kids Happy Mom
This activity is perfect for all ages. A list of drawing supplies needed and a step-by-step printable of directions are included. See if your students can follow directions. You'll know by the way the reindeer turns out!

Snowman Directed Drawing from Proud to be Primary
Another one of my favorites from Elysa over at Proud to be Primary! This project can be adapted for any primary classroom, and I absolutely love how she incorporates watercolor paint. Printable directions are included!

Grinch Directed Drawing from Art Projects for Kids
This website is amazing! There are so many directed drawing projects to choose from. You can download each project which includes step-by-step instructions. They have amazing projects to choose from including plants and animals, fall leaves, and holiday specific tutorials.

Elf Directed Drawing from Learning with Mrs. Parker
Mrs. Parker has created an easy to follow video for students to watch while drawing a Christmas elf. She also ties this project to elf themed literature. A list of recommended books to read to your class is included.

Christmas Tree Directed Drawing from Art for Kids Hub
This website is phenomenal! Rob (Mr. Hubs) creates video tutorials of directed drawings for kids. He includes his family in his videos which make them very entertaining for students to watch. You can find tons of directed drawing projects on his site that will tie to almost any content area or seasonal theme.

What's your favorite directed drawing project to complete with your students?

Integrating the Arts (with KookyKinders)



The arts are a very important part of education. Students should be able to create their own art and enjoy the art of others. Students feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when they are allowed to create. My favorite part of "craftvities" in the classroom is how unique each one is. They really show each students individual personality. 

 We are thankful Pilgrims.


Native Americans

 Little Witch Craftivity

 Another way that I integrate the arts into my classroom is through our Monthly Family Project Pack. This allows families to work together and create something as a team.

 Monthly Family Projects

How do you integrate the arts into your classroom?


Integrating the Arts (with The Friendly Teacher)

I love integrating the arts in my classroom. We do something with art each and every day, but there is one thing that sticks out in my mind!

Cooking in the Classroom

We LOVE cooking in the classroom. There is so much students can learn from cooking. There is math involved, real life skills, and more! My two favorite recipes we do each year are pumpkin pie in a cup and main idea pudding.

Cooking in the Classroom
The BEST cooking we do all year is main idea pudding! My students have trouble grasping the concept of main idea and detail, so we give the students a recipe without telling them what they are making. They follow the entire recipe and make the pudding in a cup. When they are done they have to figure out what the recipe title is or the "main idea". Then, we talk about if you missed details you would change the main idea. This is something that truly helped my students understand the difference between main idea and detail plus it was SO MUCH FUN! Read more about it here and grab it for FREE.

Cooking in the Classroom

Cooking in the Classroom

Pumpkin pie in a cup is great activity to do in the fall! The students have to read directions and make the pumpkin pie. Then, you can have them do a quick writing project on how to make the pumpkin pie! Check it out here! 
Cooking in the Classroom

Even teachers enjoy the pumpkin pie in a cup!

Integrating the Arts (w/ Peppy Zesty Teacherista)

Despite what some public schools have decided due to budget cuts, art is a powerful class that should be taken by all students while in school. When a teacher is struggling to teach the core subjects, it can be easy to move those a class like social studies to the bottom. Notice how I didn't even mention art, because that is a luxury that not all teachers have. 

Art allows kids to express themselves better than they could in say math or science. If we can get our kids to think creatively now, imagine what they can do as the years push into their adult years. 

This simple lesson will integrate vocabulary as well as the arts. I hope this inspires you or sparks another ideas that you could try in your classroom! 

Elementary education teacher looking for vocabulary strategies to strengthen reading comprehension? Fabulous vocabulary activities include a vocabulary parade! This blog post you will find vocabulary parade words, vocabulary parade costumes, and vocabulary parade ideas!

Each week a new vocabulary words is presented on a poster. I showed the vocabulary post, read it in a sentence, and invited the kids to create their own sentences using the word. All week, we challenged each other to use the words in our daily language. 

The posters looked like this: 

Elementary education teacher looking for vocabulary strategies to strengthen reading comprehension? Fabulous vocabulary activities include a vocabulary parade! This blog post you will find vocabulary parade words, vocabulary parade costumes, and vocabulary parade ideas!

Vocabulary Parade:

At the end of the year, I laid out all of the words that we have learned that year and told the kids to pick their favorite word. The kids were given a sentence strip, and a bunch of art supplies. The could be as creative as they wanted as they created a hat that symbolized their chosen word. This activity took some time. We worked on it when we had extra time for a little bit a day. 

We involved other grade levels by blocking out a part of our afternoon to have a vocabulary parade. The kids walked down the hallway wearing their hats, showcasing their knowledge and hard work.
Elementary education teacher looking for vocabulary strategies to strengthen reading comprehension? Fabulous vocabulary activities include a vocabulary parade! This blog post you will find vocabulary parade words, vocabulary parade costumes, and vocabulary parade ideas!
This was a quick way to strengthen their knowledge of important vocabulary skills. Yes, even kindergarten was exposed to the same words so I firmly believe that all grade levels can use the posters provided. The kids had so much fun decorating their hats! 

To read more about the parade {CLICK HERE}
If you want to see more of these vocabulary posters {CLICK HERE}

Integrating the Arts {With The Kindergarten Connection}

So often (and sadly so) the arts get taken out of the school day when we get put in a time crunch or with budget cuts. Music may get cut, or art, drama, and more. Kids need these important educational experiences, and while my students are still blessed to have twice weekly music classes, I know that is not the case in all schools. 

One thing I do teach on my own is art, and I often do this through integrating fun art projects that go along with our current season or theme. 

I have taught each grade from Pre-K through 3rd, and I know that each grade is unique, but also that each age in the primary grades can use practice with following directions, cutting skills, fine motor work, and also experimenting with color, lines, and other introductions to arts and crafts. 

These 10 winter art projects are perfect for the primary grades and are sure to be a hit with your kids too! 

10 Winter Art Projects for Kids

(from left to right) 

Make a fun close up winter snowman painting. // Housing a Forest 

Use oil pastels for beautiful winter tree art. // Buggy and Buddy 

These winter watercolor trees turn out wonderfully! // Happiness is Homemade

This winter handprint tree makes a great keepsake or display. // Arty Crafty Kids

Grab some construction paper and make this snowy mountain winter tree art. // I Heart Crafty Things

These salt and watercolor snowscapes are quite a wonder! // Crafting Connections

Why not learn about color mixing with snow? // Adventures in a Box

These process art snow prints are so fun and unique. // Still Playing School 

If you can head out in the snow, these snow mandalas are amazing! // Wilder Child 

Another great keepsake and a fun classroom craft are these painted snowglobes! // Crafty Morning

What's your favorite winter art project? 

Integrating the Arts in Pre K {ALL Y'all Need}

Integrating the Arts in Pre K is very easy to do. During our morning meeting, we start our day by singing the "Wish You Well" song and "This is My School Family" to promote a sense of community. We also use GoNoodle and YouTube to practice the alphabet and other Pre K skills. I also like to incorporate scarfs and rhythm sticks during our music and movement time.  

During our reading block, we do many craftivities to practice fine motor and scissor skills. I usually use craftivity components as a form of assessment. Here's an example of one of our latest craftivity: 

Special thanks to the amazing Ashlyn from The Creative Classroom for sharing the FANTASTIC Thanksgiving Thankful Book Freebie! It is adorable and my students LOVED creating their Thankful book. During this craftivity, I assessed scissor skills, writing, beginning sounds, students writing their names, one to one correspondence when they read to their 2nd grade reading buddy, fine motor, drawing and detail, and their creativity. 

During our math block, we created a Thanksgiving glyph. 
The feathers represented how old they are and the bow/bow tie represented if they are a boy or a girl. 
Here's a picture of the finished product: 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Integrating the Arts {with Aloha to Second}

With all the new standards and new testing, I often find it difficult to add in the arts to my lessons. I decided when I was teaching second grade that it was crucial to have art within my lessons.  Therefore, I wrote reading unit plans that included fun crafts or pieces of art for the lessons.

For my November unit, we learned about character traits.  We read a story as a class and completed a character trait book and craft to go with it. 

This is the story we read.  It was perfect because it wasn't very long and it showed character changes within the story. 

Here is the chart we used as a class. We would discuss what a character trait is and how characters can change based on what happens in the story.  We used post-it notes to show how the character changed from the beginning to the middle and then the middle to the end. 

We made this cute guy for our character trait book. 

The ladies were able to make a pilgrim girl. 

Then, the students completed the character book. 

You can find this unit with the crafts by clicking here

I also did this cute craft with my after school club.  I thought I would share it. I used cardboard squares, hole punched two holes at the top, used a pipe cleaner for the beads, and then we painted our hands for the turkeys. I thought they were really cute! 

Integrating the Arts in Kindergarten

Kindergarten has changed so much since I was in Mrs. Ryan's half day class back in the 80's. Kindergartners have gone from playing house to being expected to read and write by the end of their first year in school full time. While I could debate the merits and pitfalls of these changes at length I prefer to focus on how to incorporate more of this creative energy alongside the push for academics.
I was fortunate to teach in schools that still had full time art teachers that saw my students on a weekly basis so I knew they were getting solid art instruction regularly, however I feel that in kindergarten especially the need to practice writing, painting, coloring within the lines and cutting with scissors is essential for fine motor development.  One of the ways that I integrate arts alongside my instruction is through the use of paper crafts, often called craftivities, that accompany our read alouds, comprehension and writing work.
These crafts require students to really focus their attention to building strong scissor skills which help in so may aspects of a child's development.  If you have an administrator or even parent that is less than enthusiastic about your cute little paper crafts lining the walls and wants to know how this could possibly be helping students, then I have a little one page info sheet that you can quietly slip into their mailbox or backpack. (Click on the image to download a printable copy.)
If you need some really great advice for helping those kiddos in your class that have never picked up a scissors before entering your classroom and you don't know where to start with them, Mama OT is a FANTASTIC resource for parents and teachers, I use lots of her ideas with my 3 year old all the time.

Here are just a few of my favorite craftivities. Click on the pictures for the printables!



Thanks for reading and happy crafting!