It's easy for young students to talk about their own artwork, but what about someone else's? In this animation students take a tour of a classroom gallery as a boy describes his own and his classmates' drawings.
This resource is part of the KET Art to Heart collection. A Spanish version of this animation is available as part of KET's Exploraciones collection.
Children practice “Look, Observe, and Think” as they analyze artwork.
Kentucky’s Early Childhood Standards Three and Four Year Olds
Arts and Humanities Standard 1: Participates and shows interest in a variety of visual arts, dance, music, and drama experiences. Benchmark 1.1 Develops skills in and appreciation of visual arts.
For the following lesson, you will need:
Prints, calendars, images, or books featuring art to share with the children
Vocabulary: line, shape, color, subject, material
Show prints or photographs of the work of well-known artists to the children. Children’s books that feature art from renowned artists include Lucy Micklethwait’s books and books from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. An oversized book from the library may also be useful.
To begin teaching art appreciation, you may simplify by asking children to look, observe, and think.
Look: What is this?
Observe: How was it made? What shapes, colors, and lines are in this picture? What materials were used?
Think: How do I think or feel when I see it?
Discuss what you see as you look at the art. Ask children to make other observations.
If it seems appropriate, use a child’s art in the same way as the art from museums using Look, Observe and Think as a way of appreciating the work.
Modifications for Special Needs There aren’t always words to express what we experience through art, and children with language delays often understand more than they can express.
The sensory experience of creating art has value aside from the product. For young children, it’s more important to focus on the process and on self-expression than on the product.
Give all children opportunities through creative expression to create, view, and appreciate art. If possible, use sign language to describe elements of art. For visually impaired students, consider using sculptures and functional art such as pottery or woven baskets that the children can touch.
Art appreciation includes skills in observation, analysis, and communication. It is not too soon to begin working on these skills in early childhood. Art communicates feelings and ideas visually. Learning to examine and discuss art helps children consider other perspectives and views of the world.
Art appreciation begins with looking and thinking. It is possible to find large photographs of art in poster or calendar size. Oversize books at the library may also provide images that are useful for individual or classroom use. With technology, teachers and other adults can share images from art museums around the world.
Many adults lead children to observe art initially through “I Spy” type games. “I spy an animal, what animal do you see?” Children learn to look and enjoy as they find subjects that interest them. Similarly, some adults use a type of scavenger hunt list. “Can you find these items in the picture?” Such challenges encourage children to look at the art carefully. Children may also pose questions to other children or adults based on what they observe.
Elements of art include shape, space, form, line, color, texture, and value. Posing questions to children about the elements brings awareness. However, close-ended questions like “What color is this?” have one correct answer that doesn’t leave much room for discussion. An open-ended question like “Why do you think the artist picked this color for the sun?” cannot be answered with one word, so it allows for many correct answers and elaborations.
A great place to start with art appreciation is with the work of children in the classroom. The teacher’s comments model appreciation of the work of the child as an artist. Teachers should judging the art and embrace talking about the process: “Could you tell me how you made this color in your work?”
The KET animation Let’s Draw, which features a child describing artwork in the classroom, can be used to model art appreciation.
What does the boy say about the art in his classroom?
When we look at art, we observe and talk about what we see. What did you see in the artwork in the video?
When we create art, we can share something we think about. What is something you would like to share through art?
Making art is just as important as the way the art looks. Sometimes painting helps us think and express our feelings. Sometimes drawing helps us look more closely at shapes. What is your favorite thing about making art?