So your school has closed due to COVID-19 and you’re now trying to think through how you are going to deliver your art program for students at home? If the answer is, yes, then the information in this post is for you! I was in the same position as you six weeks ago and asking myself the same questions. Here are some answers to your wondering based on my own experience with Home Learning for the Visual Arts in Lower Primary. I am by no means the expert, just someone trying to help others during an uncertain and challenging time and in someway doing my part.
What platform should I use?
In my first post on preparing for home learning, I mentioned using what you have and what you feel comfortable with. This still stands but it also severs to mentioning that you should talk to the other specialists and/or the rest of your department to see what everyone else is using in an aim to align making it easier for parents. Just like we are trying to figure out new platforms for home learning, so are the parents, therefore, making it easier for them the better it will be for our students. Click the button below to see how I have done it to give you an example of one way of doing it.
Should I have students turn in work digitally?
Some of you have 500 + students so managing artwork being sent in digitally is a lot of work. Then there is the expectation for feedback or a grade even. Schools could be closed for a while so be mindful of setting your expectations in the beginning as they will then be expected until schools reopen.
How many lessons should I create?
Depending on the number of students and grades you teach, the scalability of created content for numerous grades in not sustainable especially when we don’t know how long school will be out. Therefore consider grouping grades when creating content, using the same lesson/video/content for all grades and/or modifying the activities for each grade based on a theme like Pop Art or Pointillism. Jules White, an art educator in Hong Kong uses this format. Check out her home learning blog as well as her video examples!
What kind of content should I make?
Because our subject is so visual, creating video demonstrations of different techniques is really helpful. You can then create your own Youtube Channel making it public or unlisted and then simply share the links so your students can access them. You can also use a blog to house the video links and outline the different prompts for different grades. If you use Seesaw you can upload the videos and lessons there are well. The bonus with video content is that you can use it for days when you have a substitute or even maternity leave! Below is one of the videos I have created for Kindergarten students. Check out more of my videos here.
What about the kids that don’t have the internet at home?
A sketchbook challenge is a great way to get all kids making art regardless of materials and access to the internet. All the kids need is a pencil and some paper. A list of different prompts can be mailed to the students that don’t have access to the internet for the rest that do it can be posted on a blog, sent in an e-mail or even delivered over the phone!
But I am technologically challenged, how am I going to do this?
You can learn anything! You know why? Because out there is a Youtube tutorial on EVERYTHING! That’s how I learned! It seems funny to have to remind teachers of this but no one is born to be technologically proficient, you have to learn and in this instance, YOU NEED TO TEACH YOURSELF! My mother always says, you can eat an elephant one spoonful at a time so start small and break in down into manageable learnable steps, one Youtube tutorial at a time!
What materials do kids have at home?
Assume they have only a pencil and paper Use this time to focus on observational drawing, fonts, lettering and text, shading and value studies, illustrations and storyboards and life drawing. Access to a variety of materials, techniques, and experiences is the backbone of your job. This is why not having kids in the art room is such a challenge for us. However, we art teachers, we are resourceful and during this time we need to lean on our knowledge and expertise of teaching skills with basic tools rather than experiences with different mediums.
How long will schools be closed?
Sorry, I don’t have the answer to this one but from my experience here in Hong Kong, expect schools to be closed for the rest of the school year. Once we approach a state to return to school, it is pushed back another two weeks. Things are happening day by day and also administration want to give specific dates to appease parents and teacher but no one knows what will happen. Therefore, be mindful of the platforms you use, the expectations you set for yourself and recognise the sustainability and scalability of what you are creating, making and doing for Home Learning.