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Finding great elementary school art lesson plans

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Great art lesson plans can inspire your students
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The best elementary school art lesson plans can be found online

It's not easy being an art teacher these days.  First there are the budget cuts, and then the huge classes.

You want to come up with new projects, too. After all, there's only so many times you can do the same old art lesson plans.  But who has the time to search for new ones, and then sort through all of those web pages to find the good lesson plans -- or at least the projects that won't cost a fortune!

The answer is, I do!  I looked at complexity and the cost of materials, too. And here are some of the best elementary school art lesson plans I've found online.

Find lessons by medium, by grade level and more is a virtual playground for art teachers looking for new lesson plans. I selected the "paint" medium in the elementary section and came up with a dozen great (and affordable!) projects including an "In Your Face" project that combines optical illusions with a variety of techniques like water color and resist. A few basic art supplies, and your students could learn several art techniques in one lesson.

Looking for materials in unexpected places features an eclectic collection of art projects.  Unfortunately, they are not sorted by age or materials, so it may take a bit longer to search through, but the creative lesson plans and ideas make it well worth it.

Many like the "Torso Project" make use of free materials, and encourage students to think outside of the box.   Found objects and trash can turn into creative sculptures with another lesson plan.   Either of these plans would be perfect for 4th or 5th grade art students.

Projects you probably never thought about

Have you ever considered art projects that involve making books?  How about creating maps of imaginary islands?  These are just a few of the incredibly creative elementary school art lesson plans you'll find on at Art on Air.  Not only are the projects different from the old-and-tired standards, the site offers a link to dozens of other art lesson plan sites plus advice on teaching art.

Going to the source

Who knows art better than an art museum?  The Getty Museum offers a virtual treasure trove of lesson plans, background information and advice on teaching art in the classroom. 

You can search by grades level, so teachers looking for projects for younger children won't have to adapt more complex art projects to meet their students' needs.  Best of all, the lesson plans include free downloadable elements including reproductions of the art work that inspired the projects, student handouts and more -- a big plus for cash-strapped teacher budgets. 

The Denver Art Museum also offers art lesson plans for a variety of grade levels. Like the Getty site, the Denver Art Museum provides printable images of the art work that inspired the projects.  They also provide extensive background information on the art piece, so students will learn about technique and inspiration, along with the how-to steps.

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