I'm not a fan of the Elements of Art. They are overused and over emphasized, and in many cases falsely separated. Of course, they are also art-specific vocabulary that is valuable for students to know.
I wondered - could I teach the Elements in a valuable and meaningful way?
The unit, Artists Understand Elements, started with a group activity to build broad knowledge quickly. Each group created a presentation about one Element using Google Slides for easy sharing. In planning presentations they discussed each element in depth and selected examples that were meaningful for them.
As students watched the presentations they wrote down ideas for their independent projects. It was nice to listen instead of speak - something all teachers should do. Sometimes our own ideas fill our classrooms and shape the direction of learning without leaving room for student's thoughts.
In part 2 of this unit students will select an Element and use it as the inspiration for a work of art. The media is open choice. Some great ideas are brewing!
I'm an high school art teacher who's really interested in student choice and creating opportunities for self expression. I'm also a writer for The Art of Education and co-author of The Open Art Room.