I have been teaching art history classes for children for about 2 1/2 years now. I first offered a basic drawing class for children and then I was looking for ideas for a different type of class that I could do with mixed ages. I came across this book (Art in Story) at my local library and well, the rest is history! I was inspired by the author's idea of using stories to teach art history in her elementary school classroom. Children love stories because they can be so interesting and engaging. Stories bring history to life for children by making the events and people more real. So I was inspired to begin a new class for kids involving art history. I also happen to love history (that was my major in college) and I love to continue to learn new things. So I've found preparing for the classes to be a great motivation to learn more myself.
The basic format the author of Art in Story uses is reading aloud a story to the children about a particular time period or a particular artist or people group, showing the children examples of art work from that time period, having the children write a journal entry and then doing a hands-on project. I followed this format initially, but eventually dropped the journal portion especially as I began to do shorter sessions of classes. I have had kids mostly ages 7-13 in the class. I have had a few younger kids whose parent stayed to help them with their projects. Most of the kids seemed to really enjoy the classes and the projects. At first I followed the stories written in the book, but sometimes I would substitute a story from the history book I was using (Story of the World) or read a picture book for that lesson. I have also expanded some of the subjects in the book to make more lessons on a particular era and even written a few stories of my own in the style of the author. I use mostly books from the library to show examples of art work and I sometimes order books on inter-library loan. I wanted to share this great resource here and how it has inspired me to offer these classes. It can be used in a classroom setting, a homeschool co-op or within a family.
I will be sharing some of the projects I have completed with my class on this blog including photos of our projects, the books I used in class, the types of materials I used, etc. I will begin with a series of projects I did last fall on Early Christian Art and Art of the Middle Ages. So check back here for updates. I will try to post a project each week. Hope they inspire you too!