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Building Academic Vocabulary in the Elementary Art Room: Vlogging From the Classroom
Looking at art is an inspirational and emotional experience. Talking about art is a launching pad for creativity, collaboration, and cognition. A meaningful classroom art discussion helps students develop empathy, flex thinking and observation skills, connect with history, and savor the human spirit.
At the beginning of the year, my elementary art students were not comfortable with talking about art, whether it be a famous piece of artwork or something they had created. I wanted my classroom to become a place where vital, interesting discussions about art happened regularly. I wanted my students to use academic language associated with visual art to participate and engage in meaningful ways with art making and responding to art. So, I created a system to promote constant improvement in this area.
I introduce art vocabulary during the introduction portion of a lesson. Students typically go through a variety of learning experiences, collaborative and independent, in order to explore the content focus of the lesson, and then create an independent piece of art work at the end of the unit. In order for me to assess their learning and ability to use the vocabulary associated with their new learning I have students reflect on their experiences. Students created short films to document visual evidence of progress and process along with their narration and explanation.
For kindergarten-second grade students, the focus is mostly on just getting them to confidently talk about their artwork. I have found that video creation is a fantastic tool for getting students to share their learning. They can verbally explain their process or thinking, provide a visual for the viewer, and the video itself is another creation or work of art. I began to notice an increase in the use of visual arts academic language as students were more willing to take risks with oral language than with written language.
Clips is the perfect tool for creating videos like this with young learners! This app makes video creation accessible to even the youngest of learners. I love that I can give them a quick five-ten minute lesson on how to use the app and then they can quickly begin creating their videos. This helps us stay focused on the content I’m wanting them to learn instead of spending tons of class time on learning a new digital tool.
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