Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or both, keeping kids busy during social distancing is a challenging task. But the BYU ARTS Partnership is here to help. As part of their initiative to increase the quality and quantity of arts education in Utah elementary schools, the partnership has created over 70 lessons that connect the arts to core standard subjects. From painting to acting to singing, here are five activities you can do from home.
Draw a Self-Portrait with “Let's Face It: Drawing the Face Is
Grades: 4, 5, 6
Tools: paper, crayons, color pencils (Optional: liquid glue, black construction paper, pastels)
Channel your inner Frida Kahlo and learn how to draw a self-portrait! Portraits are not only a great form of self-expression, but they also offer an opportunity to explore shape, proportion, and color contrast. During two activities—“Contour Line Drawings Are a Good Place to Start” and “Proportions of the Ideal Face”—students learn how to draw a self-portrait. Anyone can be a portrait artist by following the step-by-step instructions within the lesson plan.
Wouldn’t research projects be more entertaining if they were presented as a play? Through a mixture of theater, language arts, and science, students create a live-action animal report to captivate their peers. Pairing off into groups of two, students choose an animal to study and come up with a handful of questions to answer through online research. Once students have gathered their data, they transform their research into a script for a live-action report. One student pretends to be the zoologist, asking questions, while the other pretends to be the animal, answering questions.
Explore the Outdoors Through Photography with “Media and Observation”
Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6
Tools: camera, computer (Optional: oranges)
Photography is a great way to get outside, especially when you’re stuck at home. With a camera, students wander their homes and backyards, taking pictures of things they find beautiful. As they practice observing the ordinary, students learn about different types of photography, focusing on different themes like nature (clouds, trees, flowers), structures, (chairs, shoes, buildings), and abstractions (lines, shapes, micro views). Afterward, students use the photos to write a short story.
Use nursery rhymes to teach the difference between declarative and interrogative sentences. In this activity, students learn four songs—“Cuckoo,” “Hickety Tickety,” “Old Mother Witch,” and “We Are Dancing in the Forest”—then draw icons to represent each phrase in the songs. Using those same icons, students determine if each phrase is a question or answer. Using sign language, they sign a Q for questions or A for answers. Following the Q and A pattern, students then add their own lines to the song.
Being stuck inside is enough to make anyone feel stir-crazy. Luckily, theater is a great way to express emotion and to channel excess wiggles into productive learning. Through four theater exercises, students experiment with characterization and using their bodies to communicate what they’re feeling. In these exercises, students mirror each other’s movements, position one another like living statues, make a statue garden together, and move like different characters. For their last activity, each student creates a character inspired by the exercise, then presents the original character to the class.
Founded as an initiative in the BYU–Public School Partnership, the BYU ARTS Partnership works to increase the quality and quantity of arts education in Utah elementary schools. The initiative is housed in the Center for Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling (CITES) in the David O. McKay School of Education. BYU faculty, district administrators, and teachers collaborate to provide professional development programs and create materials and resources for teachers.
Writer: Emma Smith
Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-192