If you search the web these days, you are almost guaranteed to find an extensive library of free lesson plans and project ideas for schools, occupational therapy, and craft centers. Collections of lesson plans, Power Point presentations, and technique sheets offer a very wide range of art topics, and give art teachers and occupational therapists a terrific place to begin creating educational lessons which combine art history with hands on activities in the classroom. Here are some examples of the lesson plans you may find today.
A lesson especially designed with younger students in mind starts with commercially-made flower pots which are cleaned by firing and then given to the children to decorate as their imaginations will. This lesson familiarizes students with basic ceramic theory and terms, and gives them hands-on experience in decorating pots with underglazes and velvets. Underglaze pencils and crayons can be applied to create individualistic designs; younger children can use sponge painting with liquid underglazes before placing their work on the ware cart to be fired in the kiln.
Another lesson which can involve students of all ages is Ceramic Tile Wall Murals. This is an art history lesson which traces the development of this art form from the first millennium B.C.E. to the present. Copiously illustrated with examples from ancient Persia, Babylonia, Greece, and China, the story continues through Renaissance Majolica tile-making; up to contemporary uses of tile wall murals in modern art and architecture. This Power Point Presentation concludes with instructions on how a group tile wall mural project can be used to bring school students, their parents, and faculty members together to create a delightful all school experience.
In addition to ceramics there are also lessons devoted to the history and how-to of fused, slumped, and cast glass. Warm glass techniques date back to the second millennium B.C.E. in Mesopotamia, and were considered the equal of gold and silver in ancient Greece and Rome. The era of blown glass objects d’art eclipsed the warm glass technique, but it has been revived and become a popular medium for contemporary artists. These lessons show how to use glass stringers, frits and confetti to create fused glass plates, shaped vessels, and jewelry.
Other popular lesson plans cover such topics as sculpture in both history and how-to; lithography and other print-making techniques; paper-making and paper sculpture; working in Chinese-style bronze; making Japanese-style tea bowls and garden lanterns; and making Mexican-style skulls for the Day of the Dead. There are also special lessons on dinosaurs, insects, life in a coral reef; and prehistoric cave art.