Art is a concept that is difficult for kids to grasp. The subject of art covers a lot of territory, but it’s difficult to think past paintings and sculptures. I love to ask kids to brainstorm “what is art?” and see what they come up with in table-group discussions. I often don’t give a lot of guidance at first because I like it when different groups take the idea in a lot of different directions, but sometimes I will put a few ideas on the board to get them started. Usually, kids will have some pretty lively conversations about what is (and isn’t) art without very much intervention from me. I then walk around and listen, and occasionally participate in their table-group discussions, putting their thoughts on the board from time to time.
Then I bring the conversation back to the whole room to finish our idea map on the board, and we spend the rest of the class decorating our own “art is” mosaic pieces to be hung in the hallway. This creates a meaningful reminder of the value of art in our lives each time we come to the art room.