As you may remember from my article last week, I have moved from teaching dance last trimester to teaching visual art this trimester. With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, I wanted to do something quick and easy with some of my younger students that would connect with arts concepts we were learning. I love when I can find a way to have students excited to talk about what they are learning at school when they get home and I love when I can connect what we are learning in school with what the students are excited about in their own lives. Enter Valentine making! For this Valentine’s Day, I had some of my students take what they knew about line and cool versus warm colors and apply that to the artwork and messages on some handmade Valentines.
First the students drew color wheels and identified the cool colors (blue, green and purple) and the warm colors (red, orange and yellow). Next we explored various types of lines (straight – horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curvy, spiral, zig-zag). Then we experimented making patterns with the different types of lines inside the shape of a heart and coloring those lines in either warm or cool colors. Finally it came time to write the messages inside. We brainstormed different messages that would not only be appropriate for a Valentine but would also make a connection to what they were learning about the elements of art. Here are just a few examples of our co-creations!
Valentine, you warm my heart.
You’re on fire, Valentine!
The colors may be cool, but you warm my heart.
Valentine, I think you’re cool.
Have yourself a cool Valentine’s Day!
Valentine, you’re hypnotizing!
You make me dizzy, Valentine!
You spin me round and round!
Cross my heart, I love you.
My love for you keeps going and going.
I love you, straight up.
Valentine, you melt my heart.
Valentine, you’ve got me zigging and zagging!
Don’t break my heart – be mine!
You’re shocking, Valentine!
Parents love to receive things their child made for them and they love to hear about what their children are learning at school. Making Valentines with elements of art in mind is a great way to combine those intentions and have the students create something they will be intrinsically motivated to share and explain when they get home. Plus, the activity is basic and can be done quickly and easily in any elementary classroom. It’s a win-win!
Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Creating!
Deirdre is a teaching artist and AI coach in the San Diego public schools dedicated to helping classroom teachers make arts an integral part of their teaching. Deirdre has an MEd in Arts Integration and over twenty years of classroom and performing arts teaching experience. Email Deirdre.