Art Password

I have been using an “art password” to teach students art vocabulary since my student teaching days.  It’s one of those little fun things we do in class yet makes a huge positive impact on our classroom discussions and literacy.

Here’s how it works:  During my art class in 1st-5th grades, I introduce an art vocabulary term related to a concept we are discussing in class.  Since I already have many of my vocabulary words on my magnetic word wall, I just pull the word off to the side and indicate it is the password of the day.
Then at the end of class I use repetition and whole brain teaching to help my students remember this word.  See how I do this in the video below.

The following week the students are allowed entry into my classroom if they can tell me the password.  While this password isn’t exactly a secret, I do have the students whisper it as they enter my room to make it authentic.  If a student doesn’t remember the password, I just send them into class to “go find out” from another student and then come back and tell the word to me.

Art Password Log

Keeping track of the passwords from class to class is difficult so I use a log sheet to record the password given in the prior class.

Theresa McGee

Hello! My name is Theresa McGee and I am a National Board Certified Art Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator teaching in Hinsdale, Illinois. My curriculum is structured around creative thinking and technology integration into the learning process. I have authored eighteen articles for the Tech4ArtEd Column in SchoolArts Magazine and several iTunes U courses for professional development. I've presented at the state and national levels including several online webinars for art educators. In 2010, I was awarded Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year and in 2011 I was awarded the national PBS Teacher Innovator award. I love to share ideas that contribute to the art education profession!


  • October 31, 2012

    Deaf Art Teacher

    I’ve been adding art terms throughout the room.. but an art word wall seems like a good idea.

  • October 31, 2012


    Sucha great idea I tried this today with my kiddos worked really well thanks for sharing!!!

  • August 21, 2013


    Theresa, you are a genius!! I am borrowing your vocab words & adding some of my own for my word wall this year. And I am officially addicted to magnet paper now, so thanks! :) You are such an awesome Art Ed resource, keep up the great work!!

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