Posted on 05. Nov, 2010 by Hillary Andrlik + Theresa McGee in All Posts, Art Games, Books, Clean-up and Transition, Clssrm Mgmt, Cool+Creative, Music+Art, Neat Video, Off-task Behavior, Organization and Preparation, Reviews, Tech Stuff, Techniques, Tools and Miscellaneous
It’s those 5, 10, or 15 minutes when students finish assigned work early that can send a teacher into an internal panic. Instead of panic, be prepared. We have pulled some of our ready-to-use ideas together to help you fill those last few minutes with meaningful content.
Independent Activities for Early Finishers:
- Zentangles: In a sketchbook or on a piece of paper use pencils and pens to create continuous interlocking patterns. Here’s how others have used it: Woody’s Kaleidocycle NAEA 2008, Squido.com, Flicker Zentangles Group
- Odd art jobs
- Create a bulletin board to display ideas for early finishers.
- Draw a still-life: Pick an art tool from around the room and sketch it! You can also have a box or shelf of still-life objects for students to pick from (i.e., blocks, fake plants, toys, fake fruit, containers).
- Create an imaginary, symmetrical bug
- Color Sudoku
- Doodle Loop: Draw a line that loops over itself in several places. Now fill each new shape with a different pattern. See examples of this along with other ideas in the Doodle Lab
- Value Scale: Draw a long rectangle in your sketchbook and then divide it into 5 equal sections. Mark one end white and the opposite end black. Now try to color each space in from lightest to darkest. Challenge: Create another value scale, but use a colored pencil to fill it in such as red or blue.
- Art poster puzzle
- Utilize a Friendly Loom
- Create reading corner / area where individual students can pick a book to read on a variety of art topics.
- Create a free draw area with How To Draw books, paper and a variety of media for independent exploration.
- Check out laptops for a digital area (if you can anticipate early finishers)
- Fill out a paper or electronic assessment form
- Work in Sketchbooks:
- Sketchbooks in Schools: Using sketchbooks to inspire, motivate and engage (Amazing resource for using sketchbooks. Topics covered include, but are not limited to constructing sketchbooks.
- 149 Sketchbook Ideas
- Sketchbook Ideas
- Incredible Art Department: Sketchbook Ideas Elementary or Middle/High School or High School/Advanced Placement
- ArtTeacher’s Resource Sketchbook Assignments for High School
- Sketchbook Ideas compiled from The Getty
Large Group Activities:
- Online quiz games in MyStudiyo and PhotoPeach
- Start a book. Check out these read-aloud recommendations for elementary and for older students.
- Explore art in Google Maps. Find some ideas in this SchoolArts article.
- Play Art Toss Ball, Art Memo, Flexible Hexabits, Pictionary on the whitboard, Sculptorades, Zolotopia, or Teledraw.
- Art Vocab quiz. Give a choice is it 1, 2, or 3 (list possible answers on board with corresponding #). All hold up number of their answer (all participate)
- Music & art integration ready-to-use resources.
- Show a short video from our YouTube and Vimeo favorites
- Free Online Games by Artsology or explore these other online art games
- Magic Pocket Name
- Show Slideshare “Brilliant Examples of Photo Manipulation Art“
- Put up an art print and have students describe what they see in writing. Another option for younger students is to work in groups and generate a list of words they think describes the picture.
- Hold up artwork for a show and tell
- Critique artwork
- Quiz about art concepts to get to line up.
- Sculpture Freeze: Have your students use their body to create a human sculpture. Get specific by asking for a particular type of pose (symmetrical/asymmetrical, precarious/stable, seated/standing)
- Play Simon Says for line vocabulary. Students use their bodies to create a line (vertical, horizontal, spiral, diagonal, etc).
- Eye Spy. Ask students to find examples of art throughout the room or create your own Eye Spy.
- Swat Game. Write art terms on the board. Group the students in teams. Read a definition for an art term that is listed on the board. Armed with fly swatters, the first student to “swat” the correct word wins the round. Fly swatters are then handed to next student on team to continue play.
- Sing some art songs (Red, Yellow, Blues You Tube Video)
- Show an art teacher-created video from Art Class with Ms S or Fugleflicks
After watching enough people work on sudoku number puzzles, it occurred to me that this logic game can be easily adapted to art by substituting the numbers for colors or symbols.
Color sudoku follows three basic rules:
1. Use all the color options in each box without repeating
2 Use all the color options in each row without repeating
3. Use all the color options in each column without repeating
Since I love sharing – feel free to download the low-tech color version of sudoku that I created as an extension activity. I printed mine on tag board and laminated to keep clean. I also wanted to keep the colors consistent between the game boards and the pieces so I printed out color sheets and cut them down into pieces that fit each puzzle. Since the 4 color sudoku need larger pieces than the 6 color and 9 color, I keep those pieces separate in a zip lock bag. Reuse a shallow class-pack type box to store the entire kit together.
Use the 4-color sudoku for younger students or to introduce the concept for the first time. Let the kids differentiate their own learning by choosing their own difficulty level. I don’t use answer keys (if you follow the rules, you know when you have found the solution) - although you could easily create your own by writing in the color names on an extra printout by solving yourself (or have a student do it for you).
4 Color Sudoku: (Beginner)
4-Color Sudoku #1
4-Color Sudoku #2
4-Color Sudoku #3
4-Color Sudoku #4
6 Color Sudoku: (Beginner/Intermediate)
6- Color Sudoku #1
6- Color Sudoku #2
6- Color Sudoku #3
9 Color Sudoku: (Intermediate)
9 Color Sudoku #1
9 Color Sudoku #2
9 Color Sudoku #3
9 Color Sudoku #4
9 Color Sudoku #5
9 Color Sudoku #6
9 Color Sudoku: (Advanced)
9 Color Sudoku #7 (advanced)
9 Color Sudoku #8 (advanced)
9 Color Sudoku #9 (advanced)
Color-Sheets to print: (Cut down to fit sudoku puzzles)
Idea update 3/18/10: Print out duplicate sudoku game cards so students can challenge each other to see who can finish card first.
Reader suggested update 8/24/13: Blank Sudoku Cards for the students to create themselves. Great idea Amy!
I’m fortunate to have some duplicate copies of fine art prints — most were freebies from conferences and workshops. Originally, I divided a few prints into rectangular sections for grid drawings but after inheriting a felt board I started using them as a puzzle (click image at left to enlarge). When students had free time they loved working on these giant puzzles. And I loved finding a new purpose for existing materials that can do double duty and extend learning. Below is how to create each activity.
Group Grid Drawing Pieces
- Select a duplicate print to cut up into pieces. Remember you can use posters from inserts in publications like School Arts, your state art education publications, National Art Education Association publications or vendor freebies.
- Use a paper cutter to divide the art print into even sized pieces. Each art print will measure slightly differently due to its size. Cut up a large supply of blank paper the same size as the art print pieces for students to do their grid drawings on.
- Glue directions on the back of each art print piece and number them (see example). Having the directions on the back of each piece allows students to work independently when they finish regular assignments. Click here to print Art Puzzle Directions for students.
- Laminate all the art print pieces and cut them out. Remember cutting out laminate is a great job for student helpers in the art room (see odd art jobs).
- Store the art print and blank paper pieces in a gallon sized zip-lock plastic bag. On your storage bag record the artist, name of the artwork and the number of art print pieces. (Knowing the number of pieces makes clean-up and sorting easier.) Zip-lock bags are on the student supply lists at my school. I asked a home room teacher for an extra box to use in the art room. Check with the teachers in your building.
- Introduce the group grid drawing activity to your classes and store the pieces in a box, basket or container that they can easily access when they complete their regular work. Make sure to create a place to turn in completed grid drawings as well as store drawings still in progress.
Art Puzzle Pieces
- Take the newly created art print pieces for grid drawing and add Velcro or magnets to the back of each one. This is another great job for students (see odd art jobs). What you use depends on your preferences and what you have on hand.
- Velcro is great on felt boards and carpets. Kids can easily work on a puzzle in groups in a carpeted area. If you don’t have a carpet area you can take a piece of the Velcro’s hook side to a discount store and find an inexpensive throw rug. Local flooring companies might be willing to donate carpet samples or remnant pieces. There are also lots of inexpensive ways to construct a felt board. Here is a link to one creative solution I found. How to Make a Felt Board. Find the “U Loop” fabric for velcro board online here.
- Magnets are a perfect option for any classroom because almost everyone has a magnetic chalkboard or whiteboard surface that can be immediately utilized. If you have art on a cart or travel to another building you’re almost always guaranteed to have a magnetic surface at your disposal. Other options to consider are magnetic dry erase easels, magnetic paint or even cookie sheets depending on the art puzzle size.
- Store art puzzle pieces in a labeled zip-lock bag along with the blank paper for the group grid drawings and place in an area easily accessible to students.
Below is a short video of kindergartners using an art puzzle.
Can’t view this video? Try this link.